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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."
"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."