I speak of Martha of Bethany, sister of Lazarus, sister of Mary.
If you are thinking, Wait. Don’t you mean ‘Remarkable Mary‘?…I invite you to read further.
How many sermons have been preached on Martha …every one chiding her for her service to Jesus and praising Mary for her devotion. Never mind that all the expositing brethren who vocally imitate–in most unflattering tones– Martha’s plea to Jesus [Luke 10: 38-42] to “bid my sister that she help me,” have undoubtedly been reared by mothers who are Martha’s, have married women who are Martha’s and have churches whose work is carried on daily and brilliantly by Martha’s.
Instead of meeting Martha in Luke 10, journey one gospel over to John 11 and visit Martha there. Martha’s brother, Lazarus, was sick. She and her sister, Mary, sent for Jesus. For His own good reasons, He delayed his coming and Lazarus died and when Jesus arrived, He raised Lazarus from the dead.
“Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister and Lazarus.” [verse 5] Take a moment to appreciate this verse does not read: “Now Jesus loved them.” He loved each of the three in an individual way and loved them precisely as they were and loved them all the same. How unwise we are to contrast ourselves with someone we deem as having more faith, more devotion, more tenacity, than we. God loves you precisely as you are and loves you by name.
[Lazarus has died] “Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him: but Mary sat still in the house.” [verse 20] If you had a heartache this size, and if Jesus were on the way to help you, would you sit in your house and wait for Him to arrive? Would you not do exactly what Martha did? Run to meet Him and kneel at His feet on the dusty road?
“Then said Martha unto Jesus, ‘Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee” [verses 21-22] She came to Jesus honestly and told Him exactly how she felt.
There is nothing to gain by going to God and acting as though we are in any state other than the one we are actually in. He is touched by the feeling of our infirmity [Hebrews 4:15].
“Oh, what peace we
often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.”
Further: Martha’s faith was still intact. “Even now.”
Martha knew ultimately
Lazarus would “rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” [verse 24]. She
also affirms Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of God…” [verse 27]
Though Martha was busy “serving,” her heart and mind were nonetheless fixed on spiritual matters, right doctrine, grounded on rock solid faith.
Once Martha had met
with Jesus, she “called Mary, saying, “The Master is come…” [verse 28] and when
Mary met Jesus, she repeats precisely what Martha said, “Lord, if thou
hadst been here, my brother had not died.” [verse 32]
This bears evidence the two sisters, after sorrowing and praying, had reached and affirmed each other in this conclusion, their mutual faith thus strengthened.
We would all do well to be more like Martha.