World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
21. Lord, if thou hadst been here. She begins with a complaint, though in doing so she modestly expresses her wish. Her meaning may be expressed thus — “By thy presence thou mightst have delivered my brother from death, and even now thou canst do it, for God will not refuse thee any thing.” By speaking in this manner, she gives way to her feelings, instead of restraining them under the rule of faith. I acknowledge that her words proceeded partly from faith, but I say that there were disorderly passions mixed with them, which hurried her beyond due bounds. For when she assures herself that her brother would not have died, if Christ had been present, what ground has she for this confidence? Certainly, it did not arise from any promise of Christ.
The only conclusion therefore is, that she inconsiderately yields to her own wishes, instead of subjecting herself to Christ. When she ascribes to Christ power and supreme goodness, this proceeds from faith; but when she persuades herself of more than she had heard Christ declare, that has nothing to do with faith; 317317 “Cela n’a rien de commun avec la foy.” for we must always hold the mutual agreement between the word and faith, that no man may rashly forge anything for himself, without the authority of the word of God. Besides, Martha attached too much importance to the bodily presence of Christ. The consequence is, that Martha’s faith, though mixed up and interwoven with ill-regulated desires, and even not wholly free from superstition, could not shine with full brightness; so that we perceive but a few sparks of it in these words.