The New Testament records encounters Jesus had with his family, disciples, followers, religious leaders, crowds, the sick, enemies and others. Luke 10 and John 11 and 12 relate that Jesus also spent time with friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He felt welcomed in their home and would visit as he was going through the village of Bethany, less than two miles from Jerusalem. The scriptures even state that Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, whom he raised from the dead.
Martha had the gift of hospitality and opened her home to Jesus and his disciples. Being ready and prepared was important to Martha. She must have felt that Jesus was a good friend because she complained to him when Mary did not help with the tasks when he came to visit. Sometime later, their brother Lazarus became sick and died. After hearing that Jesus was coming, Martha went out to meet Him and was able to express her belief and faith that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. After Jesus’ arrival, she went back to their home to let Mary know that the Teacher had come so she too could go to him.
On the other hand, the encounters Mary had with Jesus were different. Mary is the one who took the time to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to his teachings. In love and devotion, she poured perfume on Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. Whenever Jesus was present, she quickly went to Him.
Two sisters…showing their love for Jesus in different ways…with lessons to learn from each. With the busyness of getting ready for Holy Week, like Martha, I want Jesus to feel comfortable and know that he is always welcome in my home and life. I want to declare that He is my Messiah, the Son of God. I desire to be well prepared and take time to let others know that Jesus is there for them, too. And like Mary, I want to be intentional about making and taking time to sit at Jesus’ feet, to learn from Him, to thank Him for what He’s done, and worship and praise Him for who He is. And when He speaks, I want to be quick to respond.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”John 11:17-28; 41-43
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.