Martha – a disciple and believer

John 11

If we read the beginning of John 11:5 Martha is parallel to John: she is the also the disciple Jesus loved. She is the person we can thank for one of the important revelations Jesus is giving about himself. In the whole series of "I am…" there is also "I am the resurrection and the life" (11:25). God is revealing himself to the believing Martha.

Martha meets Jesus in the two delicate human moments: when he is coming as a guest to her house (Lk 10); and when her brother died.
When Martha was a diligent host for Jesus (Lk 10:38), she was the one to hear the double, divine calling by name like Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Paul... It is always a sign of conversion and mission that will mark the whole life. Martha is the one receiving the teaching about the one thing that is needed and about the good choice of her sister Mary (Lk 10:42).
The school was successful. Second time Martha is the one, not Mary, who hears and goes to meet Jesus first (John 11:20). She will be the one to deliver the call to her sister Mary (11:28), and she is successful in it. With her words Mary will now follow Martha in her faith that Jesus is with his presence stronger than death (11:32). This is how they are both different from those who keep the question open (11:37).

As in the first occasion Martha openly speaks her mind out before Jesus. There, she asked him about the sister, expecting help. Now she is also making a kind of objection. But in her words there is a faith that even now by the intercession of Jesus God can make new things.

Three new things she will learn from Jesus. First one is that her brother will rise again (11:23). As an answer Martha expresses very exact faith in the resurrection on the last day (11:24).
Second thing she learns is in the correction Jesus is giving to her: Resurrection is not only far away but it is here and now. Jesus is the resurrection and the life (11:25). His words he will confirm by his deed bringing Lazarus to life. The answer Martha gives elevates her to the same level with Peter. Before Jesus she gives testimony: "You are the Christ" (John 11:27), like Peter does it (Matt 16:18). They are the only two persons in the Gospels who are solemnly recognizing in front of the Lord that he is Christ.
Finally, the third teaching by Jesus is that her faith is important because the faith is making her able to see the glory of God (11:40).

For reflection:
What about my faith in the resurrection?
How do I learn from Jesus?
How do I bring others to Christ?

8 Aug 2011 Niko Bilić SJ