Let’s continue with verses 21 through 24. In there we see more about Martha’s nature. Her words kind of remind me of that whiny tone she used when she demanded that Jesus would make Mary get off her lazy behind and get to work. “Lord…if you had been here, my brother would not have died…” In her grieve, Martha exhibits a very common reaction to loss: anger. I know that might be a stretch, but don’t you think that Martha’s words express a bit of reproach? Losing someone dear causes us to question God’s decisions and timing, doesn’t it? Well, it does to me. Martha is just being human…a perfectly, imperfect human female.
I remember when my Father passed away. I knew it was going to happen eventually. When it actually happened, however, I could not help to react in anger. I have to tell you that, even though anger is part of my life… I was surprised at my reaction. I had been praying for the Lord to have mercy on my Dad and not to let him suffer a long agony. When I got that phone call, though…I could not believe that God had taken him away. I was very confused about my feelings. But I guess, feelings are supposed to be confusing.
Back to the passage, we see Martha’s humanity and frailty. However, we also see her faith: “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Her distress does not mean lack of faith. She believes! She knows everything is possible with God! She senses the power of Christ. Her heart is in the right place, even if her mouth and feelings get away from her once in a while.
I made peace with God after my Father’s passing too. It wasn’t as if I had lost my faith. My faith was intact. I was grieving.
Jesus knows that. And He grieves with us. Here, Jesus shows an incredible amount of compassion:
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
He comforts her and He gives her hope to hang on to.
Our dear Martha’s reply, however, does not sound as if she is taking the Lord at His word 100%:
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
This exchange shows us more of Martha’s humanity. She sort of goes back to her default “Sunday-School” reply that she has learned in her years of studying the law. But that is exactly where Jesus meets her!
In the coming days we will continue to dig into this passage to discover how we don’t have to be completely transformed for Jesus to reveal Himself to us or for Him to do great things through our deeply flawed selves.