Posted by: Postordinandy | February 17, 2014

John 11 (pt 2)

If you had been here, my brother would not have died“:

A statement, the emotion disguised by the frailty of written text,

Intent hidden in fact, a wealth of meaning in 11 brief words.


Martha – faithful, hard-working, Martha,

Duty-bound to meet the coming Lord,

Her embrace wrapped in distant acceptance of tragedy.

Pleased to see him, but the edge of accusation in her tone:

If you had been here, my brother would not have died“.

A hollow echo of dispersed hope in her repetition of forming theology,

Looking to meet her brother in the next life, fragile compensation.


Mary, emotions bursting the banks of her heart,

Holds herself at home, surely not distracted by housework?

Perhaps while she wrestles with conflicting responses to the timing of the coming Christ,

No longer able to contain herself, flows to her Lord:

If you had been here, my brother would not have died“.

Tears that washed feet, flooding freely in grief and confusion,

Looking to her Master for something beyond hope.


Those mourning with the family, moved now,

By the undignified emotions of the travelling preacher.

While a scattering of professional weepers and wailers,

Utter in conspiratorial whispers to each other:

If he had been here, their brother would not have died“.

Hands that restore sight can surely caress life dying man?

…are they in for a shock.


“On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” ” [John 11:17-37]


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