Life-Study of Martha: A Sister Wholly Saturated in Christ
August. Came and gone. September. Almost done. Does it feel like life is just moving too fast? Does it feel like there are not enough hours in the day? Does your head hurt from all the anxieties and stress of packing, moving, working, studying, and preparing? Well… you are not alone if you answered “yes” to all these questions. I am stressed. I am exhausted. If I listed out everything on my mind, we would be here a while. This probably explains why I have had more migraines these past two months than I have ever had in my previous 20 years of life. Yet currently I am the happiest I have ever been in my life (Prov 27:7). Which brings me here.
To be honest with you, I intended to write about how cameras are the perfect picture of vision, purpose, and expression today; however, the Lord has other plans. So… I am not sure how you ended up here on this article, nor am I sure why the Lord has me writing this currently, but I know my God has a purpose greater than any of us can see. I do not plan on taking up a lot of your time today but intend on just sharing a brief word. With that in mind, I hope you take a second to stop and breathe. Like seriously. Stop. Breathe in. Breathe out. All the saints around the earth and in heaven are praying for you and are with you (1 Cor 12:26). It does not matter if you feel it or not. God is working. There is no need for you to do anything except place everything into the worthy hands of your Lord. It is when we do this that we will experience true freedom.
Do you believe that?
Introduction to Topic
In my last article (linked here), I talked briefly on Martha in Luke 10:41; however, I feel very burdened to talk more concerning the life of Martha. Just from three brief passages in the Bible, we can find so much of Christ and the church! To preface, this article looks nothing like the last article. They are two distinctly different vessels, yet I believe both contain the Lord, which is all we are after. With that being said, I hope you gain much Life (that is Christ) through these words.
The first time we see Martha in the Bible, it is from these verses referenced last time from Luke 10:38–42. They read as follows:
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Often, we jump straight to Mary and want to be like Mary. But, oh how much Life we miss when we do this. By doing this we instantly overlook the fact that Martha welcomed Jesus into her home. How important this is though! If Martha did not know Jesus, the encounter in verses 40–42 would not have occurred! In fact, from John 11:5, we can see that not only did Martha know Jesus, but He was well-known to Martha and her family — so much so that He loved her and wept over Lazarus. Praise the Lord that we know love because He loved us first (1 John 3:16). The key word here is “first”, implying that there is a second love, which therefore must be our love toward Him! He loves us first, gives us a heart to know Him, and in turn we organically love Him and return with our whole hearts (Jer. 24:7)! Here, we see the mutual love between Jesus and Martha. When you love someone would you make them sleep on the street or send them somewhere else? No! You would invite them in and tell them “Make yourself at home”.
This is what Martha did. In the same way Martha invited Jesus into her home, we must turn daily and invite Him to make his home in our heart. We must pray “Lord, I turn to you! Jesus, come into my heart! I do not care if I feel you moving, I know that you are making your way in me and are filling me even as I speak. O Jehovah, let my heart be your place of rest, just as yours is mine.”
Proceeding to verse 40, we clearly see that Martha wanted to be a good hostess to the Lord. I mean, being honest, wouldn’t we all be rushing around in a frenzy to make sure the house looked spotless if THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE is dwelling there? Martha was doing a good thing by serving the Lord. This matter of serving others was from the Lord. He Himself was a servant (Phil 2:5–8 and Mark 10:45). Yet, Martha allowed this good thing that was from the Lord to ironically distract her from the Person who gave her this good thing. Instead, of focusing on Jesus, she began to focus on serving.
Brothers and sisters, how often we do the same thing. Oh how we are Martha! When we do this, we are no better than the pharisees. We must keep our eyes focused on Christ! Everything outside of Christ is vanity (Ecc. 2:11). It is hevel (a vapor). It is all done in vain and it is passing away. But when we serve abiding in Him, we have life and purpose (Col 1:16)! I pray that we may have an experience like this quote from Witness Lee:
“In my Christian dictionary there is not such a word as “evil” nor is there such a word as “good”. From the beginning to the end my Christian dictionary contains only one word — Christ. I understand neither good nor evil. I only want Christ!”
