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 Two Sisters

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TheBarrd
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Posts : 24
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PostSubject: Two Sisters   Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:55 am

Martha had had it! She was completely fed up! ”Mary! Mary!" she called for the fifth time. Drat the girl! Where could she be? Just like her to go running off, when there was work to be done!
Just then, their brother, Lazarus, came strolling in. "Lazarus" she said, in a complaining tone. "Have you seen Mary? I've been looking for her all afternoon. It's past time to get supper ready and..."
"I think I saw her, as I was coming up. She was in the meadow, picking daisies."
"Daisies! Daisies! Of all the useless...” She went storming out of the room.
Lazarus sighed. It had always been like this, he thought, ever since their parents died. He had tried to find a good husband for his sister, Martha...he knew she'd make a fine wife...but she had insisted on staying home to care for him and for their younger sister, Mary. Ah, little Mary. Such a dreamer. He loved her dearly, but, even though she was only twelve years old, he knew that it would be next to impossible to find a husband for her. If she would only get her feet on the ground, and her head out of the clouds!
He heard a noise at the gate. He looked out, and, with a shout of pure joy, he ran to open the latch. It was Jesus, and His little band of followers, come to pay them a visit. They always dropped by on their way through town, and Lazarus had come to look forward to these occasions. It was not for nothing, Lazarus thought, that His disciples addressed Him as Master. There was something about the man. He couldn't tell what it was but it was something...well, something almost otherworldly. He had a mesmerizing voice, and when He spoke, whether in a small room with a group of His intimate friends, or in a crowded field, surrounded by strangers pressing to get nearer, it was as if He were speaking directly to you. It was as if He could look right through you...right to your very soul, and He knew the secrets hidden there.
"Well come, my Lord. Here is water, for You and Your friends, that You might wash the dust of the road from Your feet." Then, as Jesus seemed to be preparing to take this chore upon Himself, he quickly added, "No! Oh, no, Master, please! Let me do that for you!" And, with a gentle smile, Jesus gave him the water and the cloth, and allowed Himself to be ministered unto. Then, having seen to the amenities, Lazarus continued expansively, “Come in, gentlemen, and rest yourselves. Supper will be ready soon. Please, won't you stay and eat with us?"
Just then, the back door was heard to slam, and they could all hear Martha's voice, grumbling about Mary's lack of responsibility. As if she hadn't heard a word her sister was saying, the guilty party came skipping into the room, followed by a small storm of petals from the armload of flowers she was carrying. As she noticed the men gathered there, in a circle around Jesus, her eyes widened, and her mouth opened in a little "O" of surprise. The daisies forgotten in a heap on the floor, she ran to greet Jesus, Who, smiling, opened His arms to sweep her up, laughing, into His embrace. "Beautiful child", He murmured into her hair, "Beloved of My Father." He set her gently to her feet, and turned to face His disciples. "Beware that you do not offend one of these little ones of God," He told them gravely. "For, in Heaven, their angels are ever at My Father's side." He settled down in the place Lazarus had made for Him, and began to speak to the men gathered around Him, with Mary comfortably curled up at His feet, watching His face adoringly, and listening raptly to every word.
Martha, who had been watching from the doorway, had finally had all she could stand. After all, she thought, Mary was twelve years old! It was high time she began to learn the responsibilities of being a woman! The days of idle childhood were past! And this Jesus, whom these men called ‘Master’, should certainly realize it! Why, for her own good, He should discourage her from hanging about whenever He and His friends came calling on their brother. She knew better than to expect good sense from Lazarus. It was his spoiling of their little sister that would be the ruin of her, but Martha had had enough of it!
With a snort, she came boiling into the room, intending to let them all have a bit of the sharp side of her tongue. But, as she came charging in, her wrath died on her lips as she met the eyes of the man who sat in the center of the group. He stood, and held her with that disconcerting gaze of His. She felt as if He were looking right through her, as if He knew her very thoughts. Frantically, she pulled herself together.
After all, she thought, I know this man! He has been a guest in this house many times before, and will probably be a guest here many times again. It was time, and past time, that He, too, understood that Mary needed to take more responsibility for the household chores! He was only encouraging her in her slothfulness, and she, Martha, needed to take matters in hand! Again, she began to open her mouth to scold her brother and his friends for their shameful spoiling of the child, and, again, she met that penetrating regard. Tearing her eyes away, she looked about her, at the men all watching in solemn silence. She swallowed harshly. "Master", she stammered out. "Master, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all of the serving alone? She should be helping me, she should be learning the lessons of womanhood!" She raised her eyes to His. "Master, please. Bid her to arise, and help me."
Jesus took both of her hands in His. His lips curved into a gentle smile. “Martha, Martha," He said, in a quiet, gentle voice. "You are troubled and worried about many things. You are concerned for your sister, as is right. Believe Me, Martha; she is safe, here, beside Me. She has chosen a better Way, and it shall not be taken from her."
Martha looked into His eyes, and, nodding, she drew her hands from His, and left the room with noiseless steps and an untroubled countenance. Somehow, her mind had been stilled. She knew that, in Him, the man they called "Master", all would be well.
