MARTHA. With a name meaning “the lady” or “the mistress” Martha reminds us of the importance of perspective when we go about doing our work.
Martha is the sister of Lazarus & Mary, and lived with them in Bethany. We meet this family in the gospels of Luke & John, and quickly realize that it is rare for the Bible to chat about a whole family in the New Testament, so we should take a close look at them.
It appears that Jesus regularly stops by to visit with them when He is in the area, and on one such visit, Martha appears to be stressed about entertaining her guests, especially because her sister is doing something out of the ordinary for a Jewish woman. (More on that tomorrow). When she brings up her concern to Jesus, He speaks words she was not expecting to hear. That her sister is doing the better thing by listening to her guest, instead of worrying about meal preparations.
That would have hurt, if I had been Martha.
Later in John 11, Martha sends word to Jesus that her brother, his friend Lazarus is seriously ill, and to come quickly. We might think its to say goodbye, but her reaction when Jesus finally arrives well after Lazarus has died shows she did believe Jesus could have prevented her brother’s death, and believed Him when He revealed to her that He is the Resurrection and the Life, and that her brother would rise again.
Yet Martha couldn’t help but speak her thoughts when she commented to Jesus that Lazarus had been in the grave 4 days, and would smell accordingly. Jesus reminds her that He told her her brother would rise again. (In those days, they thought that was the rising of the dead to go to heaven). Imagine her shock and joy as she watched her brother come out of the tomb immediately following Jesus’ 3 words, “Lazarus, come out.”
Despite not being perfect, she is included in witnessing these two miracles. The first, that a woman is worthy of being educated by a rabbi (Bible teacher) and the second, the raising of her brother from the grave!
Martha reminds me that although being organized isn’t a bad thing, spending time with Jesus and getting to know who He is is the more important thing, and should be reflected in my to do list. I am ever so grateful that God included Martha’s story, as despite speaking her mind, Jesus continues to spend time with her and address her concerns.