Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 11:27 AYes, Lord,@ she told Him, AI believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.@
This was Martha=s creed. She believed all of Jesus= words about His being the Resurrection and the Life. She believed as far as she could, but verse 39 reveals she didn=t believe enough. Martha reached as far as she was able, but afterwards learned God=s promises contained more than she ever dreamed.
Faith is an echo to divine words. It returns the same words, and resolves to abide by them. Martha could not accept all the implications of what Jesus was saying, but she accepted what she could.
Martha believed what Jesus said because she believed what He was. The ground of her faith was in Jesus= favored position. AChrist@ referred to His office, ASon@ to His nature. She accepted the superstructure because she trusted the foundation.
John 11:28 Having said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, saying in private, AThe Teacher is here and is calling for you.@
Blurting out her confession seemed to calm Martha. She evidently felt there was nothing more to say.
Martha told Mary Jesus had come. She did it in private probably so Mary could have time alone with Jesus before crowds made privacy impossible.
Only Jesus is AThe@ Teacher. We learn of Him, from Him, in Him, and for Him. We follow His teachings with absolute allegiance.
We honor Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley, and others, but their writings are not Holy Writ to us. My temptation is to unduly elevate the teachings of Spurgeon. We reverence these men and honor what they said, but unashamedly declare we have only one Teacher. Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and Spurgeon would hastily and heartily AAmen@ this sentiment.
John 11:29-31 As soon as she heard this, she got up quickly and went to Him. Jesus had not yet come into the village but was still in the place where Martha had met Him. The Jews who were with her in the house consoling her saw that Mary got up quickly and went out. So they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to cry there.
The mourners, thinking Mary was headed to the tomb, went with her to comfort her there. This procession assured the events which soon followed would have many witnesses and receive wide publicity.
John 11:32 When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and told Him, ALord if You had been here, my brother would not have died!@
This was Mary=s creed. Martha stated her creed in words (vv. 22, 24, 27). Mary=s was stated in utter self-surrender. Mary was totally humble and submissive.
She collapsed at Jesus= feet. Her words were swallowed by grief. Mary could say no more. Her tears became her voice. She had no better rhetoric than this, for it reached the heart of Jesus. With Martha, Jesus reasoned. With Mary Jesus wept. The two needed different treatment.
It is noteworthy that the sisters show here the same personality differences that they showed in Luke 10:38ff. Martha, eager and impetuous, loved being busy. Mary, more devoted and intense, was the contemplative one who stayed near Jesus. She had sat at Jesus= feet, and Achosen the better part.@
Mary had learned and loved at Jesus= feet. Now she needed help at them, and she found it. Those who place themselves at Jesus= feet in a day of peace will receive comfort and confidence there in a day of trouble.