“Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.”
The Lord Jesus did many wonderful things that were not committed to writing (John21:25). The things that were written about Him are intended to instruct and encourage us (Romans 15:4). John also made it clear that the things he wrote were intended to give us fullness of joy (1 John 1:5). During His earthly ministry, Jesus must have had many friends and acquaintances. The mention of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus must therefore have some special significance. Luke tells us that Martha, presumably the older of the two sisters and probably a widow, invited the Lord into her home (Luke 10:38). Her sister Mary sat humbly at the Lord’s feet listening to His teaching while Martha busied herself with all that was involved with serving her important Guest (Luke 10:40). When Martha complained that Mary was not helping her, the Lord tenderly explained that what Mary was doing was far more important at that moment (Luke 10:42). Though service to the Lord is good and right, it is more essential to be receiving the Lord’s service to us. Indeed, one must first receive the Lord’s instructions to know how the Lord intends for us to serve Him. Where Mary was busy providing material refreshments, the Lord’s words were providing spiritual nourishment (John 6:63). John records a stupendous event involving this precious little family that is chock full of meaning. In the eleventh chapter of his Gospel, John tells us that Lazarus took ill. In desperation, his sisters sent word to Jesus (John 11:3). By the time the Lord arrived on the scene, Lazarus was already dead and buried (John 11:17). Incredibly, the Lord spoke into the man’s tomb, commanding Lazarus to awaken. We can only imagine the shock, the astonishment, and the overwhelming joy of Martha and Mary as they watched their brother emerge from his tomb alive and well (John 11:43-44). John tells us that this breathtaking miracle caused many to believe in the Lord. It was for that reason Christ’s enemies sought to kill Lazarus also (John 12:10-11). Here in these short narratives involving this family we have a picture of our own priestly position and responsibility before the Lord. This involves being attentive to His word, being active in service to Him and, most importantly, it involves dying to ourselves. Our old selves must die so that we can walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4-6). As with Lazarus’ physical resurrection, our own spiritual rebirth is intended to be a powerful, irresistible witness to the mercy and power of God. We too will have our enemies bent on destroying us, but Christ is infinitely greater. The Good Shepherd is our Guide and Protector. May this be a help to you, dear saints.