Context: Jesus completes his initial conversation with Martha who then goes into the village and lets Mary know ‘The Teacher’ has arrived. As she is going to meet him, a number of the Jewish mourners assume she is going to the tomb (which typically would have been a hewn-out cave in a garden outside the village) and follow along. As soon as Mary sees Jesus, she falls at his feet and says the same thing Martha said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ Jesus is deeply troubled (agitated) in spirit. He weeps, but not the expressing wailing and grieving that the crowd and Mary were doing. Theirs is ‘klaio’, which can also be translated ‘lament.’ His is ‘dakryo’ and implies ‘shedding of tears’ with lesser outward expression but a deeply passionate and more internal grief.
Observations: The passage says Mary ‘rose quickly’ to meet Jesus outside the village. What does that indicate about her and about their friendship? Mary repeats the same statement to Jesus as Martha … what do you think is her motivation and disposition in saying so? Why was Jesus so ‘deeply troubled’ in His spirit? Why did he weep (shed tears) in a different way (loud, expressive lamenting) than the others? In the last verse of this section, the crowd expresses the ‘white elephant’ in the room, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?’
Application: Do you ‘rise quickly’ to meet Jesus? Do you feel the freedom to express your feelings to the Lord? Doing those two things on a regular basis will help a LOT toward a healthy, consistent encounter with Jesus. There’s a third, and absolutely essential, element: listening to Jesus’ response and then acting on it. Notice how Mary did all three and put those into practice today!!
Prayer: Lord, help us to ‘go quickly’ to you. Help us to make you the ‘first choice’ when we face circumstances outside our control (physical, health, societal, economic, etc.), then put wise, sound and pragmatic things into play to be part of the solution. Help us to make those latter things supplements, not substitutes, for you. Help us WORSHIP you, and use those other things as tools. Amen.