Biblical Women - Martha

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Martha : 

Martha The sister of Mary and Lazarus whose home was in Bethany, just two miles from Jerusalem Copyrighted material that appears in this article is included under the provisions of the Fair Use Clause of the National Copyright Act, which allows limited reproduction of copyrighted materials for educational and religious use when no financial charge is made for viewing.

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Martha’s story is told briefly in Luke 10:38-42. Jesus enters her house in Bethany for a meal. She is very busy putting it together while her sister Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to his teaching. Naturally she was put out so she complained to Jesus. But Jesus told her that Mary had chosen the better part and it will not be taken away from her.

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Isn’t it wonderful that she felt so comfortable around Jesus that she was able to speak so frankly? Martha was a very competent woman able handle all the household chores and prepare a meal for a group on her own. It would seem that she was being punished for her competence, not so. Jesus was pointing out the teachings of the Father was the most important pursuit at the moment. This might have been the first time that she came to realized that Jesus was more important than her earthly cares. How many times does the hostess busy herself with details as Martha did and not have time to enjoy the guests she is attempting to serve. Her sister Mary had seen that time spent with Jesus would produce something of a lasting importance.

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We find out a good deal more about Martha in the Gospel of John when her brother Lazarus was on the verge of death. When we have a relative close to death we do as Mary and Martha did, we turn to Jesus and ask for His help in forestalling, putting off, a death which will eventually come. Not wanting to leave their brother’s side they sent their prayers and petitions to Jesus by messenger. Just like Martha our prayers aren’t answered the moment we speak them. Jesus came to them two days later after he knew that Lazarus was dead. You might think this to be an uncaring attitude on the part of Jesus and Martha would have agreed with you. She went out to meet Jesus and give Him a piece of her mind.

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If you had been here Lazarus would not have died. Yes, it is an accusatory statement but it is also a profession of faith. She goes on to strengthen her profession of faith by saying “whatever you ask of God he will give you.” Jesus tells her that Lazarus will rise and she says, “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.” Talk about maternal instincts, Martha has them. She won’t quit, her job is to protect and serve. In essence she tells Jesus He should feel guilty because Lazarus is dead because she knows if He were there her brother would still be alive. Then in her last ditch effort to save Lazarus she says God will give you whatever you want so free yourself of guilt and save my brother.

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You might not agree with her methods but what mother among you would not fight with the last ounce of your being to save your child, or in this case, your brother from death? Martha was a pragmatist, she was practical, saw a problem not as insurmountable but as a challenge.

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