In John 11:18-46, the overarching theme is that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Imagine how Mary, Martha, and their friends felt – they asked Jesus to come when Lazarus was sick, knowing Jesus could heal him. But, as we read yesterday, Jesus delayed his trip.
In verse 21 Martha is honest with Jesus about her disappointment that He could have saved Lazarus but didn’t. Earlier, Jesus said this sickness would not end in death and yet they were mourning the Lazarus’s death. Martha didn’t know the end of the story like we do. But even in her sorrow and sadness, she trusted Jesus. It is not clear if she believed Jesus would bring Lazarus back to life, but her faith was still solid that Jesus is still who he said He is. He did not answer her prayer like she hoped, but this did not destroy her trust in Him.
When Jesus meets Mary, she has similar emotions: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus did not reprimand her for being hurt and upset, but he wept with her. He met her in her grief. Even though He knew the end of the story, he could still relate to Mary’s sorrow.
Jesus moved in His timing, not theirs. I can imagine Mary and Martha questioning why He would wait to heal Lazarus. Because of the Jewish superstition at the time, many believed that there was no hope for someone to come back to life after the third day. Jesus waits until the fourth day, knowing that this would bring God more glory. All that He was doing was to bring glory to the Father and His timing is always better than ours.