Mary and Martha - Sisters In Waiting Every time that God leads me to read the account of how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, I never fail to have a new truth from His Word revealed to me. In John 11, I read again today of the way in which God's glory is manifested through the physical resurrection of Lazarus. Let me provide the backdrop for you: Jesus had been informed through His Disciples that Lazarus, a friend to Jesus, was very sick and in need of healing. Now, the disciples had witnessed Jesus heal many of those physically afflicted with various diseases. So, it stands to reason that the Disciples would have believed that AS SOON as they told Jesus of His FRIEND'S dire straits that Jesus would have promptly begun the journey to Bethany. Yet, Jesus did not immediately go to Bethany. He assured His Disciples, "The sickness is not unto death." Given that they knew Jesus to be a Man of His Word, the disciples surely believed Him. I mean, I know I would have. I would have staked my OWN life on the knowledge that Lazarus would not die from his illness. There outside Judea Jesus remained, for another two days past when His Disciples let Him know about Lazarus, and of the desires of Mary and Martha for Him to go to Bethany. Yet, I read again something that made me go, "HUH?" John 11:5-6, "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was." The word "so" begins verse six of the chapter. The Amplified Bible says it like this, "Therefore [even] when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He still stayed two days longer in the same place where He was." Jesus stayed where He was BECAUSE Lazarus was sick. He did not begin to journey to Bethany UNTIL Lazarus was already dead. And all this while, Mary and Martha are waiting. Their beloved brother, whom Jesus loves, is on his deathbed. They sent word, I'm sure, to Jesus, believing that He'd immediately come to Bethany. What do you think Mary and Martha were thinking when DAYS went by, and Jesus still did not come? When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been entombed FOUR DAYS! FOUR DAYS! Mary and Martha, waiting, four days PAST the death of their beloved brother. What happened when Martha found Jesus right outside Bethany? Martha said to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." Glory Hallelujah! Even the death of her brother didn't faze Martha's faith in God and His Son! Jesus' response to Martha caused her to go and let Mary know that Jesus was finally in Bethany. He told Martha that HE IS THE RESURRECTION. Man, that would've caused my feet to fly too! Mary, followed by a contingent of mourning Jews, found Jesus right outside the town, right where Martha had found Him. Jesus had journeyed no further. What Mary must have thought as she left Bethany to go to Jesus! What did Mary say to Jesus when she finally reached Him? Mary said, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!" Now, the stage is finally properly set. I am referring to this as a stage because God has put things in the order for MAXIMUM impact. Trust me. At this point, within the contingent of Jews is a portion of what I'll call "murmurers" who are saying, "Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?" They cannot see in their own blindness just HOW GREAT the miracle of resurrection really is. So, Jesus shows them. Mary and Martha, obedient in their waiting, true in their faith, trusting in their Lord, witnessed God's magnificent glory in the physical resurrection of their brother. The scoffers, or murmurers as I said above, were SHOWN the omnipotent POWER of Almighty God through the miracle of Lazarus' being raised from the dead. Praise Father God and His Son for the POWER of His Resurrection. Where the physical resurrection of Lazarus showed those scoffers just how Great is His Power, the resurrection of our souls from the death of sin is a much greater example of God's Love and Unending Mercy. So, Mary and Martha waited for Jesus. God waits for us. He waits for His Creation to recognize His Glory so that He may save us. What are we waiting for? Go out and spread the Good News today! YSIC, Virginia
Ah yes, one of the truly amazing records in the Gospels.
There are many different great things to learn from this record, and of course the POWER of God as evidenced in the raising of Lazarus from the dead is the greatest!
It has often been taught that the reason Jesus waited was in order to demonstrate the power of God. I don't know if I like that explanation for Jesus healing Lazarus would have done the same. I think he waited because the prevailing opinion was that if he came Lazarus would be healed because he was Jesus friend.
Now, Jesus cannot just heal those he is cozy with. He must be, and is ready and willing to heal, bless and if need be, raise from the dead anyone who loves Him and believes in Him. He cannot be a respecter of people.
Everyone, the murmurers especially, knew how close Jesus was to Mary, Martha and Lazarus and they all assumed He would do for any one of them things He would not do for the common Jew. Oh how confused they must have been when He didn't even show up for all those days. I just love how the Lord loves to baffle those who do know Him.
You are oh so right about the faith manifested by Martha and Mary. They shoved aside their personal hurt feelings and trusted in Jesus for they knew by experience His power. They were not disappointed.
Thanks for the excellent post.
Waiting four days was significant. In that part of the world you definitely did not want to delay burial. Decomposition would happen very rapidly. Think about it. People could make all sorts of excuses if Lazarus would have been healed or even if Jesus would have arrived at the point of his death. Surely someone would have claimed he was about to recover, he must not have really been dead, etc.
We're talking about [i]four[/i] days. Decomposition was already rapidly taking place. If you've ever come upon something which recently died, you know exactly what I mean. Opening up that tomb must have been awful! Lazarus was dead, dead, dead! Life was gone until Jesus commanded that there be life.
Excellent blog, Happy!
Oh, for the faith of Mary and Martha! I dare not presume for even one second that I would not have been thinking under my breath, Lord, why did you wait? I don't understand why you waited. He's dead and you didn't care to come to save him! Why, oh, why, didn't you come in time? Yet there's no hint of accusation in their tone or in their words.
I hope I remember this the next time it seems as though the Lord is silent in my life.