John says in his fourth Gospel: Jesus loved Martha and her sister (Mary) and Lazarus (Jn 11,5). Lazarus and his two sisters were among the closest friends of Jesus.
Jesus delighted in being guest in the house of his three friends whenever he was at or passing through Judaea.
In the four Gospels only Luke and John give the names of Martha and her sister Mary. From Lukes account of the visit of Jesus to the house of Martha and Mary we get a good idea of the character of Martha.
Luke narrates a visit of Jesus to the house of Martha and Mary: As Jesus and his disciples went on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him in her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the feet of the Lord and listened to his teaching. Martha was upset over all the work she had to do, so she came and said,Lord, dont you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!
The Lord answered her,Martha, Martha, You are worried and troubled over so many things, but just one is needed. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will not be taken away from her. (Lk 10, 38-42)
Apparently the eldest of the two sisters, Martha was busy and anxious to entertain her guests Jesus and his disciples with a meal. So she can do well with the helping hands of her sister Mary. Their guests Jesus and his disciples can relax in the house while the two sisters prepared a delicious meal for them. Hence, Marthas complaint to Jesus, Lord, dont you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me (Lk 10, 40).
But Jesus and Mary have other ideas of hospitality. So Jesus tells to Martha, Martha, Martha, You are worried and troubled over so many things, but just one is needed. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will not be taken away from her. Here we get an idea of Martha as an active and hard working person. She believed in the virtue of hospitality.
John reveals that Martha was also a woman of deep faith and trust in Jesus, their family friend. Martha and her sister Mary feel free to send a message to Jesus, their family friend, at the death of their brother Lazarus.
Johns whole chapter 11 shows how close Jesus was to Martha, her sister Mary and brother Lazarus.
It was to Martha Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die (Jn 11, 25-26). Marthas response is marvelous example of her deep faith when Jesus said to her,I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?
Yes, Lord! she answered.I do believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world. (John 11, 25-27)
These words are recalled during the Christian burial service and Jesus and his three unique friends come alive to us. Martha is a unique example of deep faith in and true friendship with Jesus. Arent all people of good will called for similar faith in and friendship with Jesus?