God calls us to “communion with Him” and “community with man” and this calling is portrayed by the hidden parable of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The story of Mary and Martha are a message to all of us. Martha typifies “busyness without relationship”….. Mary typifies “relationship without service; but God says there is a third part to this message. Lazarus. Lazarus is frequently part of the narrative whenever the Word speaks of Mary and Martha. Martha, Mary and Lazarus are deliberately yoked as a spiritual trinity by the Lord as an object lesson and message to and for His church. We all need to serve (Martha); we all need to relate (Mary); we all need to die to the old nature (Lazarus) and receive resurrection life in Christ …..
And the big revelation is that the CROSS tells us this. It always comes back to the Cross. It’s the first time I have seen this. This is what God showed me this morning. …
1). The vertical pillar of the Cross represents Mary — it points up to God. The vertical strut of the Cross represents relating to God. It represents coming alive to the relationship and conscience of God. It lines up with the first of the two greatest commandments — love your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Which is to restore relationship with the Father. Which is why Jesus said that “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42). If you don’t have the anchor, the vertical, you can’t fulfil the horizontal. Upon this rock this house is established. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24).
The reason why Jesus says Mary has done right and is in the right place is because unless we learn how to relate, we will never know how to serve. Unless we love God first, we will not know how to truly love others ….
2). Martha represents the horizontal strut, being the yoke of service. Think of a yoke. It lies across the shoulders horizontally. But of service, Jesus says His burden is light. “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30). Many people mistake service for something separate from love. But truly, service is the “accomplishment” of love, while relating is the “expression” of love. Love needs to be both expressed as well as accomplished in order to produce life. As such, Martha relates to the second greatest commandment — “to love your neighbour as yourself” and this yoke is light because in living and walking in love or service, we need to just tap into and activate the gift of God on our lives. But before we can serve, we need to relate first to the Father ….
3). But in order to walk in either, we need to die like Lazarus to the old nature and come alive to the new nature. Lazarus represents our flesh nature. Jesus allowed Lazarus to die because for us to serve fully and relate wholly, our flesh nature has to first be crucified within us. Jesus waited so that resurrection life could come and Lazarus be released from all that bound him in the grave of his flesh nature. Lazarus died and came alive in this life! We need to die in this life to the old nature and come alive to the new life in Christ in order to live in reign in the next life eternal ….
And that is what the Cross depicts.
First relate, then serve. First vertical, then horizontal. And it all comes down to the Cross. And unless we die to our old nature, our way will never be able to produce life. We die to the old nature so that we may take on the new nature so that we may walk in the way and the truth and the life which is love, expressed vertically and accomplished horizontally. Pretty profound huh?
Jesus deliberately stayed away from Lazarus for “two days” to be an additional present day message for His church. The Church Age has now lasted for two thousand years. We are at the end of this time, and those of His who have died to their self-life (Lazarus) are about to be loosed from all that hinders, so that they may both serve His will fully (Martha) and relate wholly (Mary), so that it can be fulfilled, “the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12)
The bandages of Lazarus speaks to the song we sing that “there is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain”…. Removing the bounds on Lazarus’ hands and feet represents breaking the chains that bind us to our old nature, and to the past, so that we may walk in the new creation and new nature in the way and the truth and the life. “The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” (John 11:44).
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed, or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Lord I pray that I may be as Mary, always mindful to choose the better portion.
To God alone be all the glory. Forever and ever. Amen and amen ….