Let us not be concerned with doing good today. The matter of doing good is from Satan! When we find ourselves trying to do good we must tell Satan “NO! Depart from me Satan! I do not know good, I only know Christ!” It is when we only know Christ that our true worship (Greek for “service to the Lord”) begins!
After Martha becomes distracted with her work, she begins to make demands to the Lord (v. 40). Now before we start pointing fingers at Martha, let us all be honest and admit that we have done this before too (Prov. 19:3). We are Martha! Once Satan distracts us with doing “good”, we lose sight of the Lord and begin to drift and start demanding that Jesus fulfills our plans. However, when we begin demanding, we no longer see the Lord’s plan. But how troublesome this is as His plan was the same in Genesis, is the same now, and will be the same for all eternity (Gen 1:26–31, Rev 3:12, and Rev 21:2). His plans never change, and while the Lord does not enjoy watching His people suffer, sometimes suffering is necessary so we can be emptied of everything that is not from Him. Then when there is space in our hearts and our eyes are fixed back on Him, we can open wide, receive more of His dispensing, and wrought Christ into us (Psalm 81:10). So let us not make demands in our sufferings but let us fixate on Christ.
Praise the Lord He is the great physician who does not leave us in our demanding state (Mark 2:17, Psalm 103:3, & 1 Peter 2:24). Within seconds, Jesus was able to see through Martha’s demand/complaint and diagnose her (v. 41). He saw that she had other things stored up in her heart and was focused elsewhere. Instead of getting angry like most of us would have, He simply called her by her name. He reminded her of what is important. What is Reality. More accurately, Who is Reality. Who is her strength and portion forever (Lam. 3:24 & Psa. 73:26). Himself. After hearing these statements, she is able to rest in Peace (Him), during the rest of her service. We know this from the next time we see Martha.
Martha next appears in John 11 just after her brother Lazarus has died. In John 11:20 we see that as soon as she heard Jesus was coming, Martha goes! How encouraging this is! Before in Luke 10, Martha was so busy serving that she ignored the Sovereign, Almighty God, but now, conversely, she drops everything to go out and meet Him. This is the action of someone who is pure in heart desiring the Lord. This is someone who is a vessel full of the Lord, loving Him constantly!
To put this in context, John 11 verses 21–27 reads:
21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Wow. What tremendous faith Martha demonstrates here! While she is distraught that the Lord did not keep Lazarus alive, she firmly believes that He could have healed Lazarus, even now. Her faith was not diminished because Jesus arrived “late”, but itremained steadfast in the Lord. We see this clearly through her response in verse 27. This is a response that could only be issued out of faith and understanding of who Jesus is. An understanding that is enhanced further as she experiences the resurrection of her own brother, Lazarus. An understanding that she herself realizes that she is Lazarus! She was dead in the tomb and Jesus cried out “Martha, come forth”, and now she lives knowing that one day her flesh will go back in the tomb; however because she BELIEVES in Jesus, she very well knows that death is not the end for her. It is just the beginning!
Praise the Lord that HE IS Resurrection! Resurrection is not just a moment in time, but it is a Person (John 11:25)! Martha MUST have understood this in order to have had faith strong enough to speak her bold response to the Lord in verse 27! And as the Lord did not correct her, it indicates that she must have truly believed! What an intimate experience Martha must have had with resurrection Life and Power! And what an even more intimate experience we have today as Resurrection Life and Power dwells in us and we in Him (1 Cor 6:19 & Rom 8:2)! While Martha did not have the mingled spirit dwelling in her at the time in John 11, praise the Lord that we do have the mingled spirit dwelling in us today! Praise the Lord that every day we can turn to Him and He will re-life us immediately! Nothing more is needed from us.
The third and final time we find Martha she is serving again (John 12:2). Yet, we know from her actions and faith in John 11, her heart is totally different. It is concerned with only the Lord. John 12:1–7 reads as follows:
12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.
