Even Now I Know: The Maturation of Martha

Five weeks in, it’s hard to believe we’re almost a quarter into the 21st century. Goodness, where does the time go?

Steadfastness perhaps? Fresh rhythms associated to the pursuit of happiness and meaning? A deep burn for growth, change, and momentum?

Whatever the case, no one is immune to these drives even if our gears are stuck in idle, or worse, broken entirely. I guess for me, I’m still trying to figure out what God has in store this year, not just for me and my family, but for the body at large.

Granted, I can speak to local developments as by now, you probably know Lys and I are expecting again. May the record forever show this new life is the quintessential divine surprise if at the least on account of shattered probability and intended outcome. Praise God He establishes our steps no matter how we chart our course, but dear Lord, please for the love of you, protect this life and keep our family safe in your arms.

As for recent revelations, they are trickling in. Some book fodder, others not so much. One idea for thought, and this may end up in our Juby Journey book to come, is the character arch of Martha as culminated in the death of Lazarus.

Now, I’m sure many of you have some recollection of Mary and Martha especially during their first encounter with Jesus (Luke 10:38-42), how Mary submitted herself like a rabbinic disciple, how Martha lost sight of her priorities as she elevated hospitality over host, etc.

And before I forget to say it, oh, how I can relate to Martha in this passage! Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m the kind of person who would want to eliminate distractions (and the potential variety) before the main event. Honestly, I get what Martha was doing. She just lost sight of what mattered…in the presence of Jesus. In the construct of contrast, Mary not only resonated with Christ’s desire for her to receive first, serve second but swiftly adapted to a reversal of cultural norm. Martha, still conditioned by peer expectations and her spiritual giftings, had a picture of the end game, as if she was working towards a postcard moment; however, Mary continually listened in profound posture. To her, Jesus was the distraction, the ultimate deep dish being served to her for such a time as this. By scene’s end, the opportunity for constructive criticism would take form.

Now, was the time for Martha to listen and receive her portion!

Fast-forward to John 11 and we see progression of Martha’s faith on display immediately after Lazarus passes away.

Starting in v. 20, we note Martha, not Mary, was the first to greet him. Though the rationale behind Mary’s stillness is debatable, what’s clear is Martha, in the midst of tremendous heartbreak, did not let her grief stop her from anticipating Jesus. In fact, in a way, you could say Martha pursued Jesus with trust dripping off the tongue.

“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give to You.”

Again, for all you Juby fans, these two sentences…they are worth a separate ‘selah’ and I promise you this will be expounded upon. For now, I can’t help but appreciate Martha’s maturation as revealed through her response to conviction. Even in a life versus death situation, Martha knew it wasn’t about an outcome but who God was and what He could do. What Martha missed in the small, she nailed in the big, not to mention she set Jesus up for one of his most memorable lines in v. 25:

“I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies; and everyone who lives and believes in Me [as Savior] will never die.”

All in all, this was a home-run moment for Martha in the sense she believed in Christ’s identity and purpose even as she wrestled with raw motion. Per v. 27:

β€œYes, Lord; I have believed and continue to believe that You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God, He who was [destined and promised] to come into the world [and it is for You that the world has waited].”

And finally, by v. 35, we come full circle. While Martha’s hope in the Son of God was confirmed, her emotion amidst transcending circumstances would help move the Son of Man to tears and even more notably, into a critical point of relatability. Just as you and me mourn, just as you and me process, so too can we identity to Jesus who knows what it’s like to be overcome by the very things He came to liberate us from. For in this world, we will be worried and bothered and anxious about many things but only one thing is necessary…and just like Mary and Martha in their respective victories, we can choose the good part which can never be taken away from us.


Cover photo creds: Redeeming God