As the story in John 11 continues, Martha goes to tell Mary Jesus has come. He is asking for her. Mary doesn’t wait around, nor do her comforters. When she sees Him, she falls at His feet and echoing the words of Martha says, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” This time Jesus responds differently. There are no words. In this life and death situation, Jesus moves into Mary’s grieving, struggles with emotional pain, and then takes action.
Each individual encounter with Jesus is personal. This was Mary, the one who sat at His feet to listen to His teaching, rather than fuss about with her sister in serving Him. Though she voiced the same words as Martha, Jesus responded differently. Was the position she took of falling at His feet; the utter abandonment of all she was in that moment, to Him, the reason for the difference?
Jesus weeps. When he saw not only the tears of Mary, but those of her comforters, it moved Him. John writes, “He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” And I wonder. He knew his own death was imminent. He knew He would be calling Lazarus out of the grave. He had just declared to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.”
Did the God part of Him overwhelm His human heart? He had breathed life into Adam and Eve, making them living beings. Death and grieving were not in this plan. Still, Satan, the great destroyer, because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, broke through. Centuries of dying and death followed. Here it was, this deep darkness wreaking havoc on those He loved. He felt deep compassion.
However, Jesus does not stop here, and become just another comforter. Nor does He become stuck in the pain of grief. “Where have you laid him?” He asks. He is the Master of Life. “Come and see,” is the response. Still the argument of who He is continues. Some see His compassion, while others, observe what they think He should have done. Jesus knew who He was and what He was about. He was about His Father’s business. In this life and death situation, Jesus moved into Mary’s grieving, struggled with emotional pain, and then takes the first steps.