Friday, December 1, 2023

 John 11:32

Debra Isenbletter, Pastor
Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri

“Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” – John 11:32.

Her DESTINATION: Mary came in obedience to Jesus word. She came without question, without hesitation. She came knowing where to come. She came publicly, though she had been told privately. She came with liberty, with boldness. She came with her sorrow, with her need. She came with her faith. Jesus waited for her to come. He did not go on until she has this personal time with Him. I believe He was watching and waiting until she came. Mary carried a burden of sorrow,  weighted down with the loss of her brother. She knew the relief she would find when she came to Jesus.

This is a wonderful picture of how we come to the Lord. We come because He has invited us, our hearts have heard His call. His love and compassion draws us. We come personally and privately but when we do, we do not care if others know about it. This is our privilege, and it is a precious one. We come to Him knowing where He is, He is not hard to find, He is waiting for us. All we need to do is lift up our hearts and eyes and come to Him by faith. We come to the throne of grace, with all our needs, all our burdens, all our fears, all our sorrows. We come to Him and lay everything at His feet. Jesus is watching and waiting for us to come. The fact that we are willing to come is a testimony of faith.

Jesus issued this invitation to “come” to Him, and Mary heard it and fully embraced it. He still offers this invitation today. It has not changed because he has not changed. The offer is made to those who feel their need and see that only He can meet their need. Jesus is waiting for those to do as Mary. It is seen in the invitation to discipleship: “come and follow me.” (Mat.19:21) It is an invitation to lay down our burdens and rest in Him: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mat.11:28). It waits upon the Lord’s leading and enabling. For Peter when seeing Jesus walking on the water, said: “Lord, if thou wilt, bid me to come unto thee.” (Mat.14:28). It is an invitation for the smallest, age does not matter: “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me” (Mat.19:24).

Her COMPREHENSION: John says Mary “saw him.” The word “saw” means she “knew” Him and recognized Him. This means that she “beheld” Him. I believe that means that Jesus filled her vision, she could see no one else. She saw Him with her eyes, but she also saw Him with her heart. She saw Him through the eyes of faith. She saw Him through her tears. Is this not wonderful! There is a progression in her journey from her house to His feet. First Mary came and then she saw. First, we must be willing to come, then we will truly see Him. We see Him in a greater way because we have come closer to Him. Mary, saw only Him. I do not think she saw the disciples or the people that followed her. Her eyes were fixed upon Him. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full, in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of his glory and grace.” Mary was about to see His glory and His grace revealed! This is what we do by faith with our needs. When we come by faith, we will see Him. He will fill our vision and I believe nothing else will matter but being in His Presence.

Her SUBMISSION: The words “fell down” means to “prostrate oneself” and is used of those “making supplication.” It is also used to show “worship.” Mary is not ashamed to do this. The one she has taken in her home as she sat at His feet as a disciple. Mary did this privately, now she will do this publicly. Mary is overcome and overwhelmed by both sorrow and joy. There is sorrow that her brother has died and joy that her Master has arrived. She fell at His feet physically, lay prostrate before Him and in so doing showed an absolute surrender and acceptance to His will. This is the position of an overcomer, of one who not knowing why things happen, rather than rebel, come and not only kneel but fall on their faces before the Lord. Jesus did this when prayed to His Father in the Garden. “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mat.26:39). Jesus gave us a visible example of self-surrender when He accepted that cup of suffering. He would drink every drop because it was the Will of God. That surrender of His will is the foundation for His victory. He was not the Victim at the Cross; He was the Victor. 

“At his feet” is the place and position seen in the testimony of overcomers. It is a place of submission, also a place of victory. The 24 elders and 4 living ones, who had been standing around the throne, in a place of authority later “fall down before him that sat on the throne” (Rev.4:10). They have overcome, and are overcoming as they stand in His presence and are overcome with joy. This is absolute adoration and  submission. They are in closer proximity to Jesus and have a deeper revelation of Him. The great multitude, who stand before the throne, give a testimony of faith, but I noticed their testimony is given standing. There is a reaction from all who hear their testimony. When it is heard, those who are standing closer to the throne, fall down before the throne on their faces and worship God (Rev.7:9-12). Both these groups have a testimony of faith, but one does so standing, and the other does so kneeling. What Mary does is a picture of those who have made it a habit and are comfortable at the feet of Jesus. This submission is a place of victory and overcoming.

Her DECLARATION: The words of Mary sound the same as the words of Martha. But she says them from a place of submission. She is at His feet, bowing down,  submitting to His Will. They are words that come from her deep faith. Martha had a measure of faith when she said these words, but it was not the same as Mary’s. What she says is not an accusation, but a declaration and confession of faith. She knew if Jesus had come her brother would not have died, just as Martha did. She declared this. She calls Him, “Lord,” just as Martha did but unlike Martha, she does not say anything more. Martha had told Jesus she knew He could “ask” God, and God would hear Him. But Mary does not ask Him to ask God for anything. She sees His power and authority and simply submits to Him. She did not say, ‘Why did you not come sooner? Why did my brother have to suffer and die?’ She did not blame Jesus. Her words combined with her sorrow and submission, will move Jesus in a way that Martha’s words did not. Martha had a little faith, but Mary had greater faith. Each of us have different degrees of faith and we all grow in our faith.