Watering this seed:
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”
Watching from the outside and Wondering from my insides:
Martha often gets a bad rap – the busy one, the indignant sibling, the hostess with the un-mostest. But in this instance, Martha shows us a glimpse of her heart. She hears Jesus is coming – he’s not even there yet-
… and she goes out to meet him.
Martha doesn’t stay in the her house and the comfort of well-meaning mourners. She doesn’t let herself sink into her doubt, or get caught in her confusion or flounder in her grief. She doesn’t drag her feet, or pass go, or collect $200 … Martha goes directly to Jesus.
There, she hands him her confusion.
There, she lays bare her hurt and the burning offense that she feels.
There, she declares what she is trying so hard to believe.
And in her quest she hears His voice – stopping her, probing her, telling her Truth too wonderful to believe… and yet she must be thinking, “Isn’t it for this that I’m here?”
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
She hears His voice confronting her fear, yet comforting her grief. She feels His voice causing her to rise up in all the faith that her little mustard seed can muster. . .
“Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is come into the world.”
Whether or not her heart agrees with her words yet.
Whether or not her faith wavers with every syllable.
Whether or not her spirit is bound up in the trappings of duty or misplaced hope…
Martha finds Faith waiting for her in the answer.
And Jesus knows… He always does. He knows Martha needs to hear herself say, “I believe.” He knows she needs the reassurance of hearing her mouth utter Truth to a grieving, wavering heart. He knows she needs this one on one with the only One who could possibly know all that is needed to know- the Author and Finisher of her faith.
And in this exchange of creation talking with Creator, Martha lays open her heart (in that Martha way of hers), and Jesus gives Hope and Purpose (in that Jesus way of His),
… and He leads her on beyond herself:
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.
After she had said this.
We don’t know if Jesus really asked for Mary or not. The text doesn’t say that He did. And I don’t know what was really in Martha’s heart or how it played out. But what I do know is she went back ready to serve. She went back with purpose. She went back – after. she. declared. Truth – ready and willing, or maybe just finally able, to bring Hope to someone she knew He loved:
“The Teacher, your healer, is here. He wants to see you.”
Waiting for His fruit:
Lord, I have so many more thoughts about this story. All the baggage there must have been in Martha’s heart. All the years of seeing her sister caked in the mud of shame. All the years of heartache and conflicted and unresolved feelings that can swarm around family relationships. But Lord, in this story I see you once again loving us simply where we’re at… loving us into the More of who you’ve made us to be.
Help me always to run out to meet you in all the Right-Now-ness of who I am.
Watering All these Seeds Today: Prov 11; ps 11, 111, 81; Jeremiah 5-6; John 10 – 12