I think the way Martha would have liked to be remembered was as a woman of bold faith and blessed service, who was able to leave the conventions of her old life and enter into the grace and freedom Jesus offers
I read a book a while ago called, Where Is God When Bad Things Happen? Written by Luis Palau. As you can imagine from the title, the author talks about the traumas and tragedies that you and I experience in life, and why God seems to allow them. Where was God? What was God doing? What is God doing? That’s what Martha and Mary were wondering in this story, and probably Jesus’s disciples, too.
Jesus received from Martha that night, and he received from Mary. Both worshiped in their ways, giving the Lord a rare blessing. In their working together, supporting each other, Martha and Mary’s love and honor to Jesus was multiplied.
Faced with the same evidence, some were moved to belief, and some were hardened in unbelief. And yet God’s purpose for Messiah still advanced. Even with free will, no person can alter God’s divine plan. As one commentator put it, Nothing people can do will thwart or alter the sovereign will of God, and nothing God does ever sets aside the free choice of people.
Faith involves doing hard things. And obedience to God reflects belief in God and God’s word. Martha would have to put her belief on the line in front of her sister, in front of all those religious dignitaries, in front of all their extended family and people who had come down from Jerusalem.
Each change is loss of what was as we move into what is, and face what it seems must be.
[In the Greek] Though Martha’s voice had leaned more heavily on the final catastrophe of death itself, Mary spoke from the devastation of personal betrayal, her voice leaning on the connection of her brother, the unspoken meaning clear: you said you loved me, and he was my brother.
Or are we living in active faith that Jesus is powerfully at work within our inward beings, transforming us, and is also at work in our physical world, bring shalom to all those around us, including the earth itself?
But there are dimensions to our problems that you and I cannot imagine, but which God sees clearly. When I pray, I can see God’s wisdom in a situation, that the Lord’s vision is much bigger than mine. Jesus can solve any problem, fix any mess, bring good out of any disaster, he is God. But Jesus will do it in a way that glorifies God and strengthens my faith.
Jesus had received a message from Mary and Marth of Bethany, Lazarus was gravely ill. But rather than come to them, Jesus sent word back that Lazarus’ illness was not to death but to God’s glory.