March 5

Martha and Mary
of Bethany

In the Lent Devotional our church is reading this Lent, Faithful Facts for Lent by Paul L. Maier, today and tomorrow's personalities from the Bible are Martha and Mary.  These two women have grabbed my attention for years.  

Rev. Nancy Nedwell, when she was the associate pastor of our church, taught the Wednesday Morning Bible Study and spent a half year on the Gospel of John.  Before I participated in this class, my favorite gospel writer was Luke.  He was a physician, a regular guy who was educated in the everyday, non-religious, world.  Luke describes Jesus and the issues around Jesus in ways I could relate and understand.  I could research Luke's details and find them in historical writings outside the Bible - making the Bible more real to me.  Nancy introduced me to John.  She gave us the definitions of his words as they were defined when John wrote them.  By the end of the session, I concluded that Jesus and Mary of Bethany loved each other - have you heard the saying, "loved her so much, worth dying for?" well, I could feel that in John's writing.  It's this kind of love that Jesus has for us, too.  And, I believe, Mary felt that compassion from Jesus.

Martha wanted her sister to help her prepare food and serve the guests at their house.  But when Jesus was their guest, Mary spent the visit sitting on the floor at Jesus' feet, listening with complete attention.  Even though Martha complained, I think she knew.  She loved Jesus, too, but it was different.  She had the gift of serving and hospitality.

I wonder what happened to the siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany after Jesus ascended to heaven?

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