Jesus Loved Them

SDA JournalDevotional


Scripture: Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. John 11:5 (NKJV)

Observation: Jesus was told that Lazarus, His friend, was sick.  In order to make a connection as to who this Lazarus is, John writes that he is the brother of Mary, the woman that anointed Jesus with oil and wiped His feet with her hair.  As we trace her history back, this evidently was the same woman that was caught in adultery and was brought to Jesus as they were about to stone her – not that they cared about her or what she did, but rather in order to catch Jesus and accuse Him.
Evidently the home of Lazarus and his two sisters, mary and Martha, was a place of refuge for Jesus and His disciples.  Ellen White writes, “Jesus had often found the rest that His weary human nature required at the house of Lazarus, in Bethany. His first visit there was when He and His disciples were weary from a toilsome journey on foot from Jericho to Jerusalem. They tarried as guests at the quiet home of Lazarus, and were ministered unto by his sisters, Martha and Mary”(Daughters of God 57).
Now, the place that had offered Jesus and His disciples some respite from their hectic life, had become a place of sorrow and sadness at the passing of Lazarus.

Application: We can draw many lessons from this precious story.  We could talk about the foretaste of the resurrection day, when Jesus returns, and how families will be reunited with their loved ones.  We could talk about Jesus sympathy, not just empathy, for these two sisters – He didn’t simply feel for them, He felt with them, that is, He Himself felt the pain they felt. . . and He cried (vs.35).  We could talk about the hardness of the hearts of those Jewish leaders who, in spite of being witnesses to the most powerful of all of Jesus’ miracles, refused to believe in Him and instead went out to plot how to destroy Him.
But today, I want us to focus on the words of our text, “Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary and Lazarus.”  Evidently they knew and felt that love, so that when Lazarus became ill they didn’t hesitate to call on Jesus for help.  It is also evident that they loved Him and were delighted to have Him and His disciples visit anytime.  Their response to Jesus’ love was at least partly the natural response to His forgiveness and delivery from prostitution, and demon possession, of Mary.  She went out of her way to demonstrate her gratitude to Him by purchasing the most expensive perfume to anoint Him.  The tears with which she washed His feet, at a later time, demonstrate her added love and appreciation for bringing her brother, and probably sole support of the family, back to life.
At the same time, the fact that Jesus loved them does not mean that death would not visit them, that sorrow and hardship would never knock on their door, that pain and suffering would be absent from their lives.  And this, I think, is one of the most important lessons from this story.  No matter who we are, we will be touched with pain, suffering, sickness, and even death, at some point during our lives – after all, none of us is immortal yet. The fact that any of these things happen is not proof that God doesn’t love us.  On the contrary, what this story teaches us is that Jesus loves us before, in the midst, and after we experience pain and sorrow, and even death.  It was the knowledge of that love that encouraged Mary and Martha even as their hearts were breaking.  We, too, can bask in His love for us even while our minds worry and our hearts break!

A Prayer You May Say: Dear Father, thank You for surrounding us with Your love even during those times when we have a hard time seeing You and when the tears covering our eyes feel as if they are about to drown our hearts.  Halp us to feel that love when we feel so lonely, helpless, and hopeless.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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