Mary & Martha — John 11:21-23, 29-35

09 Apr

John 11:21-23,29-35 [NLT]
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” So Mary immediately went to him. Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept.

Dear God, it is interesting that John records both Martha and Mary as having said the same thing to Jesus when they first saw him: “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” I would imagine they had been saying that to each other for the last four days. Were they angry with Jesus? Were they disappointed?

Martha adds something to hers. She adds a little expectation: “But even now I know God will give you whatever you ask.” (Hint, hint) And Jesus seems to take the bait and tells her that her brother will rise again.

But his response to Mary is different. Martha was seemingly a little bit more reserved emotionally than Mary. The way this story is told, her words to Jesus were from a place of sorrow, but she was also likely a little more stoic. Mary, on the other hand, was weeping. I imagine her sentence being said to Jesus between sobs. In fact, these are the only words Mary speaks in the whole story. And the people seem to be with Mary, comforting her, instead of with Martha. John’s telling doesn’t really mention anyone following Martha around, but Mary probably came across as being more in need. Certainly, watching Mary’s response evoked a surprising response in Jesus—weeping and anger.

Father, I’m not sure if there are too many applications in this story in my life except to appreciate how different we all are. Martha and Mary were very different people and had different needs. They also evoked different responses out of the people around them. And you loved them both. Thank you for loving me as well, even though I am sometimes a terrible mess. Your patience with me is extraordinary, and I am grateful for all that you do for me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,


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Posted by on April 9, 2019 in John, Mary & Martha


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