As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what He taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to You that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”Luke 10:38-42
This story leaves us with more questions than answers initially. There are a number of things that don’t “feel right” about this pericope. Luke is the only one who records this particular happening. The other gospels (John in particular) gives us insight into how much time Jesus spends with this family. How much He loved them. Firstly Luke starts the story with them continuing on their way to Jerusalem, when they come to “a certain village”. Why does Luke call it “a certain village”? We all know it is Bethany where Mary, Martha and Lazarus live. Luke knows that for sure because of his thoroughness with the material. Yet he chooses to call it “a certain village”.
Bethany is located just 3 km from Jerusalem. (E_Sword ISBE tells us it is 15 furlongs from Jerusalem – a furlong is 201 meters). Well that is strange isn’t it? They are on a journey to Jerusalem and there is clearly still a long way to go at this point in Luke 10 but suddenly they are at Bethany, just on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Friends, that doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t fit. This requires some pondering. This story is clearly not placed in chronological sequence. Or they have made a trip to Jerusalem and have come back again. Why would Luke mask the fact that we are actually talking about Bethany by calling it “a certain village” instead?
Take note of Luke 17:11 – As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, He reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.
Well how curious!
Why too is the relationship with this family masked? Why does Luke give us no clue as to the preciousness and closeness of this family to Jesus. It seems a rather bland emotionless introduction to such a family who are close friends with Jesus. Where Luke writes “a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home”, it brings up questions. Oh really, is it Martha’s home? Does “welcomed Him in to her home” infer this is the first time they meet? If that is the case it is not such a significant meeting as to forge a close relationship with this family. We see no hint as we see in the other gospels that Jesus came back again and again to Bethany. This is a very bland first meeting if it is that.
Then setting other issues aside, we have this curious story about Martha and Mary, one busy tending to the needs of the guest, seemingly the owner of the house, the other sitting at Jesus feet. That is a strong image of one in discipleship mode and learning everything she can from the Master while He is there.
- Why should Martha be so upset about the situation?
- Why didn’t Mary help?
- And why is Martha complaining to Jesus?
It is almost like she is accusing Him of something.
Enough questions for the moment. Oh there are more elements that are worthy of comment. A curious little story indeed. One that numbers of people have issues with. Take time to think about the matters I have raised before we look at the story in the next Gem. Yes I know I have raised more questions than given you answers. Sometimes the Bible is like that.
If you stay busy thinking about right things, the devil won’t be able to fill your mind with wrong things.Joyce Meyer
The secret to fruitfulness is NOT adding. A farmer will tell you, the secret to fruitfulness is PRUNING! So what do you need to prune?Rick Godwin
Sometimes there are things you do that you know you’ll regret, but you still do it anyway because you’ll regret more if you don’t do it!!Diah Mintara
Trying to make everyone the same is an insult to our Creator.Rick Warren