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.
In this twenty minute talk, we’ll first follow Mary through the years she was a student and supporter of Jesus, then we will spend most of our time in the Garden with Mary at Christ’s empty tomb, and end with a deeper understanding of ourselves as members of the Body of Christ.
After John's chiasm come seven vignettes that describe the crucifixion of Christ. This is the segue.
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.
It is God Who creates new life within you and me, Jesus calls us by name and brings us out of death and into new life. Then God calls others to come help us unwind the old life from ourselves, all the things that had bound us in death.
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.
What God does is always a reflection of God’s character and in keeping with God’s glory, and all this is displayed in the lives of every believer. Those who believe God see God’s glory in everyday circumstances.