Time passed, happily enough. Jesus’ reputation among the people grew, and, with no surprise, Lazarus and his two sisters came to realize that He was, truly, the looked for Messiah. This changed nothing, however. He and His disciples were still frequent guests, and Lazarus, as always, looked forward to these visits. Mary grew, in the course of time, into a beautiful, and quite capable, young woman and Lazarus began to look about him for a suitable husband for her.
Even Martha, it seemed, was at peace. Ever since that afternoon, when she had been caught and held by the Master's incredible eyes, she had been a changed woman. Where she had been impatient, irritable, and quick-tempered, she now seemed imperturbable, composed, and cool-headed.
But not this morning. For the third morning in a row, Lazarus hadn't shown up for breakfast, and Martha, beginning to get really worried, went to check on him. She found him, still in his bed, tossing and turning and mumbling to himself. Martha called to him, but he didn't answer. Alarmed, she came to his bedside, and put her hands against his face. He seemed not to notice her, and his flesh felt hot to her touch. Really frightened now, she hurried from the room, and went to find Mary.
Mary was in the small courtyard, watching their cat, Sheba, as she proudly showed off her latest litter of kittens for the very first time. She thought if she just took her time, perhaps Sheba would let her hold one of the little darlings. She had put out her hand, and Sheba had accepted the petting that was obviously her due, when her sister came bustling out, with an expression on her face that reminded her uncomfortably of the old Martha, before they had come to know Jesus. She looked up. "Is something the matter, Martha?"
"Oh, Mary! It is Lazarus! He is ill!"
"Ill? My brother? What do you mean, Martha?
"I was worried when I noticed that he wasn't eating properly, but he didn't seem to be sick...but this morning...well, when he didn't show up for his breakfast, I...well, I went to his room, to check on him..."
"Oh, Martha!" Mary interrupted her sister. "You know how he feels about his privacy. No-one is allowed in his room!"
"Yes, I know, but I had to check on him. And, Mary, it is a good thing I did. He has a fever, and he didn't even know me. I don't think he even saw me. I tell you, Mary, our brother is dangerously ill!"
"Perhaps...perhaps I should go to him?"
"Yes, come...and see for yourself!"
Together, they went into their brother's room. Quietly, they approached the bed. Lazarus lay there, moaning fretfully. It was as Martha had said. He didn't even seem to notice the two of them standing there, and Mary laid a cool hand against his cheek. She felt the fire burning in him.
"We must send for the physician at once!" Martha cried.
"Yes" Mary answered her. "You send for the physician. I will send...for Jesus."
"Jesus?"
"Yes. Jesus. Has he not made crippled men walk and blind men see? He has healed many people of their diseases. Even...even..." her voice fell to the barest of whispers, "even leprosy..."
"But, Mary! We don't even know where He is! And...what makes you think He will come...the Master Himself, like a dog to our whistle?"
"He won't be too difficult to find, Martha...why, no-one talks of anything else, these days. And...Lazarus is His friend. He will come."
It was three days before their messengers found Him. He was in a field, and, as usual, people were crowded about, hanging on His every word.
"Master" they called, and were quickly beckoned to His side. "You are needed, Master. In Bethany. Your friend, Lazarus, is gravely ill. His sisters fear for His life. I was sent, Sir, to beg You to come to him...Quickly."
Peter bent down, and began to gather their things together. James, seeing what he was about, quickly bent to help him. But their Master held up His hand. "This illness" He said, "has not come for the death of Lazarus, but for the glory of God, and to glorify His Son." Exchanging puzzled looks, the messengers hurried away.
The disciples, too, were puzzled. "Master," said Peter. "I don't understand. Lazarus is Your friend. Should we not be going?"
Jesus sighed, and put His hand on Peter's shoulder. "No, Peter. You do not understand now, but you will, when you see the glory of My Father in Heaven."
Two days later, He woke them, and told them, "We must go. Our friend, Lazarus, is asleep. I must go, and wake him from his sleep."
Peter looked confused. "Asleep, Master? Isn't that a good sign? If he is able to rest in sleep, perhaps he will be alright, after all." He seemed relieved. After all, it wouldn't be right, to his way of thinking, if this man, with the power of God at His command, to heal all manner of diseases, should let His own good friend die, when He had it in His power to save him. Of course, he thought. Jesus had known all along that Lazarus would be alright...
"No, Peter. Lazarus is dead."
"Dead?" The disciples looked at one another. What could He mean?
"Well," grumbled Judas, but softly, to himself. "It seems there is little advantage in being His friend..."
"I am glad," Jesus continued with a glance at Judas, "for your sakes that I was not there. My Father intends to use Lazarus to strengthen your faith." He smiled. "Up. Let us go to him."
Martha and Mary were heart-broken. The physicians had said that there was nothing that they could do, and the two sisters had put all of their hope in Jesus. But, the days passed, and the Master did not come. Finally, their beloved brother, who was all they had in the world, died.
Mournfully, they went about the business of getting him ready for burial. They took his body to the tomb, and the stone was rolled into place. The days of mourning began, and the house and grounds were full of people.
