“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”
– John 11:5
Sometimes we overlook the humanity of Jesus. In John 11, He is single and in His early thirties. In that day, most people married in their teens or early twenties. To be as old as Jesus and still single was unusual.
Today people are waiting longer than ever to marry. More than nine in ten people eventually marry, often in their late twenties for women and early thirties for men. The single years are often wasted on dating, relating, and fornicating rather than invested in worshipping, working, and ministering.
How did the single man Jesus relate to single women like the sisters Mary and Martha? Jesus loved them like sisters as Paul also admonishes Timothy to do (1 Timothy 5:2). Their relationship was not scandalous or sinful, but it was simple. Jesus’ itinerant ministry meant that He was basically homeless and often on the move (Matthew 8:20). When He was in the region, Jesus would often stop by their home to eat a meal, get some rest, and catch up with His friends Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus.
Being a single Christian is tough today. Our sick culture has basically two categories for relationships between single people: sexual or stranger. The Bible gives us a third category: sibling. The Bible often refers to Christians like a family. Just as we are born into a family with physical siblings we love, we are born again into the family of God with spiritual siblings to love.
The relationship between Jesus, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus is a wonderful and much needed example for healthy and godly relationships between single men and women.
Which Christian(s) feel like family to you? Why?