Sunday, November 25, 2012

Run; don't walk

"for the glory of God"
John 11:4

Mary and Martha.  You probably know them well.

One is seen as a hard worker, laboring to serve Jesus and the others who were visiting.  The other is remembered for taking advantage of Jesus' presence in her house, by sitting at His feet and listening, while her sister bustled around her.

It's hard not to think about those two women, and not see ourselves as one of them.  Books have been written, and numerous discussions have been had ~ particularly among women ~ on the merits and struggles of those two personalities.

I think the two most famous accounts of Mary and Martha are the previously mentioned "Worship/Serve" controversy in Luke 10, and the account in John 11 of the death of Mary and Martha's brother, Lazarus. 

Lazarus was taken ill while Jesus was out of town, and when He heard the news, He waited before going to Bethany, where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived.  And while He tarried, Lazarus died.  A fact which did not come as a surprise to Jesus, but I'm sure caused Mary and Martha no small amount of grief.  

After Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days, when Mary and Martha heard that Jesus was nearby.   Verse 20 tells us that Martha went to meet Him, but Mary stayed sitting in the house.  What was she thinking?  Was she so distraught she didn't know what to do?  Was she angry with Jesus for not getting there in time to save Lazarus? 

Martha and Jesus had a beautiful conversation.  "If you had been there, he would not have died... but I know whatever You ask of God, He will give you," Martha said.  And when Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise again, she replied with faith, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 

No matter what we may think of her while she's running around, missing the opportunity to sit at Jesus' feet to learn, clearly her faith is strong.  Before, she was distracted, worried, and troubled.  Now, she is at peace.  Trusting. 

But where is Mary?  Sitting at home.  But we don't know why. 

After Martha's conversation with Jesus, verse 28 says "she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister."  But it's Martha's message to Mary that intrigues me the most in this story.  "The Teacher has come and is calling for you."

"The Teacher is calling for you."  What did those words mean to Mary?  Did they give her joy?  Were they a comfort to her in her grief, or did they bring her some anxiety, like she was about to be scolded. 

I gotta tell ya, I don't know, cuz I've never met Jesus face to face, but I can't imagine that I would feel apprehension at finding out He was calling for me.  So I hope she didn't. 

So what did He want? Why was He calling for her? 

She went to Him, and fell down at His feet, saying, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."  Same thing Martha had said.   They must have felt so neglected by Him, poor girls.

But then came the miracle.  Jesus went to the tomb, had them roll away the stone, and He called Lazarus out.  He raised Lazarus from death, and He didn't want Mary to miss that.  It wouldn't have been good enough for her to have her brother back.  The miracle was not the point, at least not for Mary; not in His mind.  He wanted her to see the miracle. 

The thought of that thrills my heart.  What joy to hear those words, to know He has something special for you!  You, personally!  You, especially!   What will you see?

The Teacher is calling.   Don't miss what He has for you.

~ "Come and see the works of God; 
He is awesome in His doing
toward the sons of men" ~
Psalm 66:5

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