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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


6. Jesus in the Home of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42)

LUKE 10:38-42
38 It happened as they went on their way, he entered into a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me.” 41 Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

In the previous passage, Christ showed us how loving God without loving our brother man is of no avail. Now we are about to hear the contrary: Helping others is necessary, but meditating on the word of God is also necessary. We need an attentive ear to the voice of the Holy Spirit that we may know the time and the place required to help others, also where and when we must keep quiet to listen to the word of God. Christ has fulfilled both of these things, for he healed and preached in the world, and remained in communication with his Father at all times, as Paul wrote, “Pray without ceasing”, even during everyday work.

When Jesus entered a certain village, he walked toward a house in which two faithful sisters lived. They were Lazarus’ sisters. Martha was cumbered with serving the guests and providing hospitality, while Mary sat with the guests, and listened to the gospel of Christ, for her soul hungered for the word of God.

Martha, overburdened with all the preparation for the meal, complained about her sister, and said to the Lord, “Why do you let my sister sit idle at your feet, while I am alone exhausting myself to prepare everything? Tell her to get up and help me, so that she may stop her meditations, and help me.

But Jesus reproved Martha, and said to her, “Martha, you are working hard to offer us food. Be quiet, and let me first give you blessing and spiritual gifts. I am the Provider, and no one else. I know your need. Certainly, the human body needs some care, but the soul is more important. Now I, Savior of the souls, am present, do only what is necessary that you too may have time to listen to the gospel of salvation and pray.

Mary listened only, and prayed. Nevertheless, Jesus blessed her, for she observed that one thing only was important, that is Jesus Christ. Everything in the world is passing away, even our perishable bodies. But salvation in Christ continues. Thus, man, you need not a house, clothes, job, health, or school, but Jesus first, without whom you will perish. Seek first the Savior of the world and his righteousness, and all your other needs shall be added to you.

It is wrong to say that Mary is better than Martha, since both of them loved and honored God, and needed to adjust their attitudes. Martha was in need of quietness to listen, and Mary was in need of the motive that would induce her to act in a practical way. It goes without saying that listening to the word of God is essential. Jesus honored Martha, especially in (John 11:5), where we find the strange statement: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” He mentioned the name of Martha before the names of her brother and sister, for she was the most significant person at home. She put the gospel of Christ above her daily work, gaining from it power for faith, and giving it an important place in her life.

How frequently do you listen to the word of God, and bring it into effect in your service?

PRAYER: O Lord, we thank you for you come to us in your word. Teach us how to listen to you with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our minds. Give our heart heavenly power, and our bodies heavenly peace that we may be revived and able to do our necessary work guided by your Holy Spirit.

QUESTION 78: Why did Jesus reproach the hardworking Martha, and praised Mary for listening to him?


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