Her name means “rebellious” in Hebrew, but it probably also has Chaldeean meaning that indicated she was the woman in charge of the house. She managed the home where they lived and cared for others through her hospitality.
Her story: Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-32; John 12:1-3
Martha’s story is intertwined with those of her sister, Mary, and her brother, Lazarus. Martha was the one who first invited Jesus into their home. While He was there, she scurried about creating a hospitable environment for Him and everyone else who came with Him. She was annoyed that her sister, Mary, was not helping and Martha asked for Jesus to intervene. He politely told Martha that she was concerned with things of lesser importance. They were not eternal things. Later when Lazarus died, Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus. He intentionally delayed going to Bethany. But when he finally arrived, Martha went out and met Him and spoke to Him. In her grief, she expressed words that reflected a heart that knew Jesus’ healing power. When Jesus told her that those who believe in Him live and never die, she responded with a deep statement of faith that Jesus was Messiah, the Son of God. Her statement was very much like the famous declaration Peter made to Jesus on another occasion. Then, Martha and got Mary. They showed Jesus where Lazarus was buried. At the tomb, all three mourned for Lazarus and Jesus Himself wept with them. When Jesus asked that the stone on the grave be removed, Martha reminded Him that opening the tomb would unleash “a stink.” But Jesus’ instructions were followed and Jesus called Lazarus from the grave. Martha and all who were with them witnessed Jesus’ resurrection power. Before Jesus and His disciples had Passover in Jerusalem, Martha hosted and served a meal in His honor, creating another opportunity for others to fellowship with Him.
Her legacy for us: Martha’s hospitality and desire to create pleasant places made room for others to meet Jesus, learn, and see His power. Martha herself learned the proper way to balance eternal things and temporary earthly things.
Our response to Him: Will You teach me to create a space devoted to Your presence that travels with me wherever I go, a space where those around me feel Your presence and come to know You better – not because of me, but because You are there?