7660 - Martha and Mary


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We pray God will give us discernment that we may understand how His Word applies to our lives.

As we continue our study through the book of Luke we come to Luke 10:38-42. In this passage Jesus visits in the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, although he is not mentioned.

Listen to these verses as I read:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

This scene in the life of Jesus occurs less than six months before the crucifixion. Many scholars of the Word point to the familiarity described and conclude that this could not be the first encounter between Jesus and this family. Likely they knew each other from some previous contact.

And although this is their first introduction in Scripture it certainly is not their last.

This is the same Martha and Mary who appealed to Jesus when Lazarus died, as recorded in John 11. They are the same people who were included in the dinner crowd in John 12, six days before the final Passover in Jesus’ life.

Some speculate that Martha was the oldest sister. This could account for her concern that all the details were in order.

One great lesson to be learned from this scene is the importance of intimate time with Jesus. Here Jesus was in the flesh as a guest in this home.

Martha was distracted by all the preparations. She was drawn away from personally interacting and fellowshipping with Jesus. In fact, she was agitated to the point of making an appeal for Jesus to get involved in their affairs, and to instruct Mary to get up and help with the preparations.

Without openly censuring Martha, Jesus lays out the contrast taking place. He observes that Martha is upset about many things; thus, she has not entered into enjoying the presence of Jesus. She has not shown interest in what Jesus is relating from life. They have had no communion, no bonding.

On the other hand, Mary has been seated at the feet of Jesus, hanging onto every word he speaks. She is involved in connecting to the wisdom coming from the Son of God, the Savior of the World.

Martha was not ignoring Jesus because she did not believe or know about Him. When Jesus came to give life back to Lazarus some months later, Martha was bold in saying (John 11:27): “I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

The best explanation of the situation is what Scripture says: “Martha was distracted.”

Jesus concluded the lesson with the words, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

These ladies, Martha and Mary, were sisters but their dispositions were so very different.

Martha is a woman of action. Mary is a woman of relationships. Martha is pushy. Mary is compliant. Martha showed her love by preparing a meal. Mary was profuse in personally expressing her love as she anointed the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume (Jn. 12:3) before his death.

God makes all of us uniquely. We are not like others. We should not seek to be like others.

Although Jesus is not physically with us today, He is always with us. We are never alone. He is here.

But each child of God should be eager and hungry to fellowship and relate to our Lord. We should have ready praise and thanksgiving to express to the One who has lavishly blessed us at His own personal expense. This is the “better part” and we should let nothing, not even the tyranny of the urgent, rob us of this blessing.