Summary: This three sermon series focuses on Mary at the feet of Jesus. In John 11, Mary is at His feet sharing her woes. Expository and alliterated, custom PowerPoint is available if you e-mail me.
AT HIS FEET (Sharing Her Woes)
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 3/25/2012
Ladies, when was the last time your husband gave you a really good foot massage? If it’s been a while, I’m going to help you a little, okay. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned more about feet than I ever wanted to know. For instance, did you know that women are 4 times more likely to have problems with their feet than men are? That could be related to the fact that 9 out of 10 women wear shoes that are too small for them. If you’re one of those women, then you might be shopping at the wrong time of the day. Apparently the best time to by shoes is in the afternoon, because that’s when your feet are the most swollen from walking around all day. But even if you do wear the right size shoes, your feet are still likely to be sore by the end of the day because women are typically on the go more than men. The average woman will walk three miles more per day than the average man. So there you go. You just remind your husband of those little facts tonight and I practically handed you a foot massage!
If any woman in the New Testament knew about sore feet, it had to be Martha. Martha was always on the go. Last week we met Mary and Martha who had opened their home to Jesus and his twelve traveling companions. While Martha had been on her feet all day, worried and upset over all the preparations that had to be made, Mary found herself kneeling at the feet of Jesus, savoring His Word. At His feet, Mary had discovered the one thing that mattered most in life—knowing and fostering intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ.
This morning we’re going to follow Mary to the feet of Jesus once again. Only this time she isn’t there savoring His Word; rather, she’s at His feet sharing her woes.
Jesus was across the Jordan River where John had been baptizing in the early days, when he receives word that his friend Lazarus, Mary and Martha’s brother, was very ill. The Bible says, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. Then he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea’” (John 11:6-7 NIV).
So after two days and twenty miles up-hill, on foot, over rocky terrain in sweltering heat, Jesus and his followers arrive outside of Bethany. Before they even reach the city, they can hear flutes and the sounds of psalms pouring out from the broken-hearts of the grieving. Jesus was too late. Lazarus was already dead. The mourners wail with strained voices and tear-stained faces, everyone dotted with ash and dust from head to toe. It’s sobering to say the least. Bereaved and ash covered, beating their chests, ripping their clothes, wailing in gut-wrenching sorrow, broken in grief.
Martha was the first one to greet Jesus. She heard that he was coming and went out to meet him—ever the hostesses. Martha’s the strong one. She’s handled all the funeral arrangements, selected the flowers, picked the plot, and contacted the local rabbi. She’s hardly had time to grieve. It doesn’t quite seem over to her—and she’s right.
Then, out comes Mary. The Bible says, “When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32 NLT).
Our hearts go out to Mary, don’t they? Mary knew right where she wanted to be during her time of tragedy, and it’s the same place God wants you to be during your own personal times of sorrow and grief—at the feet of Jesus. And, as we learned last week, amazing things happen at his feet! But before Mary could discover the power and compassion of Christ, she first had to discover the pain of calamity.
• THE PAIN OF CALAMITY
Her brother was dead. Her brother who she loved. Never again would she see his crooked smile. Never again would she hear his laughter which use to echo through the cobbled hallways of their stone-walled home. Never again would she tell him to get his dirty feet off of Martha’s coffee table before she catches him. Mary was in pain.
That’s an understatement. She was in agony. She was falling apart. And what was it she said when she fell at Christ’s feet? “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32 NLT). Oddly, as different as these two sisters were, the exact same words slipped from Martha’s mouth only moments earlier, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21 NLT). And then there were the muttered comments and hushed whispers of the family and friends: “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” (John 11:37 NLT).