“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister (Mary) and Lazarus. They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem.” John 11:5 Amplified
As we get back into our study of the Women of the Bible, we start with two of them, Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. Most of us are familiar with this story, since it’s about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. We will look more closely at the two sisters and how they handled this stressful situation.
The death of a loved one is considered a major life stressor. I know some people who aren’t able to move on with life after the death of a loved one. I have lost both parents and a brother so I am acquainted with grief. Though I miss them all I don’t feel the Lord, or our loved ones who’ve passed, would want us to lose our joy for life. We have to come to a balance of remembering them and yet, out of love for those still with us, carry on.
We see in Mary and Martha a contrast in actions, similar to what we saw when Jesus first visited their house. Martha ran out to meet Jesus as He was approaching, but Mary remained at the house with the mourners. Martha spoke boldly to Jesus about what He should have done, come sooner. The Lord questioned her belief in Him and once this was confirmed, she went back to the house to tell Mary that Jesus was coming. Mary sprang up quickly to go out to Him and then fell at His feet sobbing and telling Jesus, if you had been here my brother would not have died. Jesus was deeply moved and asked where Lazarus was laid. As they went, the word says, Jesus wept, the mourners all around exclaimed, See how much He loved him! When Jesus told them to remove the stone from where Lazarus was put, no-nonsense Martha told Him, Lazarus has been dead four days, he’s going to smell. Jesus lovingly replies to her, Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe in me you would see the glory of God? Jesus then thanked God for hearing His prayer, and called Lazarus to come out. Many who were there believed in Jesus after this.
Mary and Martha give us a good example of two different women. Mary is quiet, calm and trusting. Martha is bolder, more assertive and questioning. Instead of saying one woman is better than the other, maybe we should just say that we all need to be like both at the appropriate time.