October 26, 2006

Jesus and Martha

Luke 10:38-42; John 11:17-27

"You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed." Luke 10:41-42


Jesus often visited the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany. As we can see, Martha was a gracious hostess. She poured lots of energy into making her home hospitable to her guests. She complained, though, when Mary was listening to Jesus rather than helping her. But Jesus gently calmed her, explaining that serving him didn't mean a person should have no time available to learn from him.

On another occasion Martha went out to meet Jesus as he came to visit a few days after Lazarus had died. Her words mingled hurt and disappointment. "Lord," she said, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died." If only, if only--these words often spring from hearts and minds stunned and grieving.

Jesus' response to Martha is often read at Christian funerals around the world: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" "Yes, Lord," Martha said. "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

Jesus loved Martha. Sometimes she overdid her busyness, but she had a tender, trusting heart. Jesus spoke to Martha words of great comfort and hope that believers can still treasure today.

Lord, you love us, and we love you. Teach us the right balance between worship and service, listening and working. Forgive us when we stumble. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Roger S. Greenway

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