On His last trip to Jerusalem, Jesus met all kinds of people.
The relationships he had were very varied. He spoke to scribes and friends, sick and healthy people, the elderly and children.
From time to time He separated himself.
Then He took time to fellowship with His heavenly Father. (Eg Luke 11:1)
Several times He also took His disciples aside (Eg Luke 12:12)
But generally He was just among the people.
He shared their lives, their worries, their ups and downs, and showed them that He had time for them. It is worth testing our own lives against Jesus’ doings when He was here on earth.
In today’s Bible verses (Luke 10:38-42), we see Jesus visiting the sisters Mary and Martha, in Bethany, a small town close to Jerusalem. They and their brother Lazarus were among his best friends. (John 11:1, 12:1-3).
This event shows that Jesus felt at home with them.
He’s talking to Mary about all kinds of things she asked Him. She sits at His feet, like a student sits at the feet of his teacher, to listen to His teaching. (Compare Acts 22:3)
And she had a sister, by name Mary,
who took her seat at the Lord’s feet
and gave attention to his words.
She wanted to be taught. Unlike the Jewish rabbis, Jesus teaches this woman. With this He breaks the usual rules that exist for the interaction between men and women.
Meanwhile, Martha is busy with matters related to the meal.
But Martha had her hands full of the work of the house,
(Marta was busy serving Jesus)
and she came to Him and said,
Lord, is it nothing to you
that my sister has let me do all the work?
Say to her that she is to give me some help.
“Lord, don’t you mind at all that my sister will let me do all the work alone? Please tell her to come and help me!”
Martha is usually only portrayed as the woman who was busy serving Jesus, so she had no time to listen to Him. But there are also good things to say about her:
- She received Jesus at her home (Luke 10:38)
- She served Jesus (Luke 10:40, John 12: 2)
- She was the first to go to Jesus when she was in distress (John 11:20, 30)
- She had faith in Him (John 11: 21-22)
- She believed in the physical resurrection and in eternal life (John 11: 23-27)
- She recognized Jesus as the Christ and God’s Son (John 11:27)
- She brought Christ’s message to Mary (John 11:28)
Perhaps Martha had already asked her sister for help a few times, which is why she is not addressing Mary now, but talks over her head to Jesus.
“Lord, can’t you have my sister come and help me?” (Luke 10:40)
Like so many today, Martha was distracted by her duties, so she missed the most important. The message of Jesus.
How’s that for you? Are you also too busy with everything, so the most important thing escapes your attention?
Jesus, however, put everything in the right order.
In contrast to the “many things” that Martha is concerned about, He puts “one thing” that is really necessary first: listening to what He has to say. (Luke 10.39)
⁴¹But the Lord, answering, said to her,
“Martha, Martha, you are full of care
and troubled about such a number of things:
⁴²Little is needed, or even one thing only:
for Mary has taken that good part,
which will not be taken away from her.”
Pay attention! Jesus says nothing negative about her serving, but does indicate that it can be done a little less, so that she too could listen. There is no need to overdo it.
One thing is really necessary, and that is not the meal, but hearing the word of God.
Like Martha, Maria also had good points.
- She sat at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:39)
- She heard His word (Luke 10:39)
- She placed the most important first (Luke 10:42)
- She annointed Jesus (John 11: 2, 12: 3)
- She had faith in Him (John 11:32)
- She was one of the nine persons who fell before Him (John 11:32)
When we can listen to God’s word, everything else is only of minor importance. We humans set our own priorities, which we adhere to. But is listening to what the Lord has to say really our first priority?
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