John 11:20-21 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
Reading verse 20 alone, Martha’s actions seem appropriate but it is in verse 21 that we discover her motivations. While she believes that Jesus is the Christ and had power over all manner of life and death, she accused Jesus of failing her. She did not want her brother Lazarus to die.
Mary on the other hand remained at home. This same Mary was said to have chosen the better part by sitting at the feet of Jesus and hanging on His every word. Did she know something Martha did not? We do not know from the scriptures presented. Watch what happens next.
v28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.
Jesus did not call for Mary, but Martha told Mary that He did. Note that Martha did this in secret. This is the end result.
v32 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.
Martha’s lie to Mary infected her, disturbed her mourning, changed her positional attitude, and now Mary too is accusing Jesus. Now comes the truly hard part to connect with Jesus coming soon.
v30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.
Martha’s actions halted Jesus forward momentum. Why could not be seen until verse 33.
v33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
The Jews were with Mary, not Martha, the Jews followed Mary, not Martha. This had to be played out against Martha’s accusation to be seen.