John 11:19, “And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.”
In John chapter 11, we find the Lord coming to the grave site of His friend Lazarus (John 11:5; John 11:17). When the Lord arrived at the place, many Jews were there to comfort Mary and Martha concerning the death of their brother. I’m sure the two sisters were very appreciative of the efforts and care of their friends, but there seems to be a certain excitement amongst them when the Lord arrives. They both knew that He was able to do what no other could. In 2 Corinthians 1:3 the Apostle Paul writes, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;…” In this verse of scripture, we learn that the Lord is the “God of all comfort” and we begin to understand the peace which is found in Him (Phil 4:7). In John chapter 11 we see at least five ways the Lord comforted and provided peace for these two precious sisters, which are:
- By His presence! When Jesus arrived, Martha was very quick to go and meet Him (John 11:20). Later, Mary would go to Jesus and fall at His feet (John 11:31-32). Can we, for a moment, think about the two sister’s hearts that were touched by Jesus’ presence that day? And He is able to do the same for all His children throughout the generations. According to Psalms 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very PRESENT help in trouble” (emphasis mine).
- By His care! Often in this world, that is becoming darker and more sinful with every second, the troubled child of grace can struggle to find someone who cares. The Lord continually, and without fail, cares for His precious little sheep. In John 10:11, He declares that He is “the good shepherd.”
- By His words and teachings! The Lord, when speaking to Martha, reminded her of the resurrection (John 11:25-26). These same words comfort us today. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the Apostle Paul comforts the brothers and sisters of Thessalonica by reminding them of the great and glorious day when the Lord will return to raise the dead bodies and change those which are alive and remain and take us all home to heaven where we will suffer no more. Paul would say in Romans 8:17, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
- With the manifestation of His power! When the Lord raised Lazarus from the dead, it showed forth His power. This event was only a foretaste of His power that the elect family of God will see one great and glorious day. This manifestation of His power, which was written by inspiration of the Spirit and preserved by God (2 Timothy 3:16, Psalms 12:6), also helps us by way of reminding that there is nothing too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17,27).
- By His strengthening of their faith and hope! When the Lord raised Lazarus from the dead, it strengthened the believers who were there. I’m sure as each one of them approached death they recalled witnessing this marvelous event. By meditating upon this miracle, surely it made death easier to face.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the miracle of John chapter 11 is one that has comforted me many times in my life. My mind often goes to this chapter to remind me that if Jesus can do that, He can handle any problem of mine. Another thing I learn is that if Jesus is able to provide this comfort to Mary and Martha then I should use every effort to direct my friends and loved ones to Him during times of trouble. Paul exhorted us to do this very thing when he said in 1 Corinthians 1:4, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” Amen!