Martha often opens her home to friends as well as strangers traveling. She and her sister Mary along with their brother Lazarus love to entertain and provide a respite for weary travelers. Tonight is different.
Chaos from a cacophony of weeping and moaning intermingled with words of sympathy and reminiscing.
Martha is appreciative but nearly oblivious of who is speaking and what they are saying.
Lazarus has died. This is the fourth day since his death after a brief and unexpected critical illness. The house is crowded with friends, family, even fringe acquaintances. Yet, Martha feels alone and empty.
A couple who only know Martha from brief encounters in the village enters the home. They are not dressed in mourning clothes and her husband still argues that she is imposing on them to do what she comes to do.
The woman searches frantically and finally finds Martha, “May I speak with you for a moment?”
“We are so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear brother,” the man fumbles with his girdle.
“We just came from near the marketplace where a crowd had gathered,” the woman edges her husband out of Martha’s vision. “It was your friend, the Nazarene.”
Martha, without saying a word to the couple or anyone else carefully exits the house heading toward the village square. On her way, coming along the road she recognizes Jesus. As if the disciples were not even there, Martha runs straight to Jesus and clutches both his hands. She would have bowed but Jesus prevents her.
“Had you been here sooner Lazarus would still be alive. But I know that even now God will grant you whatever you were to ask.”
Jesus understands her and is moved by her faith, “Your brother will rise again.”
“Yes, my Lord, I know he will rise again on resurrection day,” Martha cannot contain her sorrow and her tears begin.
John, one of Jesus’ closest followers is moved by Martha’s sadness. But before he can speak words of comfort, Jesus replies.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
John hears Martha affirm that she believes. He, too, believes. John also recalls Jesus saying to him and the others that he is glad he was not here before Lazarus died so that they would believe. Like Martha says, John already believes Jesus is the Messiah.
Someone else from Bethany approaches Jesus to stop and talk to him. Martha returns to her home to let her sister Mary know that Jesus has come.
Mary sits surrounded by women of Bethany comforting her and mourning with her. She barely knows they are there. She has sat nearly lifeless in this same spot for hours. She hasn’t eaten and consumes small sips of wine all day.
Martha speaks to no one as she makes a direct path to her sister. Martha whispers something to Mary and immediately color returns to her cheeks. She stands to her feet and practically runs out of the house. The women follow her believing she goes to Lazarus’ tomb.
Martha chuckles. The scene is somewhat comical with the older women shuffling off behind Mary trying to keep up. She sighs. Mary has not been so animated since Lazarus died.
When Mary finds Jesus, she falls to her knees, “Oh, if you had only been here when our brother became ill, you could have healed him,” Mary began to sob, “Maybe he would still be alive today.”
The ladies with her saw her crying and after hearing her, they moan and cry. Jesus touched by their heartache wept with them.
Jesus reaching down guides Mary to her feet, “Where is the body?”
Mary and one or two of the mourners move toward the tomb, “This way, my Lord.”
A younger woman who followed Mary and the mourners with her returns to the house. She let Martha and the others in the house with her know that Jesus is going to the tomb. Martha and many of those who have come to console Lazarus’ household go out to see Jesus. A few return to their homes.
When Martha arrives, she overhears Jesus ask that the entrance to the tomb be removed.
Before Mary can speak, Martha bows beside Jesus, “My Lord, it has been four days. I’m sure he stinks.”
“Have you forgotten that I promised that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
Some of the disciples like Judas Iscariot think this action will bring too much attention. The Sanhedrin already wish them all dead.
Hearing no one order them not to do so, some younger men roll the stone covering the entrance to the cave away.
“Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
The onlookers stood very still and so quiet that only the effects of a slight breeze on some wild brush near the tomb and the “oop-oop-oop” of a disturbed hoopoe were heard.
“Lazarus come forth,” Jesus spoke firmly and confidently with little gesture.
To gasps and groans, Lazarus appears fully wrapped in burial cloth which hinders his steps. His eyes are open wide and as his astonished sisters unwrap him as Jesus commands them to do, his face reveals his utter confusion and bewilderment.
Some of the crowd have fled from the tomb being overwhelmed by the sight of a corpse walking and standing. Most everyone else is frozen in time, mouths still agape and eyes wide open trying to comprehend the magnitude of this moment.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.