Friday, August 22, 2008

Bible Study About Martha (And Her Family)

The woman that I read about this week in my devotional is Martha. I love the story of Martha, her sister Mary, and their brother Lazarus.

Scripture says Jesus loved them.

John 11:5
"Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."

Can you imagine, forever and all time, God's Word saying He loved you by name?
Now obviously we already know that the Bible says God loves all of us.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

But the Bible says that Jesus loved them by their names.

He was their friend.

It would be the most amazing feeling to open up the Bible and read the words, "Jesus loved Amy and her family."


Much like the relationship that I have with my friend Kenny, Jesus spent time with them. He enjoyed their company. I can just picture them laughing over funny memories while enjoying dinner together.

He obviously looked forward to spending time with them, as much as they looked forward to spending time with Him.

He definitely had a special relationship with this family, and that in a nutshell is why the story of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus is one of my favorites.

It lets us see Jesus simply as a friend.

A friend that they obviously felt completely comfortable around.

Mary felt comfortable enough to sit at His feet and hang on to His every Word.

And Martha knew that she was safe to go straight to Him with her complaints and frustrations about her sister.

That type of comfort comes only after time spent in getting to know each other.
Of course, the Bible doesn't tell us of all of the times that they were together, and it doesn't tell us everything they did or discussed.
But relationships that are that comfortable don't just happen. They develop over time.

Scripture tells us that Martha opened her home to Jesus.

Luke 10:38
"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him."

From what I have been taught regarding "opening her home" in Bible times, it doesn't mean that she just opened the door and said to Jesus, "Come on in!"
It means she literally invited Him to come inside and make her home, His home. She would have rolled out the red carpet of hospitality for however long His stay would be.

I know myself, if company is coming, I want the house to be clean. I want food to be available, and I want my guests to feel like my home is their home. (And since most of my friends that visit always start yawning and want to go to sleep, I think I definitely make them feel comfortable. I don't know if they always approve of my cleaning and cooking skills, but they definitely know that they can kick their feet up and relax.) ;)

How much more so would I be this way if I knew it was Jesus that would be staying with me. Like Martha, I can see myself working feverishly to make everything perfect for Him.

Martha gets criticized so much for her story as told in Scripture, since she was complaining to Jesus, but let's be honest with one another....Don't we all do this at one time or another?

Martha was human just like the rest of us.
Although Mary chose a very good thing to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him as He spoke, Martha was trying to do the same thing in her service to Jesus. She was misguided, maybe, but non the less, she was doing what she thought was her best.

I wonder if Mary was going through something extremely difficult, as opposed to Martha at the time.
I know when I am in great emotional pain, I spend so much more time talking to God. Every time we see Mary in Scripture, she is at the feet of Jesus.
I don't know what was going on in her life, but I know in my own, when I am hurting, I, too, find myself frequently at Jesus' feet.

These are just things I wonder about. Every one of us has our own story. Our own pain. Our own individual relationship with the Lord. We are all in different seasons in our walks with the Lord.

Even though Martha's feelings about Mary were misguided, I love the fact that she carried her frustrations straight to Jesus. Scripture doesn't say that she slammed the cabinet doors, or banged the dishes together. No, Scripture says she went right to Jesus with her complaints.

Luke 10:39-40
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

Here is Jesus' response to her.

Luke 10:41-42
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

I can picture Jesus trying not to smile as He gently spoke those words to her.

Remember Scripture says...

John 11:5
"Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."

He corrected her wrong thinking towards Mary, but oh, how He loved her!
He must have been so pleased that she brought her frustrations straight to Him.
She wasn't gossiping about Mary to any one else who would listen; she went straight to Him.

1 Peter 5:7
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

In that way, oh how I would love to be a Martha!

John 7:24
"Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."

We need to be careful how we misjudge the women and men and their stories that God shares with us in the Bible. They were all human, just like us. There is so much to learn from their mistakes, as well as their triumphs.

I will share more next week of my study of Martha and her family.

P.S. Thank you for the lovely picture, Dianne.


Kristen said...

I love the story of Mary and Martha... and oh how us ladies can identify with both of them.

I have a set of Beth Moore DVD's from her Wednesday's with Beth television studies. After reading your post, I pulled out the notes I took while watching Beth's teaching on the "Captivity of Activity" Somtehing that jumped off the pages of my notes was this: Martha was serving Christ while preparing her home, but she was still missing him. She was too busy to experience Christ's tender care... but oh how Jesus loved her anyway!
I love how you pointed out that Martha went straight to Jesus to "tell" on Mary. No gossiping to others, no slamming cabinet doors. When we go to Christ to "tell" on someone he reveals to us what we need to learn from the situation!

Great post!!!

Beandip71 said...

I love the story of Martha. It is such a good reminder for me to stop being so "busy" and just sit at Jesus' feet. :)

Dianne said...

This post was a good reminder for me of where my prioroties should lie. Thank you for that. I was just actually wondering this morning when you would post a devotional post again and whadayaknow!

Have a wonderful day!

Nicole said...

I was just reading that story a week or so ago. I love it too. It reminds me that cleaning, preparing et are not bad things to do but when they get in the way of sitting at Jesus's feet they are sinful. He should be our first priority.

I like how Martha poured brought her complaints to the Lord and not to others. Such an important reminder for us all! I wonder what Mary was thinking/praying as she was sitting at Jesus's feet??? It makes me wonder. Was she waiting to hear God speak, resting in Jesus etc? Possibly/probably both. I want to have a Mary heart in a Martha world. (I heard that quoted sometime ago-don't remember where).

Thanks Amy.


My Goodness said...

I love much to learn from this story, this family. Thank you for sharing your study...I feel that I have been 'schooled'. :)

Have a fantastic day, my friend!!

Ellie said...

Very nicely put. This is a wonderful post. said...

Hey, baby girl! That was awesome! I know how you have always loved this story so it makes it so easy to tell. I've missed your Bible posts too - you have such a gift from God!

I hope and pray that you feel much better soon - I'm so sorry that you are in such pain.
Love you!
MOM :)

Mia said...

I'm late checking in today! How are you sweet friend?
Thank you for taking up for Martha today. As a "Martha" I often find myself complaining.
I just need to find that Martha/Mary balance!
I hope you all have a great weekend!!

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

I think we all are "Martha's". We did a Bible study a couple of years ago with Joanna Weavers book "Having a Mary heart in a Martha world" and then later did her latest book "Having a Mary Spirit". Two very amazing books if you haven't read them!! Our heart is to be God's home, He is to be our best friend...just this morning I allowed business to take me away from my quiet time. I sat down this afternoon and was utterly amazed at how He came through for me even though I had placed Him on the back burner. He is amazing despite our faults!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Anonymous said...

Wonderful devotion, Amy! I had been a Martha too many times. So hard headed!

Kelly said...

I love to look at the world through someone else's eyes.....thanks for lending us yours, Amy.

Can't wait to read your post on Sunday!

The Boyds Family said...

oh how well I can relate to Martha.

I hope you are soon out of your hidden season; in the meantime, keep praying to the Lord - only he knows what is best for you :)

Thanks for sharing - I love your devotionals.

Denise said...

What a great post! I've always enjoed this story myself. Thanks, Amy.