(Note: Please see Easter 2011 Letter #1
for introduction to this series of posts.)
for introduction to this series of posts.)
MARTHA, SISTER OF LAZARUS AND MARY
The tomb IS empty! It IS true! I just knew Jesus would rise from the dead. I knew he had that incredible power. You see, I am Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. We were all such good friends of Jesus. He often stayed with us but the thing that endears me most to him is what he did for Lazarus after he had been dead for four days. He brought him back to life. I always meant to communicate how much that meant to me so I've written him a letter. I brought it here as I wanted to see the empty grave for myself and I thought maybe he would be here so I could give it to him. Let me read it to you.
Dear Jesus, the Raiser of the dead,
You have made such a difference in my life. I can't imagine where I would be today if it weren't for you and your willingness to confront me about the things that are really important in life. Do you remember that day that you and your twelve apostles were passing through Bethany and I invited you all for dinner? Well, I was so excited to have you all there and be able to fix a meal for you that I decided it just had to be a banquet feast. I am one of those women who just love to have people in my home and serve them a meal. And I wanted my meals to be something that my guests would always remember so that they would be able to tell others what a terrific cook and housekeeper I was. I was trying that new gourmet recipe I had just gotten from the "menu of the month" club and it was going to be a winner. There was just one problem, however, I didn't have enough hands to do all the preparation myself. I really needed my sister, Mary, to pitch in and give me some assistance. I hardly had time to locate her but as I passed the hors d'oeuvres, I found her at your feet, just sitting, doing what appeared to be absolutely nothing. I was so perturbed that I interrupted you and asked if you didn't care that I had no help in the kitchen. I wanted you to tell Mary to come and help me but instead, you said to me, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Wow, that really stopped me short. I had always thought that I was doing very important things by serving others in the best way I possibly could but maybe I had some things to learn. I then decided the gourmet recipe could wait until another day and we could all eat the fruit and cheese that was already prepared. That way I, too, could be involved in the conversation with you. That comment by you that day, helped me so much. I still love to work in my home and serve others, but now I try to balance it with taking time to meditate on your word.
That was one of the special things you did for me that helped change my life, but the most spectacular thing was the love you showed to my sister, brother and me after he had gotten sick and died. Mary and I sent for you when we realized Lazarus wasn't going to survive and somehow you were delayed in coming until he had already died. We were so grief stricken. We just knew that you could have healed him if you had been there. You, also, were moved with compassion because of his death. You told me my brother would rise again. I knew he would rise again in the resurrection at the last day but you said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." You asked if I believed that and I answered, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world." And then you commanded the stone be moved away from the grave and when you called for Lazarus to come out, he did. He was resurrected and healed. Because of all that I had come to believe about you, I just knew you were the Messiah who would one day die but would conquer death and the grave again and come back to life yourself. This empty tomb shows me what tremendous love and power you have. I have given you my love and allegiance and will always be,
Your faithful friend and follower,
I, too, have a letter I've written to Jesus.
I can relate to Martha. I, too, am a woman who can get distracted from the really important things in life by being busy about my home. I, too, have needed to rearrange the priorities in my life so that I put being with you before doing for you. I also, like Martha, have lost a brother to illness. You know how great a loss that has been for me and my family. We asked you to spare his life and heal his body. You chose not to give earthly life back to my brother. That has been unbelievably painful but because I trust that you are the Christ, the Son of God, I believe you did what was best for me and my family. Easter reminds me that your death wasn't what you wanted either but it was best for all humanity. Your love for me took you to the cross. I love you for being the worthy sacrificial lamb for my sin. I give you my allegiance and aspire to always be, your faithful friend and follower.