John 11:28
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.
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(28) And called Mary her sister secretly.—It was done secretly to avoid attracting the notice of the Jews who were with her (John 11:19; John 11:31). This, we have seen (John 11:20), accounts for the fact that our Lord did not Himself go to the house. That the care was not unnecessary is seen from John 11:46.

The Master is come (better, is here), and calleth for thee.—The word here rendered “Master” is not the Hebrew Rabbi (comp. Note on John 1:38), but the Greek word answering to our “Teacher.” (Comp. John 13:13-14.) He is not named, but Mary at once knows who is intended. (Comp. Mark 14:14.) Perhaps the name was that by which they usually spoke of Him who had been their Teacher. We are not told that our Lord sent for Mary, but we must assume that Martha conveyed the message which she herself had heard.

John 11:28-35. When she had so said — When she had testified her faith, as in the preceding verse; she went and called Mary — Jesus having inquired for her, as is implied in the next words, designing that she and her companions should likewise have the honour and comfort of being present at the stupendous miracle which he was about to perform. As soon as she (Mary) heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him — Without speaking a word to the company of friends, who, because she was of a softer disposition than her sister, paid a special attention to her grief; remaining with her in the house after Martha was gone out, and when she went out following her: lest she should be going to the grave to weep there. In consequence of this, they were naturally led to be eye-witnesses of all that followed. When Mary came to Jesus, being greatly affected at the sight of him in the present circumstances of their distress, she fell down at his feet — As one overwhelmed with sorrow, and with many tears, (as appears, John 11:33,) expressed herself as Martha had done before; Lord, if thou hadst been here, &c. — For they had often said this to one another. She was so overcome with grief that she could utter no more. She had sat at Christ’s feet to hear his word: but now she is at his feet on a different errand. Such are the changes in human life! Observe, reader, those that in a day of peace place themselves at Christ’s feet, to receive instruction from him, may with confidence and comfort cast themselves at his feet in a day of trouble, with hope of finding favour with him. When Jesus saw her weeping, &c. — When he beheld Martha and Mary, and their companions around him, all in tears, the tender feelings of love, and pity, and friendship moved him in a high degree; for his compassionate heart could not contemplate the distress of the two affectionate sisters, and that of their friends, without having a deep share in it. He therefore groaned in spirit, and was troubled — Greek, εταραξεν εαυτον, he troubled himself: an expression, both elegant and full of the highest propriety. For (as Bengelius observes) the affections of Jesus were not properly passions, but voluntary emotions, which were wholly in his own power. And this tender trouble which he now voluntarily sustained, was full of the highest order and reason. And — That he might keep them in suspense no longer, but, going to the grave, might give them immediate relief, by bringing him to life again; he asks, Where have ye laid him? — He knew where he was laid, and yet asks, because, 1st, He would thus express himself as a man, even then, when he was going to exert the power of God; non nescit sed quasi nescit, saith Austin here, he was not ignorant where he was laid, but he speaks as if he were ignorant. 2d, He would thus divert the grief of his mourning friends, by raising their expectation of his doing something great. They say, Lord, come and see — Perhaps indulging some uncertain hope of what was afterward done. Jesus wept — In remembrance of the dead, and out of sympathy with the living, as well as from a deep sense of the misery which sin had brought upon human nature. “In this grief of the Son of God,” says Macknight, “there was a greatness and generosity, not to say an amiableness of disposition, infinitely nobler than that which the Stoic philosophers aimed at, in their so much boasted apathy.”

11:17-32 Here was a house where the fear of God was, and on which his blessing rested; yet it was made a house of mourning. Grace will keep sorrow from the heart, but not from the house. When God, by his grace and providence, is coming towards us in ways of mercy and comfort, we should, like Martha, go forth by faith, hope, and prayer, to meet him. When Martha went to meet Jesus, Mary sat still in the house; this temper formerly had been an advantage to her, when it put her at Christ's feet to hear his word; but in the day of affliction, the same temper disposed her to melancholy. It is our wisdom to watch against the temptations, and to make use of the advantages of our natural tempers. When we know not what in particular to ask or expect, let us refer ourselves to God; let him do as seemeth him good. To enlarge Martha's expectations, our Lord declared himself to be the Resurrection and the Life. In every sense he is the Resurrection; the source, the substance, the first-fruits, the cause of it. The redeemed soul lives after death in happiness; and after the resurrection, both body and soul are kept from all evil for ever. When we have read or heard the word of Christ, about the great things of the other world, we should put it to ourselves, Do we believe this truth? The crosses and comforts of this present time would not make such a deep impression upon us as they do, if we believed the things of eternity as we ought. When Christ our Master comes, he calls for us. He comes in his word and ordinances, and calls us to them, calls us by them, calls us to himself. Those who, in a day of peace, set themselves at Christ's feet to be taught by him, may with comfort, in a day of trouble, cast themselves at his feet, to find favour with him.She went her way - Jesus probably directed her to go, though the evangelist has not recorded it, for she said to Mary, The Master calleth for thee.

