Think about one of your best friends. Pull their image into the front of your mind. What makes them fulfill the role of friend in your heart? What do you supply to them as a friend? What do they offer to fuel your friendship? What are the qualities of your good friend?
Probably three of Jesus’ closest human friends were two sisters and their brother. None were among the 12 “disciples.” They were simply companions of Jesus who took great comfort in friendship. They lived just outside of Jerusalem in Bethany (a couple of miles), so their home was where Jesus could crash – away from the pressing crowds and pressures of the big, religious city.
Mary was right-brained in her relationship. For her it was all about sitting at her Master’s feet. For Martha it was all about duty. Let’s do what needs to be done. Don’t take my hard work of serving for granted. Neither identity was superior, but each expressed personal languages of love.
What about Lazarus? What do we know about his relationship with Jesus? Very little really. Yet from this friendship would come the miracle of life overcoming death. Just a couple miles down the road from the Temple itself. Jesus raising His four-day dead friend from the dead. The Jews on notice.
When I read about Mary, Martha, and Lazarus – I try to focus on my own friendship with Jesus. He loves me. He spends time with me. He will be with me no matter what challenges I face. Think about it – Jesus’ power would raise Lazarus from the dead two different times. How many of us can claim that in our friendship with our best friend?!
“Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” – John 11:20-27
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Jesus’ Bethany Friends