Mary, Martha, and Jesus


Thank you for joining us for Encounters with Jesus. Each week, we will hear a story from the Bible told from the perspective someone who encountered Jesus firsthand. If you would like to learn more about these charcters and their stories, you can read about it in the Bible. See: John 11:1–46.





Martha: Lazarus is our brother. IS… not WAS, and that’s important to remember because a miracle is the only reason he’s still here.

Mary: Well, a miracle, yes, but the real reason is Jesus. Jesus is why he’s still here. Wonderful miracle worker, Jesus.

Martha: Yes, Mary, you’re right. He works miracles, though perhaps not as timely as I would like. I mean, as soon as our Lazzie got sick, remember how we sent word to Jesus, assuming he’d come immediately? I wore out the floor between Lazzie, being at death’s door, and the front door, expecting Jesus!

Mary: Oh, I remember! You couldn’t sit still… and I couldn’t leave our brother’s side. I just sat there, holding his hand, telling him everything would be fine, that Jesus would come soon, that he’d be ok…

Martha: … Until he wasn’t. We were devastated by his death. So many people came to grieve with us, but we wanted… no, we needed, Jesus.

In fact, as soon as I heard he was close, I was out the door. I couldn’t wait another second. It had already been four long, painful days. I didn’t waste words, either. Didn’t even say hello. I just blurted out, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” I wanted him to know I was so disappointed he didn’t come sooner, but that I still trusted him, despite my disappointment.

Mary: Remember what he said to you, “Your brother will rise again”?

Martha: Yes of course! I was like, yes, I know Jesus, but I’m not talking about at the end of time—I’m talking about the fact that he didn’t have to die four days ago if you’d come sooner.

Mary: So many times we just don’t understand what Jesus means when he says stuff.

Martha: I know! So he tries again, saying, “You don’t have to wait for the end. I am, right now, resurrection and life. The one who believes in me, even though they die, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”

And I was like, “Yes, I believe you’re the messiah, the Son of God.” But I still had no idea he was going to prove it by raising our Lazzie!

I understood Jesus could, but not that he would

Mary: Right… and then Jesus asked you to get me, and I left so quickly everyone assumed I was running to grieve at Lazarus’s tomb. They were wrong—I wasn’t running to death, I was running to life! And when I saw Jesus, I cried and cried. I just knew had he been here, Lazarus would not have died!

Martha: We were all crying—everyone loved Lazarus. Jesus loved our brother.

Mary: Yes… and remember when we arrived at Lazarus’s tomb? Jesus’s eyes were so sad… his face wore the grief we all felt. And I’ll never forget how Jesus wept—he wept with us. His tears were such a comfort to me.

Martha: And yet, at the same time, I remember it was almost like there was an undercurrent of anger in him, as if he were angry with death itself. And then he told us to remove the stone. I reminded him four days had passed. He just looked me in the eyes and asked, “Didn’t I tell you you would see the glory of God?” What could I say? It didn’t matter, he was already addressing the others, saying, “Remove the stone.”

And they did… and we all braced ourselves for the stench…

Mary: But Jesus prayed—he said, “Father, thank you that you hear me. I know you always hear me, but I say this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe you sent me.” And he cried out, “Lazarus, come out!” There was such authority in his voice!

Martha: And Lazarus came out! I was… astonished. I was… speechless. There was no stench, only the glorious sight of our dead brother… now alive! He was wrapped in burial cloths he no longer needed! Jesus asked us to remove his grave clothes…

Mary: Because Jesus, who is, right now, the resurrection and life, had commanded life from death, and our brother, who was dead, is now alive!

Martha: It reminds me of what Hosea the prophet wrote about how only God has the power to redeem souls from the power of death…

I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues!
O Grave, I will be your destruction!
- Hosea 13:14, NIV

Mary: Amen, sister. Now, let’s go bother our brother!

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