In verse 3, Mary anoints the Lord Jesus. I want to pause here and take a look at the whole situation. Again, our natural understanding of the story is that we should be like Mary and offer up everything we have to the Lord. While this is true, this actually limits the Lord. You see it was not just Mary who anointed the Lord. But considering this was Martha’s house, the amount of ointment used, and the cost of the ointment (a year’s worth of wages — Mark 14:5), I am sure that Martha and Lazarus not only watched Mary pour the ointment, but in fact played a role in supporting Mary’s desire to use the ointment for the anointing of the Lord. Martha, Lazarus, and Mary were one together. They all anointed the Lord together. What a picture of the church and the symphoneo (harmony) of the believers. Often, we want only to be like Mary, but oh how this is a mistake. We should not only want to be like Mary, but also Martha too! We should desire to be both those who (1) anoint the Lord and offer everything up to Him like Mary as well as (2) encourage and support the brothers and sisters around us who anoint and offer everything up to Him, thereby causing us to indirectly pour out everything onto Him like Martha.
Let us proceed to talking about the value of the ointment next. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus must have read Proverbs 27:9a “Oil and perfume make the heart glad”, as they understood that Christ Himself is the oil, ointment, and perfume (Eph. 5:1–2)! Because of the pouring of the ointment, “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (v. 3)! The house was saturated with the fragrance of perfume! The house was saturated with Christ! However, their understanding must have not stopped there in Proverbs, but they must have heard the word from Matthew 6:17, “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.” And not only did they hear it, but they understood that Jesus was their head! This is exactly what they are doing! Literally, anointing their head. While this may seem like a waste to some of us, it was in fact a sign of understanding who Christ is. It was not a waste to pour the oil on Him, but in reality it was the most logical thing they could do!
Martha as the Church
In this same way, we must be fully saturated with the Lord ourselves. How do we do this you may ask? It is simply by turning our eyes to Jesus. It is not about changing our actions or other outward things, but it is simply just genuinely seeking to see the Lord (Matt. 6:6). That is it. I repeat he does not want us to do anything more than simply to rest in what He has already done. Whenever we are struggling or whenever we are thriving, praise the Lord that the best way to deal with it is Christ. The best way to deal with everything is Christ. When I say that Christ is the best way to deal with everything, that is not to dismiss your problem. When the Lord says set your mind on the spirit and you will have Life and Peace (Rom 8:6), he doesn’t mean your issues suddenly become resolved. He just means that when we look to Him in the midst of everything going on around us and truly allow Him to fully saturate us, then He will deliver us. He will provide. He will make a way. He is enough. So, the situation may suck, but praise the Lord for an amazing opportunity to turn our mind to Him and to let Him fill us up! What an opportunity to allow God to spread throughout our being. From our spirit, (where He, the source, resides) to our soul (nailing our outer man to the cross, transforming, and renewing our mind) to our body (shining Him forth), we are wholly saturated with the Lord Jesus Christ. He flows into us and fills every ounce of space within us, causing everything that is not from Him to be emptied out and replaced by Himself as the living water! What better thing is there than this? It is when we are fully saturated with the worthy One, Jesus, that we will become buildable and be molded with the other believers into the New Jerusalem. Being wholly saturated is not just for our well-being, but it is for the Lord’s Eternal Purpose! It is for the building and the beautifying of His bride, the church.
Do you believe this?
I pray that you do, because Martha did.
So saints, let us be like Martha and be fully saturated with the Lord, simply by resting in Him.
Peace and grace be with you all.
References and Further Enjoyment:
- The Holy Bible Recovery Version w/ footnotes
- Who was Martha: Who was Martha in the Bible? | GotQuestions.org
- Witness Lee, Life-Study of John Message 23
- Hymn, God is Spreading in My Being: https://soundcloud.com/user-706981176-732981643/god-is-spreading-in-my-being?si=f75154814c0a45a9b731d96d3283ee2f&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing