Martha’s Story (A personal perspective)

John 11.1-44

My brother Lazarus, Mary and me, we were all very taken with Jesus. He didn’t come from the same village we lived in. He came from up north in Galilee but that didn’t matter. We had been out to see him, to listen to him and over time we all got to know him. We saw the things he did which were amazing. In fact, you could say all three of us not only got to know him, we became really close friends. Lazarus and Jesus had that male bonding thing going on but both Mary and I in our different ways felt very close to him as well. Anyway, Jesus wasn’t around when Lazarus became ill. We were home in Bethany which is really close to Jerusalem and it wasn’t safe for Jesus to be there because of all the plots to kill him from the big religious leaders. They really hated him. But I knew he was a good man, even more than that he was who we had all been waiting for. You wouldn’t believe how jealous the Sanhedrin was because he showed them up to be what they really are.

Lazarus got worse and Mary and I were so worried that we sent people from our village tofind Jesus. After all he had healed that son of Herod’s official without even going to see him. I’m told when they did find Jesus there was a bit of a row. First of all, Jesus didn’t come straight away. To start with when I heard that I was surprised and disappointed. I didn’t think that was like him, he isn’t afraid of people. Then two days later he seems to change his mind and says he is coming. His close disciples tried to stop him. They said if he comes to Bethany the Jewish leaders are bound to hear of it and they will try to stone him to death. They had already tried to do that more than once. But Jesus came and so did his disciples.

People around heard he was coming before he got to Bethany. The trouble was it all took too long and Lazarus by now had died four days before Jesus got here. Everybody was round the house. They were doing the usual things trying to comfort us. When I heard Jesus was outside the village I went to see him. Mary stayed back, but I had to see him. I went straight up to him. You see even then there was hope in my heart, I couldn’t explain it, there just was. I said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.’ I think I just needed something from him.

Jesus said, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ I know everybody, even leading Jewish Rabbis, don’t believe that but Jesus always taught it and I believe it. So, I told him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus did mean that but he meant more than that. He said, and I will never forget it, he said to me, ‘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.’ Jesus then asked me if I believed that. I said I believe it and I believed in him. ‘You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world,’ I said. He asked me then where Mary was so I went back home.

The house was still full of people, so I whispered to Mary that Jesus was just outside the village and wanted her. That was it, Mary just went without a word. The people who were here to comfort us thought she was going to Lazarus’ grave but she went straight to Jesus. She said to Jesus the same as I did, if only he had been here Lazarus wouldn’t have died. When Jesus saw Mary crying he cried too. I had never seen him cry before.

Some of the people who had been round our house started to blame Jesus saying if he had healed other people why hadn’t he healed his good friend. Jesus though didn’t reply he went with us to the cave where Lazarus had been put in our usual way, carefully, tightly wrapped in linen strips. Jesus wanted the stone removed from the entrance. I told him the smell would be awful after four days. He turned, looked at me to remind me of our conversation earlier and said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’ Then they moved the stone, Jesus said a prayer, mostly I think for everybody else’s benefit and then he almost shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out.’

It was then my lovely brother, still wrapped up, came to the front of the cave. It was just incredible. What an amazing thing, it was so wonderful to see Lazarus. I realized then that Jesus was what he said to me, the resurrection and the life. I had been so filled with worry and grief about Lazarus I didn’t realize then that God had a plan for his glory.

What did Martha learn about Jesus’ priority?

How significant is it that Jesus chose Martha to tell, he is the resurrection and the life?

What did Martha learn about God’s timing?

What can we learn from Martha’s trust in Jesus?

Because He Lives I Can Face Tomorrow

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