Suddenly, there was a stir at the gate. Martha looked up. It was Jesus. What was He doing here...now? Hot anger boiled up in her, as He approached. "So, You found time to come and visit Your friend's grave, I see. Of course, You are so busy these days. I suppose it was too much to ask that You come to his bedside while he yet lived."
Jesus looked at her sadly. "Your brother will rise again."
"Yes," said Martha scornfully. "He will rise at the last day, at the resurrection of us all." She turned on her heel and left.
When she went into the house, she saw her little sister Mary sitting there, weeping, and she felt sorry for what she had done. She knew that Jesus had loved Lazarus. And there was a special affection, Martha knew, between the Master and their sister, Mary. She went over to Mary, and whispered in her ear, "Mary, the Master is here. He is asking for you."
Mary turned a tear-stained face up to her sister. "Jesus? He is here? Where is He?"
"He is in the garden," Martha told her. She watched, as Mary ran to greet her Hero. Well, she thought, perhaps he can at least ease her pain a bit. But, why didn't he come, when Mary had sent for Him? Maybe He hadn't gotten the message in time, she thought. She shouldn't have been so cross with Him.
Mary saw Jesus immediately as she came out to the garden. She ran to Him, and was swept into His embrace. "Lord," she whispered. "I sent for You. If You had been here, I know my brother would still be alive. But I know that even now, God will give You whatever You ask."
"Mary," said Jesus gently, "I am the resurrection, and the life. If anyone believes in me, though he were dead, yet he shall live. And, whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
There was a pause. All of the mourners had hushed, and were listening intently. Martha, too, who had stepped out onto the front porch, stood listening.
Mary, her eyes full of tears, looked up into Jesus' face. He looked at her, and, as He watched the tears escape from her eyes and roll down her cheeks, and listened to her quiet sobs, and saw all the people around her weeping, His heart was moved with compassion, and He wept. Mary put up a wondering hand, and caught a tear as it fell from His eyes. Looking at her fingers, she said in a trembling voice, "I believe that You are the Son of The Living God, the One Who the prophets foretold."
Jesus put His hand gently under her chin, and lifted her face, so that once more, their eyes met. Quietly, He said to her, "Show Me where you have laid him."
Mary smiled, and, with all the people following, and Martha trailing behind, she led him to the grave. Jesus stood before the tomb, looking at the great stone that had been rolled before the opening. The people began to look at each other...an excitement began to build. He had opened blind eyes. He had made crippled legs walk again. He had healed every kind of disease...even the dreaded leprosy. Was He...was it possible...?
"Take away the stone," Jesus said, in a commanding tone, and two large men from the crowd stepped up to do His bidding.
"Wait!" cried Martha, hurrying up from the back of the crowd. "What do you think you are doing? My brother has been dead for four days! Would you expose his poor body, in the corrupted state it is now in? Would you subject all of these people to the stench of decay?" She grabbed the arm of one of the men, who turned a confused face toward Jesus, as if asking what he should do now.
Jesus laid His hand gently on Martha's cheek. "Have I not told you, that if you would only believe in Me, that you would see the glory of God?"
At this, some of the women came forward and drew Martha back, and the men proceeded to roll the huge stone out of the way.
Jesus lifted His eyes toward Heaven in prayer. "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I know that You always hear Me, but, for the sake of these children standing here, I say again, thank You, Father."
Then, in a voice that rang with confident command, He cried out, “Lazarus, come forth."
There was a tense moment, as the people all stood, staring at the entrance to the tomb. Everyone held their breath. What should they expect? They had seen this Man do some amazing things, but... Amid gasps and cries of amazement, the dead man appeared at the entrance of the tomb, still wrapped in His grave clothes. Mary ran toward him, hurrying to unwrap him. Jesus turned toward Martha, who stood, stunned. "Help your sister to turn Him loose," He said. With trembling steps, that were hesitant at first, but soon quickened into a run, she went to do as she had been told.
Later that evening, the mourners having gone on their way to spread the tale of the strange events they had seen and heard that afternoon, Jesus sat at supper with Lazarus and his two sisters.
"Listen," He told them seriously. "What happened this afternoon is only a tiny part of God's power. It is a small thing to Him to bring a man back from the dead. But, this is a temporary thing. Eventually, all must die, and you, Lazarus, must pass through this experience a second time. But, soon the battle I have come to earth to fight will be over, and I will go and prepare a place for you in my Father's Kingdom. You will pass through death in this world, to eternal life in that Kingdom. That is the message you must help to spread."
For this is the Gospel, or the Good News that the Messiah was sent from Heaven to bring:
This world, with its troubles and trials, is a temporary thing, and our death only a door to another place. For He has gone to prepare a place for us, that where He is, there we may be also.
He is coming back one day, to gather all of His own, the living and the dead, to Himself, to take them all Home, to His Kingdom.
The story I tell you, and the Good News it contains, are true.
I ought to know.
 My name is Mary.
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SwiftWarrior
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PostSubject: Re: Two Sisters   Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:59 am

Cool story! I liked the way that you gave Martha more depth and character.
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