As we approach Easter Sunday, what can we learn from Jesus' friendship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus?
The Bible gives us three stories about a particular family. Two sisters, Martha and Mary; and their brother, Lazarus. The three of them seemed to have a good deal of friends. Jesus was one of their best friends.
Learning from Jesus
You can find the first story in Luke’s Gospel (Chapter 10, verses 38 - 42). Although it's very short, it gives us some clues about that family; about their hospitality and their generosity. And it illustrates a very important point: we all have very important things to do, but our priorities should always include spending time with Jesus.
Trusting in Jesus
You can find the second story in John’s Gospel (Chapter 11). Things had taken a very bad turn for this otherwise happy family. Their beloved brother had passed away. A little while later, Jesus showed up. But why not sooner? Why did he wait so long?
Although they didn’t fully understand him, Martha and Mary knew that Jesus was extraordinary; they knew about his miracles. If only he had come sooner, their brother could have been healed. He didn’t have to die!
Some things to watch for and think about when reading the story:
The way the roles shift between the two sisters as compared to the first story.
The deep sadness the two sisters were struggling with.
Jesus’ timing compared to everyone else’s.
Jesus’ very famous words: “I am the resurrection and the life.”
Giving back to Jesus
The third story occurred eight days before Easter. You can find it in John’s Gospel (Chapter 12, verses 1-9), with additional detail in Mark’s Gospel (Chapter 14, verses 3-9). This family loved Jesus and wanted to show it, but Mary really stands out. While it was a different time, and a different culture, her great love for Jesus could not have been more clearly, nor more beautifully demonstrated.
Are you ready to reach out to God? Here's a simple prayer to start with.
Dear Father, thank you for these stories. Thank you for sending Jesus to offer me life and hope. Thank you for Jesus’ hopeful message, when he said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Please guide my thoughts as I reflect on these stories. Help me find life and hope in Jesus. Help me to learn from Jesus. Help me to trust in Jesus. Help me to give back to Jesus. Help me better understand who Jesus is. And help me to avoid distraction from the things that Jesus wants me to learn. Amen