JESUS AND PEOPLE
Taught yesterday on this theme in one of my favorite studies, the relationship of Jesus with a family he hung out with quite a lot....two sisters and their brother who lived in Bethany, a few miles straight east from Jerusalem.
You can go further than I will here by looking up the passages and reading closely and perhaps even digging out a study bible or commentary.
The passages: Luke 10:38-42, John 11:1-4, 6-44, 12:1-11 - lots of verses but a fascinating read.
Yesterday, I read the passages with comments (often with laughter) as we got to know these three people so much better:
the take-charge, no-nonsence person who has the gift of hospitality (and fretting along with it)- who deals with relationships rather indirectly (going to Jesus when she should have gone to Mary). Martha has a strong but non-emotive faith...her statement of faith as she sorts what will happen with Lazarus is a classic of strong belief. The mourners don't gather to her, but to her sister. She is first off the blocks...and has great natural leadership gifts. She makes the house tick. (Watch too how Luke and John list whose house it is...remembering that it actually all three of theirs.) Note the "Martha, Martha" - do you find yourself doing that with certain kinds of people too?
the contemplative, emotive, deeper-life kind of person (that leads to a lot of "sitting?":)...and often frustrations in the home. The mourners come to comfort "her" - while Martha tries once again to take care of the situation. Mary, when she finally gets up and comes to Jesus in the scene of Lazarus graveside, throws herself down before Jesus and their interaction is very strong. "Jesus wept." is in the text. What a phenomenal insight into Jesus' nature this is. (Selah.)
that he didn't make it into the first scene, though he lives there - becomes a standard. He says nothing. He finally makes the picture by getting sick. Jesus is called his friend. And he comes forth bound hand and foot...by one of the most incredible miraculous acts of Jesus. He had been in the tomb for four days. (Be sure to read the text and you will be laughing when Martha tries to keep everything proper.) But Lazarus prefigures Jesus and his witness is so strong for Jesus that He reaches almost unparalleled places in witness - see John 12:10.
And now the incredible good news from a verse that leaps to life, when the above is understood more clearly: John 11:5 - "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."
John names Martha first...and not even "Mary" - is he trying to help us see more clearly that it isn't just the super-spiritual that He loves? Is he bringing a needed balance to us? Yes, I think so.
He names Lazarus - the quiet, to himself kind of guy. He doesn't have to talk, to find himself talked about by God!
AND He includes Mary, of course.
And He loves them all...unique that they are, contributing or not - as they are...
Too often I find myself developing a model in my mind and measuring myself, and others by that model. Up for this one. Down for this one.
And meanwhile, in this text, I see a huddle, with Jesus arm-around us all drawing us close by His love and grace.
He loves us...and is making us into the unique and only servants of God we can be.
Rejoice in who you are today.
Walk close...to Jesus and others.
We need each other.
No need to be careful not to waste energy and time on envy.
We are all called to the Kingdom for such a time as this.