Friday, August 29, 2008

Bible Study About Martha (And Her Family)~Part Two

Today I am sharing another part of the story of Martha (and her family). I read about her in my devotional book.

I have a soft spot for Martha, probably due to the fact that I identify with her so much. I feel like sometimes her positive qualities have been overlooked in studies of her life, because there is always so much focus on her mistakes.

Times have not changed very much, have they? Today, we live in a society that just waits for a celebrity to mess up and make a mistake, because that is what sells magazines and newspapers. And the reading public laps the bad news up like dogs to water, because it makes them feel better about themselves and their own lives.

So today, I am going to focus on another thing that I think Martha did well. I shared with you last week how I thought that she handled herself well even in her complaining. Although her frustrations were misguided, she carried them straight to Jesus. (You can read my thoughts on that by clicking here.)

Well, the part of her story that I am going to share with you today just goes to show you, Martha may have made many mistakes, but she got some things so right. Things that we should all take notice of.

Here is the story as told in Scripture.

John 11

1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick." 4 When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. 7 Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea." 8 "But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?" 9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. 10 It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light." 11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." 12 His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." 16 Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.

Now, Martha and Mary knew that Jesus loved their brother Lazarus as much as He loved them, so when they sent for Him, they expected that He would be swift in getting to them. But as you just read, He took His time.

Here is what happened when Jesus finally arrived in Bethany.

John 11

20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

Did you notice what she felt and said? Right away, she voices her displeasure in Jesus' taking His time, but then she follows it up with an amazing display of faith by saying, "But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

Even at a time when she must have been completely heartbroken, she had not lost her faith.

Listen to Jesus' reaction to her.

John 11

23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27 "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world." 28 And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside.

What she said to Jesus is worth repeating. She said, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

That is one of the boldest displays of faith in the Bible to me. She wasn't wishy- washy with her answer. She was bold! She knew Who she was talking to. She knew What He was capable of. She knew that He loved her and her family. She accepted whatever decision He made concerning her brother. Period.

Oh, in that way, to be a Martha! She was a woman who knew that Jesus loved her. She was so comfortable with Him that she didn't hesitate to tell Him of her frustrations, and she never lost sight of her faith in Him. She knew regardless of her emotions or the outcome of the situation that He loved her.

The last few verses that I will share today are ones that touch me so much. I love the fact that they give us a glimpse of Jesus as simply a friend of this family. A friend that loves them so much.

John 11

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"

I love those words. Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. He knew in mere moments they would all be rejoicing. But in that moment, He hurt for the pain that He saw in His friends.

He does that same thing for each and every one of us. He loves us, just like He loved Martha and her family.

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

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."


Dianne said...

Sigh, just lovely. I know exactly what you mean by oh to be like her in that way. I think a lot of issues we have as women could be solved if we only had that kind of self worth and faith.

Thanks, as always, for your inspiring words.

valerie said...

Thank you for sharing that devotional with us today. I love the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
I love that Martha was honest with Jesus about her feelings and Jesus was fine with that. He still is...
and we are free to pour our hearts out to him. He knows anyway!
I've done that many times where I've cried out to him and actually complained and even asked why? and then did the same thing Martha did...follow up with "I know you are a huge God and You've done it before....Lord, do it again!"
David poured his heart out to God all through the Psalms.
Thanks again and I hope you have a great weekend!

Sharon said...

OOOh my, Sounds like a re-inacting, of my life, or even other's lives. Jesus knew that Martha had a honest heart, I noticed when reading Martha, She needs to slow down and smell the roses~~~~as the saying goes. But so do I, I have realized this of myself. But I have done what martha has done, and then turn around and, please God Just help me get through this one more time, or what ever I am in need of.
Sad,sad I just received a confirmation from this, Amy Thank You, Wonderful post
God Bless You

Beandip71 said...

I think Martha gets a bad rap sometimes too. I like your take on her faith and her certainty of who Jesus is. Thanks for sharing!

God bless,

Mia said...

Oh if I could only be BOLD like Martha! To know and be secure in the fact that Jesus is right there with us weeping for our losses and sadness and trials....
Thank you friend, I always am so blessed by your sharing your devotions every week. : )

Kysha said...

