August 04, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
The Savior at Bethany
“He entered into a certain village and a certain woman named Martha
received Him into her home”
Bethany! What lessons mark that favored village! Martha received Him when He had been rejected elsewhere and was moving to the place of ultimate rejection. How wonderful that Martha received Him.
Bethany was the town of Mary and her sister Martha (John 11:1, 2). It was this family that put this small village on the map and gave it value to the Lord Jesus. It would be the scene of His greatest and fate-deciding miracle (John 11). It was His final stopping place on the way to the cross (Mark 11:11). It was where He brought His disciples before He left them (Luke 24:50). Their last sight of Him was at Bethany.
It was a village, a little less than two miles from Jerusalem on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. Nothing significant distinguished it. Its homes were likely rudimentary and humble. But there were hearts there that were noble.
In a unique way, Luke has been tracing for us the rejection of Christ in city after city, village after village. There was no room for Him in Bethlehem; parents had to find lodging outside the inn, possibly in an open field or in a stable. Nazareth rejected Him, seeking to cast Him over the brow of the hill. Capernaum, so favored and honored by His presence and the power that He evidenced there, did not want Him. The village of the Samaritans would not receive Him because they saw He was intent on reaching Jerusalem. Even Gadara chose the swine over Him. Shortly, the Pharisees will try, by intimidation, to rid Galilee of this Peasant Preacher (Luke 13:32-33). And finally, Jerusalem, the city of the Great King, will cast Him out.
Village after village did not receive Him. “He was despised and rejected of men” (Isa 53:3). How keenly He must have felt their hatred and rejection! He must have grieved over the choices being made: swine instead of Him; the fox who would destroy instead of the hen Who would protect. (ch 13:31-34).
But there was a home in Bethany, where there were hearts that did receive Him. The One Whom others rejected found a warm and ready reception in one home in Bethany. And how He graced that home! It was there that His words were eagerly received by Mary (Luke 10:39). It was here that His mighty work was displayed in raising Lazarus (John 11). It was here that worship was given (John 12). The home at Bethany was repaid many-fold for opening its doors to this rejected Man.
He found a place of reception; He made it a place of revelation. They welcomed Him and provided a meal for them; He provided a spiritual feast for them. He is never in debt to anyone.