Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John chapter 12)
In Jesus’ time, Bethany was a village where the poor and excluded lived – thus the name “Bethany” (Beit – aeAniae: which means “home of the poor”)
Martha was always busy, as she was taken up with “things”. She saw the needs of others and faithfully served them. While Martha was doing this, Mary was just sitting. She only saw Jesus and was singularly interested in what He was saying.
At the same time Lazarus, who was very sick, was dying. Here is represented a divine balance in our Christian experience, portrayed by two sisters and a brother. They are related, and are not to be separated. Therefore, we should be able to relate, in some measure, to all three.
Each member of this family functioned together and supplied their particular part. Martha served, while Mary waited.
When Martha criticized Mary, Jesus did not tell her to sit down and wait like Mary. Rather, He said, “Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40- 42).
Martha was to continue serving, because it is necessary, and an outworking of faith in action. But Mary too had her part to play, in the hospitality of listening.
The “household” in Bethany, which Jesus loved to visit, is resident within each one of us. The occupants, two sisters and a brother, are to fulfil their particular part and function within each aspect of our own spiritual life experience.
Therefore, we must allow each of these, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, to live out their particular part within us to the fullest, in order to bring us to the highest of our potential.
May we, as being a balanced spiritual adult, attract Jesus, as He seeks for a household to visit. Then, when He comes into our home, the “Martha” within us will enable us to serve those in need. As the “Mary” within us waits at His feet, Jesus will make Himself personally known to us. And, “Lazarus,” our model of friendship and close relationship with Jesus, who in His hands came to life in a way unimaginable. Wade Taylor and PHNC.
God our Father, whose Son enjoyed the love of his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, in learning, argument and hospitality: may we so rejoice in your love that the world may come to know the depths of your wisdom, the wonder of your compassion, and your power to bring life out of death; through the merits of Jesus Christ, our friend and brother, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
lavishing your love on our poverty of heart:
inspire us to give with generosity,
to love life so that we may find it again,
and thus the world will be filled
with the fragrance of your love;
through Jesus Christ, who offers himself for us. Amen