ABC Bible Character Faith Series

Confidence in Jesus

Lessons from Martha and Mary

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask” – John 11:21-22

In John 11, a passage famously known for the resurrection of Lazarus, we read of two sisters, Mary and Martha. The two were sisters to Lazarus and when he was ill, they sent word to Jesus telling Him, “He whom you love is ill”. We are told that when Jesus received the news, He tarried two days longer and yet the same passage reaffirms how Jesus loved Martha and Mary. Jesus too, informed the disciples that Lazarus’ sickness was not to end in death but it was for the glory of God, so together with the other people in the village, they might believe.

The death of Lazarus reveals to us the faith Martha and Mary had in Jesus despite Him being “late” to the situation. When they sent word to Jesus about Lazarus, they did not ask for Jesus to turn up promptly to heal their brother. Martha only said, “He whom you love is ill” and this message wasn’t responded to immediately by Jesus.

By the time Jesus reached Bethany where the two sisters were, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. It seems like all hope had been lost but interestingly, when Martha had of His arrival, She went to meet Him while Mary stayed in the house where the two were being consoled by their village mates. Upon meeting Jesus, Martha said to Him, “Lord if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask” – John 11:21-22. Martha had not lost confidence in Jesus even amidst her grief and sorrow.

Further in the passage, Martha declares her belief in the Messiah. She said, “Yes Lord; I believe that you are Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” – John 11:27. Martha called for her sister, Mary who when she came, fell at the feet of Jesus weeping. Moved by compassion, Jesus made His way to the tomb and resurrected Lazarus. There are plenty of faith lessons we can learn from the two sisters amidst this tough time.

We are to never lose confidence in Jesus and what He can do. Martha and Mary were sure that Jesus loved them no matter what would’ve happened to Lazarus. This is the same surety we need to have. Trials do not mean that Jesus has forsaken us. He still loves us and longs to relieve us of pain and therefore, we need to stand firm and not lose our confidence in Him.

Many times we’re harsh on Martha when we read the passage of her serving Jesus while Mary is at His feet. Jesus said Mary chose the good portion that cannot be taken away because she chose to spend time with Jesus and learn from Him. We are called to do so too. We see that in the kingdom business, there’s a place for the Marthas among us but first, we need to receive from the Lord. Once our cups are filled, we will be able to serve. We need to be like the two sisters, spending time in sincere prayer and communion with God and ever working for the Lord. This is the only way we shall fulfil the duty of our calling.

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