Have you ever gone through the same events with someone, but had a totally different experience? I was talking with a friend about one of our middle school teachers and she thought he was a total jerk. Her recollections about him revolved around his sarcasm, disdain and dismissive behaviors. For me, this same teacher wasn’t such a horrible guy. I remember him being kind of sarcastic, but more so, I remember having some really vigorous and engaging conversations about the Bible, theology, values and religious practices. To this day, my friend has a bad taste in her mouth about this teacher. In contrast, I’m grateful for him because I really dug into the Bible to have a more grounded idea of what I believed, rather than living on someone else’s opinions or coattails.
I’m bringing the contrasting experiences with the same event to your attention because I’ll be doing a few blogs in the next couple of weeks related to this idea. I’m doing this, as I hope to help you to see Jesus in some new perspectives and develop some appreciation for the various ways and experiences in which He connects with us. To do this, we’re going to look at an interesting family in Jesus’ day, one who lived pretty close to Jerusalem and with whom Jesus had a particularly close relationship and deep interactions. In the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at Martha, Mary and Lazarus who were all siblings in the same family and extremely unique.
Being unique seems to be a defining characteristic of being siblings in the same family and that axiom holds true for Martha, Mary and Lazarus. If you have siblings, it’s likely that each of you have different outlooks and recollections from your upbringing. I think lots of the differences with our siblings come from some internal hardwiring and original design. For example, in their initial interactions with Jesus, found at the end of Luke 10, Martha and Mary had drastically different experiences. In this blog, we’ll look at Martha and consider some helpful takeaways.
In the initial interaction with Jesus, Martha was busy and “distracted” with the meal prep and being a hostess for Jesus, as we read in Luke 10:42. The next interaction where we see Martha engaging with Jesus is in John 11, after her brother Lazarus has died. In this conversation between Jesus and Martha, they have some interesting and curious dialogue about resurrection, faith, Martha’s brother and the contrast between “now” and eternity. In the final interaction with Jesus—we can see what that looks like in John 12—Martha is, again, hosting Jesus for dinner at her house.
In these various experiences and interactions related to Martha and Jesus, I’d like you to consider that Martha stayed true to her design. But she also was open to the possibility that Jesus could help her to see the world and life in some new ways. A good example of this is the dialogue with Jesus about resurrection in John 11. Their conversation revolved around Jesus revealing to Martha the reality that He is the resurrection and the life. This was something entirely new to Martha and she chose to believe in Jesus, even though she maybe didn’t fully understand what He was saying at that time. Consequent to their conversation, it’s pretty astounding to recognize that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.
So, I’d like to suggest that if you’re Type A—a high achiever, essential outcomes and highest productivity type of person (maybe similar to Martha)—Jesus is keenly interested in having some engaging and illuminating conversations with you. If you’re not the Type A person and maybe you’re more laid back, possibly more reflective, creative, emotional, etc., Jesus is equally interested to have engaging and illuminating conversations with you. Your personality and your productivity are not fundamental qualifiers for you to have robust and even transformational conversations with Jesus.
If you identify with Martha the most among these siblings, be really certain and clear that Jesus wants to have some incredible conversations with you. I believe that Jesus looks forward to chatting with you throughout the adventures and struggles over the course of your life!