The account of our Lord’s dealings with Mary and her sibling is one with enormous spiritual insights. Albeit, we would only take a toll on the aspects of their relationship to further our knowledge on covenant relationship.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. Luke 10:38-39.
The relationship of our Lord Jesus with Mary and her family has its first mention in Luke 11. It begins with a role definition of the parties involved. Mary and her family provided lodging bay for Jesus and His disciples while learning from the Messianic teaching of Jesus in their inside.The family was full of hospitality and generosity. Meanwhile, Jesus not only visited the family, but He felt free to drop in at any time. Jesus had a beautiful friendship with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to a point where they spoke plainly to him, and the Bible recorded that Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.The fact that He loved the family is stated three times in John 11, verses 3, 5, and 36.
Earlier, when Jesus had come to resurrect Lazarus from the dead, He showed great respect and love for Mary and Martha. They spoke to Jesus as if He were a part of their immediate family. Jesus was so troubled by their anguish over their brother’s death that He was moved to tears before raising Lazarus to life.
The four weren’t just friends; they were close friends!
Perhaps this relationship all started when Jesus ministered deliverance on Mary in Luke 7. The woman in John is Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. In Mark and Matthew she is anonymous. The event in Luke features an unknown sinful woman. Subsequently, Mary would feature in crucial scenes of deep biblical insights and revelations. These scenes marks the highlights of this relationship. And, of course, it’s from these scenes that we will draw our nuggets for covenant relationship lessons for this episodes.
Moments in the family house of Martha where they sits at Jesus’ feet, and learned from His messianic teachings.
Here we bring back to mind that though the relationship between Jesus and the family of Martha was a vertical class of relationship, yet the scenario here did not seem to emphasize that. From this singular scene we could describe a handful of virtues in the character of a covenant relationship.
- LONELINESS: Many persons in the church are skeptical when it comes to matters on relationship. Very few understand the value of a faithful friend. Jesus had his 72, his 12, his closer 3, and His closest 1. In this relationship with the family of Martha too. We see that He did not only build friendship but was deliberate about it. Many persons in the church are lonely! There’s a dose of suspicions and brotherly love is just in the mouth. It is high time we revisit the assertion that Christianity is a personal race. The bible clearly states that two shall chase 10 000, while one will chase 1000. Also that two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:…
- MENTORSHIP IN FRIENDSHIP: we learn a great deal of knowledge from our friends. The best approach to mentorship is the friendship approach. It is also the best way to boasting the self image of the junior party in mentorship. We see in this case, Jesus taught them in a friendly setting while tactfully influencing their love for God as a priority.
- SHARING MOMENTS TOGETHER: Covenant friends spend time together. Fellowship with one another is the secret for a lasting friendship. Moments shared together creates beautiful memories in godly relationships. Such memories helps to sustain the relationship even at the face of separation by distance and time. Moreover, troubles shared with covenant friends in such times gets its soothing. This is the principle in James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. Godly friends are prophetic helps. We cannot afford to miss the thousands of blessing God has orchestrated that We get from one another!
The scene where Mary anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair
We have the following to learn here:
- SACRIFICE: Love requires doses of sacrifice, as is well demonstrated by Mary in this scene. Sacrifice is the hub of covenant relationship. The bible did not tell us how rich the Martha’s family was. But certainly explained that the jar of ointment used by Mary to anoint the feet of Jesus was very expensive. It was not something she would easily come by.
- PUBLIC DISPLAY; In this scene also we learn to identify with our friends especially in the public. Friendship should be celebrated. Not like the common experience in Christian relationship where one (especially guys) would blush and crush at the other in the private. Especially; through calls, chats and messages. Sometimes, including when they hangout alone. But when they are in the presence of igwemmadu(other brethren),they tend to act like they never knew the other nor have any interest to do so, sometimes even avoiding them in the public. Identifying with your friends in the public shows you are proud of them as well as the relationship. True friends should have a sense of mutual privilege to be with each other anywhere.
- When friends learn to pleasantly present each other, the result is love in reciprocity. The result is glaring. Especially to the world. They will know we are Christians by our love for one another. ‘…Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him’. The world will troop to the church (revival), because everyone wants to be part of a place where there’s love.
The death plus resurrection of Lazarus
The virtues here includes:
- EMOTIONS: where necessary, emotions is part of virtues that characterizes covenant relationship. In my previous article; ‘i love you’ I explained that love is in three non splitting cadre of spiritual, emotional and physical cadre just like the humans are in three level of spirit, soul and body and yet are not separate entities. In this scene, we read Jesus responded emotionally to the emotions of Mary even when it was clear He was going to raise Lazarus. What touches our friends should touch us for only then are we able to offer the best Holy ghost powered help.
- HONESTY: Covenant friends are able to speak with their minds honestly to one another, whether right or wrong. We see this in Martha’s plight, she was her self and said her mind. There was self disclosure, openness of heart and honesty all through in their relationship. We all need honest people we can open up to.
- TIMES OF TROUBLE: Covenant friends are selfless and sticks with you in the times of adversity. Albeit, in the days of strength, we may not remember that we would need friends. Friendship can be a weapon of welfare, when well chosen and when chosen at the right season. Not when you are in trouble before you realize you need friends. …but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. There are times one would need prayers. There are times one would need encouragement. There are times one would need to be ministered to. We all need friends who can pray for us with understanding.
- DISAPPOINTMENT: When our friends are not forthcoming as we expected-how do we handle it? The home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus was a home which Jesus graced a number of times with His presence. It was also a home He blessed with His greatest miracle. But this home did not escape from the trials and tragedies of life. Martha and Mary and Lazarus dealt with normal anxieties. There was sickness, and death, and grief. The presence of Jesus in the home did not exempt them from these things. It will not be strange too in covenant relationship to prepare your heart to forgive on the odd days of seeming disappointment from friends. In the case of Jesus with this family, it was a supposed disappointment. Jesus was on time even though all had lost hope. Jesus did not disappoint HIS friends. In our relationships too, we are required some measures of discipline and stewardship to being faithful to our friends. The Bible queries “… a faithful man who can find?” We are the faithful friends!
- FAITH: closely related to the above is that we need faith and patient with our friends. In John 11:37, it was the third time people spoke in the past tense on the possibility of life again for Lazarus. In matters like this, it is in the nature of human to blame. Blame is an acceptance of conclusion on the past. It is human to dwell on the past, to dwell on the circumstances of the now reality, but in divine we are required to have Faith to receive what we want-the just, the Bible said shall live by faith. We need faith too in putting up with our friends. Jesus used this critical case so we would have no excuse not to have Faith. Martha said, but I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee vs22.
God make us faithful friends!!!👐