Imagine Martha & Mary, two sisters who were friends of Jesus, devastated. Surrounded by a community wailing and beating their chests as they mourn, while the sisters mourn as well. Days went by and Jesus didn’t come but what SO CLOSE to what they thought could save their brother Lazarus. (They had even sent word to him, Jesus please come now. He did not. In fact, the book of John says “he stayed” where he was a couple of days.)
And Martha believes in Jesus, yes. She talks with him and she believes yes, you never die as his follower, that Jesus IS life.
Mary comes and repeats in MOURNING, wrapped in grief (and probably not even acknowledging Jesus for who he is or “Hey, thanks for stopping by in an area where people wanted to stone you last week, risking your life here”) and she just repeats in typical human fashion, “Lord, you COULD HAVE….” “If you had just been here” “If you did things differently”….
[This. Is. Us.]
Note how this makes him angry inside.
Troubles his spirit.
I do not believe that this was anger in grief, but more from the reaction of the sisters – women who believed in Jesus!
(You see, this passage screams of a community mourning and two sisters wrapped in the emotions of grief, two sisters questioning why Jesus did not listen to THEIR message to him and now they are drowning in sorrow. I believe that Jesus’ soul is passionately burning as he sees so much focus and emotion without a grasp or idea of the full perspective, the plan, and the light right in front of them)
In this emotion, Jesus wants to open the tomb.
And while Martha questions him… “Jesus, don’t you know that dead people smell?”
Yes, Martha. I think Jesus knows that dead people smell.
…Jesus STILL kept going. (STILL because of her reaction, not the smell. He doesn’t give up on our small perspectives, our minds wrapped up in the emotion of our lives and the moment, where we even question him.)
And here’s the kicker. John 11:40. Jesus responded,
“Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?”
& she did! Now she was the one hearing obvious questions. Um, yes Lord. I’m pretty sure we had that conversation today, so yeah you told me that. He had said this and she had agreed, even spiritually answering of resurrecting one day!
She had said yes but like all believers, she had NO IDEA what Jesus had in store for her. For her family. For her entire community, now surrounding her in mourning and following Jesus to the burial site.
Yes, Jesus could have showed up four days earlier. Lazarus wouldn’t be sick.
Instead, Jesus came in his time & Lazarus was no longer DEAD.