When one thinks about Martha of Bethany, the incident in Luke 10 comes to mind. Martha complained about her sister, Mary, who chose to sit at Jesus’ feet instead of helping Martha with dinner. Most Sunday school stories end with us wanting to be more like Mary than Martha — to not be distracted from listening to Jesus by the busyness of life. Yet there is more to Martha than being the distracted chef. John 11 concerning the illness of her brother, Lazarus, reveals more about her.
MARTHA, THE BELOVED CHEF
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5).
Jesus was not a passing guest at Martha’s home. He had become a close family friend. Even with her predisposition to be distracted, Jesus loved Martha. And Martha knew it.
As her brother, Lazarus, lay dying in bed, all Martha could think of was Jesus — the one who could certainly heal him.
So the sisters sent a message to Jesus: “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”
But not long after the messenger left, Lazarus breathed his last and grief pierced their hearts.
The next few days went by in a blur. And when Martha heard that Jesus was back in town, she rushed out to meet Him in a mix of emotions.
“Why did he not come earlier? He was only a day’s journey away. It’s too late now. What could have been more important to him than us? Than Lazarus?”
But when she saw Jesus’ loving eyes, her frustrations melted into tears and all she could mutter through her sobs was, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21)
In times of frustration and grief, the beloved chef did not need to hold back her tears or her honest words. She knew that her Lord who loved her would hear.
Isn’t it great that our Lord who loves us, will hear us when we call to Him? If you are feeling like no one understands or that the sadness is overwhelming, call out to Him who loves you. He who loves you will hear you. Don’t hold back.
JESUS LOVED MARTHA. AND MARTHA KNEW IT.
MARTHA, THE BELIEVING CHEF
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world” (John 11:25–27, ESV).
In her grief, Martha was faced with a tough question regarding what Jesus said: “Do you believe this?”
Martha blinked furiously through her tears. “Do I believe? Why is the Lord asking this of me now? I believe that God will resurrect Lazarus and the faithful dead on the last day, but what does Jesus mean by being the resurrection and the life? I do not fully understand what He is saying, but I want to believe. I will choose to believe.”
“Yes, Lord, I believe,” she said, with all that was in her. “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God. I will continue to follow you.”
Little did Martha know that her belief would be confirmed in just a little while longer, when she saw her brother raised to life before her eyes!
When we cannot understand why things happen in life, we can continue to believe that God is who He says He is, and His love and promises are true even when it doesn’t seem like it.
Just like Martha, the distracted, but beloved and believing chef.