Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary
to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died].
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”—John 11:19-22
Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, often gets a bad rap for having been much concerned with food prep and housework when Christ came to visit.
But on the feast of this earliest of Christians, the Gospel draws our attention to a more admirable trait than her hospitality: her unwavering faith in God.
In John 11, we read that Lazarus, the friend of Jesus, has died. The Lord waits four days to return to Bethany, two days after Lazarus has been interred. Not waiting for Him to enter the house, the Gospel tells us Martha went out to meet Christ.
Her greeting, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died,” carries not a hint of accusation or resentment; instead a fervent belief in the power of God emboldens Martha. In response, Christ tells Martha her brother will rise again.
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, through he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?
For most of us, it takes far less than the death of a loved one to weaken our faith in Christ. How many of us, facing bitter disappointments or uncontrollable circumstances, can pray as Martha prayed, with perfect detachment: “Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”