29 July 2008

Commemoration of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany

From our Synod's website:

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany were disciples with whom Jesus had a special bond of love and friendship. John's Gospel records that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:15). On one occasion Martha welcomed Jesus into their home for a meal. While she did all the work, Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to his Word and was commended by Jesus for choosing the “good portion which will not be taken away from her” (Lk 10:38–42). When their brother Lazarus died, Jesus spoke to Martha this beautiful Gospel promise: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he life? (John 11:25–27). Ironically, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the death, it made Jesus' enemies more determined than ever to kill him (John 11:39–54). Six days before Jesus was crucified, Mary anointed his feet with a very expensive fragrant oil and wiped them with her hair, not knowing at the time that she was doing it in preparation for Jesus' burial (John 12:1–8; Mt 26:6-13).

How were Mary's thoughts devoted
Her eternal joy to find
As intent each word she noted
At her Savior's feet reclined!
How kindled her heart,
How devout was its feeling,
While hearing the lessons
That Christ was revealing!
All earthly concerns
She forgot for her Lord
And found her contentment
In hearing His Word. LSB 536:2

Two weeping sisters, worn by grief
And mired in depths of gloom,
Stood watching where their brother lay
Within a rock-sealed tomb.
When, Lord, You met them as they mourned,
You wept compassion's tear.
But Martha, sore with sorrow, said,
"He'd lived had You been here!"

"I am the Lord of life and death!"
You answered Martha's cry,
"And all who hear and trust My Word
Shall live, although they die!"
You walked the path to Laz'rus' tomb
You called him forth by name,
And living, loving once again
From death to life he came!" LSB 552:9,10


Susan said...

>>Mary anointed his feet ... not knowing at the time that she was doing it in preparation for Jesus' burial

Is there someplace it says that she didn't know she was doing it in preparation for His burial? For some reason, that rings a bell, but I can't seem to find the reference in the Bible. And I've been wondering the last few years if maybe she did know what was coming. After all, Jesus had told them at least three times that He was going up to Jerusalem to suffer and die. I've been wondering if Mary was the one who was listening, the one who "got it," when the men didn't.

William Weedon said...


I don't think Scripture actually says she knew or she didn't, but your point is certainly a good one: anyone who was attentive to His words knew trouble was brewing. Even Thomas got it: "Let us go up and die with Him!"