Great post, Amy! He loves us even when we are hard headed. ;)

Laura said...

I love looking at another side of Martha. I mean, after all, do any of us want to be pigeon-holed because of a mistake we made a dinner party once upon a time? Women are complicated. Always have been. Always will be. I love how you say it: she is bold in these verses. We don't hear people in the Bible state so plainly who Jesus is very often.
Thanks for blessing me this morning!

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Amy-you responded on my blog post you had purchased the workbook and book. Which book were you referring to as I had two in that post. I looked up "Anonymous: Jesus hidden years" and "Behind those eyes" and and didn't find a workbook for either. If it is out there I want to get it!!


Paula (SweetPea) said...

Ames, for some reason when I read verse 22 "But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

That just hit me. I cannot describe the feelings within my spirt as that "intense" moment has passed. This happens to me quite often...I feel something so strange and so intense within my spirit but it lasts only for a moment. I'll try to explain. Those words just rang in my heart thinking of just WHO Christ is. Her words speak, knowing God would give Jesus WHATEVER He asks.

This very well probably sounds like rambling. Many times I have these intense feelings while mowing and focused on prayer or a song on the MP3 Player. They fade so quickly that I can't recapture them to record them in written word. It's just like a spiritual reflection or feeling.

Okay. I'm done rambling. For anyone who reads, by no means am I saying I have something another doesn't. It's just like reading something in the word for the 100th time and a huge light bulb going off. I mean I've always known God provides to Jesus what He asks but these words that hit me in this moment spoke to me differently.

Just to know that God would give you whatever you ask. I know God's Word actually says this in Matthew 21:21...if you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Yet, we know we've not received everything BUT Jesus would receive anything He asked.

Reading this just wants me to be in HIS see the physical flesh of the Son of God.

One last thing your post brought to my mind...not sure as it's way out in left field.

But I love the scene in the passion (and maybe other movies) where Jesus splashes His mother Mary with water when He's washing His hands presumably before a meal. To me, that is the most precious view of Jesus...a part we don't see or think about as much....Him playing with His mother. Teasing, laughing. :-)
Much love my friend.

Nicole said...

I love the story of Mary and Martha. Thanks for your spin on it. It made me look at Martha differently.


From the Heart said...

I just read your comment on Sharon's blog. I can identify with your feelings about life changing events. I'm much older than you but I've had a lot of surgeries in my neck and last year in my back. Things are different and I can't do the things I use to do. I've missed so much church this past year that when I go I feel like I'm in a different place. A lot of change have been made and it's just not the same.

The Bible study with Rachel Olsen has been a great blessing and I have met so many wonderful people.

I just thought it might help to know your not alone in how you feel. If you would like to you can read my post on Reach Out and Touch. It's about the things that have happened to me and how God has brought me through so much and spared my life twice.

I enjoyed reading your post about Martha. Very good.

I would love to know how you changed your cursor to a daisy. I would love to have a heart, that is if you don't mind sharing.

Please feel free to visit my blog anytime.
Be blessed,

Ellie said...

inspiration. said...

Amy, you did it again! Amazing how you share your words along with the Bible that make such an impression. I love you!
MOM :)

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

Thanks so much for sharing!

Julie said...

I found you from Pamela's blog, though I know I have visited here before.

I too am reading "Anonymous". I am LOVING it!

I too wrote a devo on Martha for the Internet Cafe.
I think she's gotten a bum wrap. I wrote from a different angle, more from how her story has been taught and what might have been her heart in what she did. If you want to read about it you can find it on my blog.

Thanks for sharing your heart here. I agree with what you've written.


Mari said...

Thank you so much Amy for revealing the other side of Martha. Just like us, she had some areas that could use work and some she had allowed God to develop well. Thank again for the great insight!

The Boyds Family said...

I love the messages that you share with us from your devotionals. This is a great post AND yes, I too wish I was more like Martha in her faith. That's a beautiful testament - she still believed even when it looked as if all were lost...How many of us can say that??