17 That was why after Jesus arrived, he found him already having been in the tomb four days.
18 But Bethany was near Jerusalem (about fifteen stadia1 away).
19 Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother.
20 That was why as soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, but Mary remained seated in the house.
21 That was why Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.
22 Even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
ladies in the background
Decorum required that Mary remain seated in the house because they had guests. Martha left to receive Jesus when he arrived because this too was acceptable practice.
Martha gets the reputation of being less spiritual than her sister, because she was the one always tasked to do the household busywork. Martha has a reputation of being one of the ladies in the background.
But Martha shows a strong grasp on spiritual realities here. She knows about Jesus’ special relationship with the father. She knows that he can intercede and change destiny. She looks her sorrow in the face, and yet still trusts in Christ. Way to God Martha!
Lord, thank you for the ladies in the background who shine brightly for your kingdom.
1A stadia is about 600 feet.