October 16 – Luke 10:38-42

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Luke 10:38-42 – Mary and Martha

The expert of the law had asked Jesus the question in Luke 10:25 – “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer was bigger than simply responding to a neighbor in need and Luke continues to answer the question in this next story. Rather than a parable, though, Jesus teaches through his interaction with friends.

He had continued his journey with the disciples and came to a village where Mary and Martha lived. We know from other gospel accounts that these two sisters lived in Bethany and were good friends of Jesus. He spent a great deal of time with them when he was in Jerusalem.

Martha opened her home to Jesus and proceeded to do the things she knew would make him comfortable, while Mary sat down at his feet to listen to what he had to say.

The teaching behind this story is so obvious to all of us, but is so often neglected. The person who loves God finds him or herself preoccupied with his word … preoccupied with Jesus.

It is much too easy to be seduced by the practical things in life which divert our attention from God. Those are the things we easily justify and demand that the Lord help us with. Martha was furious that her sister wouldn't help get things ready for someone as important as Jesus. “Tell her to help me!” she demanded.

Our demands that Jesus help us get through the busyness of life deflect our attention from the things that are truly important … a preoccupation with Jesus himself.

The parable of the Good Samaritan taught about the relationship between people. It was Jesus’ way of teaching the importance of being a good neighbor. The story of his time with Mary and Martha emphasized the importance of the vertical aspect – loving God with all that we have. Both are what we must do to inherit eternal life.