Secretly - Privately. So that the others did not hear her. This was done, perhaps, to avoid confusion, or because it was probable that if they knew Jesus was coming they would have made opposition. Perhaps she doubted whether Jesus desired it to be known that he had come.

The Master is come - This appears to have been the appellation by which he was known to the family. It means, literally, teacher, and was a title which he claimed for himself. "One is your Master, even Christ" Matthew 23:8, Matthew 23:10. The Syriac has it, "Our Master."

28-32. The Master is come and calleth for thee—The narrative does not give us this interesting detail, but Martha's words do. Mary was left at home, while Martha went out of the town to meet Christ. It seemeth by this verse, Christ had asked for her, though that be not mentioned before. Martha goeth secretly to her, and tells her that the Master was come. (It was a name they usually called their most famous teachers by).

And when she had so said,.... Had expressed her faith in Christ in such terms, as the apostles themselves did, Matthew 16:16 John 1:49.

She went her way; from Christ, being ordered by him to go to her sister Mary, and fetch her to him:

and called Mary her sister secretly; either beckoned her to come to her, or whispered her in the ear privately, as Nonnus paraphrases it, that the Jews, who were enemies to Christ, might not hear:

saying, the master is come; near the town; is not a great way off: she might use the phrase, "the master", for greater privacy, that should she be overheard, it would not be who she meant; and because it was an usual appellation by which Christ was called in that family, and by which he was well known; and was expressive of honour to him, and subjection in them as his disciples:

and calleth for thee; to come to him; Christ asked after her, desired to see her, and ordered her to come to him; which was an instance of his respect for her.

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.
John 11:28. καὶ ταῦτα εἰποῦσα ἀπῆλθε, “and when she had said this,” and when some further conversation had taken place (cf. φωνεῖ σε), “she went and called Mary her sister, secretly saying to her: The Teacher is here and asks for you”. The secrecy was due not so much to the presence of Jesus’ enemies as to Martha’s desire that Mary should meet Jesus alone, unaccompanied even by friends. For the same purpose Jesus remained in the place where He had met Martha.

28. secretly] Because she knew that some of Christ’s enemies were among the guests (John 11:19; John 11:31). ‘Secretly’ belongs to ‘saying,’ not to ‘called.’

The Master is come] Or, The Teacher is come. It is not the Hebrew word ‘Rabbi’ that is here used, as in John 1:50, John 3:2; John 3:26, John 4:31, John 6:25, John 9:2; but the Greek word given in John 1:39 as the translation of ‘Rabbi,’ and in John 20:16 as the translation of ‘Rabboni,’ and used by Christ (John 3:10) of Nicodemus. Comp. John 13:13-14; Mark 14:14. Martha avoids using His name for fear of being overheard.

John 11:28. Ταῦτα εἰποῦσα, having said these things) Faith, and her confession of His Messiahship, lent her alacrity.—λάθρα) Without the knowledge of the Jews, as John 11:31 proves.[300]—Ὁ ΔΙΔΆΣΚΑΛΟς, the Master) So they were wont to call Jesus, when speaking of Him among one another.—φωνεῖ σε, calls thee) Either Jesus expressly ordered Mary to be called: or else Martha, by His permission, called Mary; and in this case spake so, in order the more speedily to rouse up Mary. Mary’s sedate disposition was no hindrance in her way; yet she was called, in order that she might be present at the miracle.

[300] The Jews therefore mistook the motive of Mary’s going out: “She goeth unto the grave to weep there.”—E. and T.

Verse 28. - When she had said this, she departed, and called Mary her sister secretly. Observe the important emendation of text from ταῦτα to τοῦτο. When she had made this great utterance, her heart is big with hope. The grim shadow of death is now transparent to a heavenly light. She must share her hope with her sister. Jesus gave the commission to fetch Mary, as is obvious from the words of Martha which follow. The term "secretly" (λάθρα), when elsewhere used, precedes the verb with which it is associated, and therefore here it is joined with εἰποῦσα, whispering to her, lest the hostile Jews should hear and intercept the interview. The Master (the Teacher) used absolutely (cf. John 13:13) - is here, and calleth for thee. Sacred summons! Martha expected (as Euthymius suggested) that some blessing might come from his words. John 11:28The Master (ὁ διδάσκαλος)

Literally, the teacher. Westcott remarks that this title opens a glimpse into the private intercourse of the Lord and the disciples: so they spoke of Him.

Is come (πάρεστιν)

Literally, is present. Rev., is here.

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