Summary: This sermon uses Martha, Mary, and Lazarus as examples of three things that Jesus found in his friends and not in the temple on Palm Sunday.
What Jesus Found At Bethany
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”
4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
It was from Bethany on the Mount of Olives that Jesus began His descent into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week, on Palm Sunday. He rode a colt of a donkey into Jerusalem. He was coming as a Prince of Peace, to die for the sins of the world. This was the fulfillment of the prophecy spoken by Zechariah (9:9). The prophet saw Him coming to save the world. Jesus came riding into Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday and His disciples sang His praises as He went. They lay branches of trees in the way to make a path for the King. They sang Psalm 118. They did not understand what He was coming to do.
When Jesus came into the city, He went into the temple and looked around. One Gospel writer says that He drove out the money changers and those who were cheating others. He said that the house of God should be a house of prayer. And then he left. He went to Bethany. Why did He choose to go to Bethany? Was it just because it was only a few miles from Jerusalem and He knew He would be coming back to Jerusalem each day of Holy Week? Maybe, but I think it was something more. I think it was because of What Jesus Found At Bethany:
Jesus had three friends at Bethany. They are three friends that can represent three aspects of the Christian faith that welcome Jesus. Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of His people. Jesus said that when He comes He will be looking for faith (Luke 18:8). Jesus's three friends from Bethany teach us about work, worship, and witness; three things that make Jesus welcome. I believe these three things are here in this church, in this house, and God is going to increase them today and throughout this year in order to grow His work!
The first time we read about Jesus's friends at Bethany we find two of the things He found there:
38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
1. Work: Martha
Martha was hospitable. She knew how to make people feel welcome. She knew how to make Jesus feel welcome. She was Jesus's friend.
It takes a lot of work to make people feel welcome and God has called His church to show hospitality.
"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."
Many times we do not realize that when we show hospitality to others we are making room for a miracle in our future.
Martha knew Jesus as a Great Teacher and as a Man, but later after her brother died she would come to know Him as more than a man!