Martha: woman of keen perception

June 28, 2013 admin

Martha“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world” (John 11:27).

I don’t think there is a family in the gospel account – except for the family of Jesus – whose members were as active in the historical narrative as that of Lazarus and his 2 sisters.

Lazarus was famous among the early believers – and infamous among the Jewish leaders – because Jesus had raised him from the dead again providing irrefutable proof that He was sent from God. But Lazarus only appears in John’s gospel, only in 2 chapters – and he is never recorded as saying a single word.

His sisters, Mary and Martha, appear in 2 of the 4 gospels and are both active participants in memorable – and instructive – incidents.

Martha is sometimes caricatured as one who lacked spiritual devotion, too busy in her frenetic pace to understand, to appreciate the simplicity of worship and devotion to the Lord Jesus. (“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” Luke 10:40).

The three siblings lived together, and the death of Lazarus was an experience of deep grief for his sisters. In that intense period of mourning, with the dreaded ache of loss so immediate, Martha engaged in her most insightful exchange with the Saviour, weeks before His crucifixion.

After her mild rebuke (“if You had been here, my brother would not have died”), Jesus responded, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:21,25-26).

What next came out of Martha’s mouth is maybe the most compelling, discerning concept any Christ-follower is recorded as recognizing in the gospel accounts because Martha articulated eternal truth in a way that doesn’t yet appear to have been clear to any other disciple:

  • that Jesus was the Christ, the long-awaited Hebrew Messiah, bringing together the Old Testament strands as Yahweh’s special embodiment of Prophet, Priest and King.
  • additionally, He was the Son of God in a unique, exceptional way that linked Jesus intimately to His Father, the Lord of Israel.

Takeaway: Lord, I long to be discerning about spiritual and eternal matters, to have a greater capacity to know the Lord Jesus, and to worship You with my understanding and my mind.