So Mary immediately went to him. (verse 29) When Jesus asked to see Mary she didn’t hesitate to leave. She didn’t excuse herself from the people. She got up and ran to see Jesus. He was here and she couldn’t wait to see him. She knew he would understand her pain. She ran straight to him with a crowd of people following behind her.
It’s interesting how when Martha left no one moved. They were not there for Martha. You see Martha had it going on. She was strong. She lived in reality. In reality stuff happens. That’s just life.
Heartbrokenness Draws God Close
Mary on the other hand was heartbroken. Her emotions showed. Everyone saw it. Verse 31 says the people were trying to consol Mary so when Mary ran out they followed her. They wanted to make sure she was all right. They just knew she was going to Lazarus’ grave to pour out her heart. What they didn’t understand was that Mary was inconsolable. Only God himself could comfort her. And that’s where she was going – to God himself.
The Word of God says in Psalm 34:18 that “the Lord is near to them that are of a broken heart, and saves such as be of a contrite spirit.”
When Mary reached Jesus she had reached the end of her rope. She was emotionally spent. She collapsed at his feet. Gathering all the strength she could find she said the exact same thing to Jesus that her sister Martha said earlier, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (verse 32) Then she went back to crying.
Different Approaches Different Responses
What was the difference between the sisters? Each sister made the same statement, but each sister approached Jesus differently, resulting in a different response for both sisters. Only Mary touched his heart. The heartache over the death of her brother, the knowledge of knowing Jesus could have cured him, the belief that he could wake Lazarus up even now, the love she had for him as her master, the trust she felt towards him all ran together until she couldn’t speak anymore.
Even though Mary could no longer speak out loud, her heart was talking for her. I believe her heart cried out, “My Lord, my Master. I’m so glad you’re here. I know everything is going to be all right now. It’s so good to see you. Please forgive me, but right now my heart is broken. I know you can raise Lazarus from the dead. I know you can do it now too. I don’t doubt who you are or what you can do. But the last few days have been hard. Just allow me this time to hurt. Allow these emotions to run their course. I’ll be okay now that you’re here. I love you. I trust you. Thank you for coming. Thank you for showing up because everyone else thought you wouldn’t. I knew you would come because you love us. You have never let us down. You are awesome. Thank you.”
When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, he was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them.
They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept.
The people who were standing nearby thought he was weeping because he saw Lazarus. They said, “See how much he loved him.” (verses 33-36)
Jesus wept because Mary touched His heart. She moved him. Then He looked around and saw all the people crying with her. He saw how they cared for Mary, how they were suffering with her. This moved him. He wanted to know where they had laid Lazarus so He could make things better for all those suffering. Compassion overflowed from Jesus. He couldn’t help himself. He had to cry. He cried for the pain they felt. He cried because He had to let Lazarus die. He cried because it was the only way to prove once again who He was. In the process those He loved had to suffer until the timing was right.
But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Why couldn’t he keep Lazarus from dying?”
And again Jesus was deeply troubled. Then they came to the grave. It was a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.
Dead Man’s Belief
But Martha, the dead man’s sister, said, “Lord, by now the smell will be terrible because he has been dead for four days.” Martha still showed signs of disbelief by the words she spoke. If you notice, this time when Martha speaks she is described as “the dead man’s sister” because of her continuous unbelief. Martha represented a dead faith with no hope, no joy and no life.
He was already surrounded by people who doubted him. Mary was the one who’s suppose to know Jesus just a little better than everyone else. After all, he did visit them, eat with them, and stay at their home. They were his friends. Now he stood with only one woman trusting him.
Once again, he had to set her straight. Where was the love and trust that comes with friendship? After being around Jesus, the resurrection and the life, and seeing all he had done, she continues to be religious and give lip service to Him.
Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you will see God’s glory if you believe?” (verses 37-41)
Jesus is Life
The time had come for Jesus to set things straight. So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so they will believe you sent me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And Lazarus came out, bound in grave clothes; his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”
When it was all said and done Lazarus lived again. Many doubters became believers. Mary’s heart rejoiced. God the Father got glory. And Jesus proved once again that the Father sent him with great authority.