The personal touch

Martha calmly conversed. Mary dissolved in tears.

Two sisters, same dead brother. They both talked with Jesus, each with different experiences.

After Lazarus died and Martha heard that Jesus was in town, she went and talked with him.

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

They had a conversation, Jesus and Martha taking turns. There is challenge and explanation. It is logical, as much as talking about resurrection is logical. Martha asserts what she believes, that she believes.

It is, in short, a very Martha conversation.

Martha heads back home and tells Mary that Jesus wants to talk with her. Mary goes to him, leading a crowd of friends and mourners.

“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Mary starts exactly the same way, and then dissolves into a weeping bundle at Jesus’ feet. Jesus, the text says, John the observer notes, “was deeply moved and troubled in spirit.” Jesus and Mary go to the grave. “Jesus wept.”

We could, of course, suggest that Jesus was weeping the loss of Lazarus, that he was grieving his own death days away. But I wonder.

These two interactions with these two women are perfectly suited to what we know of the women. The sense of perfectly appropriate response is genius, pure emotional intelligence genius.

What if Jesus had switched his response, weeping with Martha, teaching Mary. It would feel wrong, rude somehow. It would lack any sense that he really knew these women, knew their hearts,  their personalities. Instead, he interacts with Martha and weeps with Mary and each has a sense that Jesus really knows them.

I wonder how often we miss the conversation and comfort Jesus offers. We look for some formal religiousity. Meanwhile, he’s waiting to converse. Or cry.

3 thoughts on “The personal touch

  1. Cheryl Smith

    Wow, you’re right Jon. Great observation. After all, God gave us our personalities. It makes sense that He responds to us based on our own intricate designs.


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