Marta and Mary were two sisters who were friends of Jesus. They had a brother named Lazarus and the three of them hosted Jesus at his home a few times. Jesus loved this family.
Martha and Mary lived together in Bethany, a town near Jerusalem. When Jesus went to Jerusalem, he would sometimes pass through Bethany and visit the sisters and Lazarus. They were more than followers of Jesus; they were her friends ( John 11: 5 ).
Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary
One day, Martha and Mary received Jesus into their home. While Martha took care of all the guests ‘care, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to his teaching. Marta was annoyed with Maria and complained. She wanted her sister’s help with the job ( Luke 10: 39-40 ).
But Jesus did not make Mary help her sister. He explained to Marta that there was no need to worry about so many things. Mary had chosen well in giving priority to Jesus ( Luke 10: 41-42 ). It was much more important to hear Jesus’ teaching than to take care of the household!
Jesus resurrects Lazarus
On another occasion, near the end of his ministry, Jesus received the news that Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, was very ill. They called Jesus to heal their brother but he was not ( John 11: 3-4 ). Only a few days later, when Lazarus was dead, did Jesus go to Bethany.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she ran to him and told him that he could have prevented his brother from dying. In her conversation with Jesus, Martha declared her faith that he was the Son of God and Jesus explained to her about the resurrection and eternal life ( John 11: 24-27 ).
Afterwards, Martha went to call Mary, who came to Jesus and also told him that he could have prevented Lazarus’ death ( John 11: 32-33 ). She took Jesus to the tomb and Jesus was moved and wept. So he prayed and sent Lazarus out of the tomb. And Lazarus is risen!
See the full story of Lazarus here.
Mary anoints Jesus
The day before his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, in the last week of his life, Jesus went to dinner with Martha, Mary and Lazarus. While Martha served at the table, Mary took a jar of very expensive perfume and poured it over Jesus’ feet. Then she wiped his feet with her hair ( John 12: 2-3 ).
Judas was scandalized by the waste of something so expensive, but Jesus defended Mary. She was symbolically preparing Jesus for his burial ( John 12: 7-8 ). It was customary to anoint the dead with perfume when they were buried. This was an act of devotion on the part of Maria.
What can we learn from Marta and Maria?
The Bible does not tell us much about Martha and Mary but shows us that they were good friends for Jesus. His home was always open to him and his disciples. They enjoyed their company very much.
But Jesus was not concerned with what they had to offer. He wanted to give them the opportunity to learn from him. Maria chose well because she understood that other things could wait. Nothing is more important than being in the presence of Jesus.
Even when her brother died, Marta and Maria did not abandon their faith. They continued to believe in Jesus, despite seeing no solution. They obeyed Jesus and, therefore, received their brother back.