The Household of Martha, Mary,
Wade E Taylor
"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.
"Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany,
the town of Mary and her sister Martha ... Now Jesus
loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus" John 11:1,5.
Jesus often went to the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus
as He felt welcomed in this household. Within were two sisters
and a brother, who present to us a picture of the workings
of the Lord in the preparation of His Bride.
In the Holy Land a sign reads, "It is believed that
this is the site of the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Indeed, they live much closer to us than that. Those of us
who have fully committed our lives to the Lord and desire
His abiding presence are being built up as "an habitation
"In whom all the building fitly framed together
groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom
ye also are builded together for an habitation
of God through the Spirit" Eph 2:21-22.
In the outworking of this, all that affects us in our daily
activities is very similar to that which transpired within
the household of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Just as God reveals Himself in three; Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit, and created us to reflect His image in three dimensions;
body, soul, and spirit, so also, there are three actors within
this household which represent the completion He desires.
These two sisters and their brother set forth those ways by
which we relate to the Lord as He seeks to bring us into the
fullness that He intends for us.
Jesus was drawn to this household because there was a balanced,
threefold functioning on their part that attracted His attention.
There is within each one of us as well, the potential for
just such an arrangement that may arouse within Jesus that
same desire to visit the "household" which we are
Martha, for example, intensely desired to serve Jesus. This
she began to do as soon as He entered their home. Thus, our
ministry, or service, can be considered as being feminine
and corresponds to Martha. Paul said, "Whereof I was
made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God
given unto me by the effectual working of his power"
Eph 3:7. Our ministry is a gift, therefore we are dependent
upon the Lord to receive from Him the enabling grace for the
outworking of the ministry that He has given us.
Jesus is seeking out a Bride from within His Church and potentially,
we are that Bride. Mary, who represents this Bride, sat at
the feet of Jesus in submission to Him, desiring to receive
from Him. This is pictured also in the book of Ruth, where
Ruth placed herself at the feet of Boaz and became his bride.
"But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and
came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care
that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid
her therefore that she help me" Luke 10:40.
Mary desired to know Her Lord while Martha was intent upon
serving Him. Therefore, Martha criticized Mary, for service
will always place demands upon devotion. It is much easier
for us to become active in "service" than to quietly
"wait upon Him" in His presence. Thus, if allowed
to do so, service will push devotion from our lives.
If we are to have a devotional life, we must actively contend
for it. Jesus did not tell Martha to stop serving and sit
with Mary. Rather, Martha is to continue serving, but Mary
is to stay at His feet. Our "service" and our "devotion"
are both valid and necessary. Each has its rightful place.
The two sisters also had a brother named Lazarus, who represents
the Lord's dealings with who we are. The "male"
aspect speaks of our Adamic nature which is sick unto death.
Since the judgment for Adam's transgression was death, Adam
(Lazarus) cannot be healed, reformed, or educated; he must
Both Martha and Mary were very concerned about Lazarus being
sick and they sent for Jesus to come and heal him. Because
the only hope for our Adamic nature is death and resurrection,
Jesus purposely delayed His arrival for an additional two
In II Peter 3:7, we see that a thousand years is as one day.
Therefore, this "two days" speaks of the church
age in which the Lord is waiting for us to die to our own
ways that He might come and lift us into resurrection life.
All that transpired within this household is a picture of
what should take place when Jesus comes within our "house."
Martha (that which we do for Him) will be stirred and begin
to "serve." Mary (our desire to know Him) will sit
at His feet to "become." Lazarus (our self nature)
will begin to "die."
All this speaks of a divinely arranged balance in which all
three aspects of His intention to change us into His image
and likeness work together in harmony. These three aspects
are not to be separated as they are a part of one family.
Each one is as important as the others, but each must function
in its particular place, and all at the same time. There should
be this balance in the presentation of the Gospel.
Thus, when the presence of the Lord comes into our house,
our "ministry" will begin to function, the "devotional"
aspect of our being will partake of His life, and our "Adamic
nature" will further die. The coming together of these
three aspects is a divine arrangement in which this "balance"
finds its full outworking through the operation of the Holy
A balanced ministry will make room for the moving of the
Holy Spirit, that the full operation of this three-fold function
of service, devotion, and the work of the cross, may have
its full effect. This will take place as room is made for
the Lord to have His way in the building up of this habitation,
which we are.
As a result, "the household of God" will be fully
established, furnished, and made ready. Then He will lift
it unto Himself and move within, where He will again find
the satisfaction which He once knew.