Throughout the years, she has been pictured as the “not enough” woman. Not enough faith, not enough like her sister, not enough commitment to stop everything and listen to Jesus.
Yet, I like her. Martha.
Legend says she was a wealthy widow, and it was her home in Bethany where she cared for her siblings, Mary and Lazarus.
It was her home where Jesus felt comfortable enough to take a break from ministry — to just “be” for a while. Martha’s home was his retreat center.
Why do I like Martha?
Martha was a do-er.
As the owner of the home and the matriarch of the family, Martha was the one who organized the household. She got things done.
Whether planning how to feed her Savior and his group of rowdy disciples or accomplishing the daily tasks of linen weaving, grape and olive picking, laundry, management of people — Martha got ‘er done.
Sure, she occasionally slipped out of balance. Who doesn’t? We know of only one incident where she was carried way with the prep of a meal and forgot what was more important.
But how many of us would do the same? If I knew Jesus was physically coming to my house tonight, you can bet I would pull out my favorite recipe and make sure the bathroom was clean. I’m not sure I would take extra time for an hour of prayer and devotion.
Obviously, Martha was the Type A personality. Without the Martha’s of the world, churches could not operate, non-profits would fold and half the governments of the world would be defunct.
Martha was bold.
She lived through a terrible tragedy, but she knew who to contact for help. She sent word to Jesus that her brother was sick. She trusted her God to come and heal this precious loved one.
But Jesus did not arrive in time.
Finally, after Lazarus died, Jesus came. Martha marched up to him and dared to confront him. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Martha was angry and felt Jesus had betrayed her and the family friendship. He didn’t show up in time. He let her beloved brother die.
How many of us have the courage to state the truth of how we feel when our prayers go unanswered and the worst happens?
We may not have the guts to speak our truth, but we feel wounded by the God we love.
Martha was honest and bold enough to state the root of her grief. She knew Jesus loved her enough that he would allow her to be angry with him. And he would love her even more with his response.
Martha was chosen.
Jesus wasn’t upset with Martha’s bold statement. In fact, he had already planned how he was going to bless her.
He had a greater miracle in mind.
He told her to just believe, and then he instructed the people nearby to remove the stone from the grave.
Here we see bold, practical Martha again. “You’re kidding, Jesus, right? My brother has been dead four days. He’s already stinky.”
Again Jesus reminds her to believe, then he calls Lazarus out of that grave.
Imagine how exciting that moment must have been for this amazing woman. Her prayers answered in a way she could not have imagined. Her brother was alive again. Her faith in Jesus restored.
No condemnation for her boldness. Jesus understood Martha’s authenticity and chose her to be the recipient of a greater miracle.
God Himself gifted, loved and chose this woman. Let’s give her a break for being human.
©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Check out the story of another amazing woman — Abigail. No Visible Scars.
I, too, admire Martha. However, I’ve never read that passage as if Martha accused Jesus, “If you’d been here…(none of this would have happened–why didn’t you come?)” I read it more as a statement of her grief rather than anger, an affirmation as in, I do believe in you, you would have healed him. But now, Jesus gave her an opportunity for a greater belief in Him–far greater than if he had “been” there–one that transcended the grave, as in “I will always be there because I AM.” And He is, even when we don’t feel like He is or He doesn’t perform His miracles the way we think He should. But you’re right. God allows us to express our anger and frustration. After all, He knows how He made us.
Thanks, SuZan. It’s nice to know another person who likes Martha.
A priceless perspective, Rebecca. And phrases like the following not a bit hyperbole. . .”half the governments of the world would be defunct”. Love it!
Thanks, Jerry. Appreciate the comment !
Love it! As a type A personality I relate! Great perspective.
Thanks, Susan – glad to know another Martha – lover !
The bathrooms would shine, the meal would be perfect, every part of the home would be ready for visitors, and I would be an anxious, weepy mess. I would be yelling my frustration. I am so glad that Martha received love, understanding, and a miracle.
Because of chronic illness I can no longer make the house shine or the meal be perfect. I do tell Jesus about my frustrations. And, he does draw near to love me.
I’m so glad Jesus is with you – even in the middle of chronic illness….loving you and singing over you.