When I was given the passage for Bible study, and read that it was on Mary and Martha, I found myself saying ‘Really Lord? Must I really look at this scripture again? I have studied it for years... surely I can’t get anything else out of it’
But He told me to just look at it again.
So I did.
He told me to stop focusing on Mary or Martha, but on HIM.
He was approachable. That’s right - interruptible - and by a woman! And a single woman for that matter! If you know the culture then you know that this was taboo.
He was recognised as having authority over women. Martha, a stranger, appealed to Him because even though He was a guest in her house, He held the balance of power, He was the ‘head’.
I asked the question ‘why this house’ and ‘how did He happen upon this house?’ The answer is found arlier in the passage, when He sent out two of His Disciples to find a house of peace, and to eat whatever food was given to them.... hence the house of Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus.
Martha wasn’t all bad; she recognised Him, welcomed Him and His men in, prepared food to serve - she had a gift of discernment and a servant heart...
I think Jesus addresses in her the need to be a ‘Kingdom thinker’, and that when she does that it won’t ever be taken away from her - comparing herself to Mary WILL.
It reiterated to me that this world and all of it’s enforced traditions, obligations and expectations will be surpassed by keeping our eyes fixed on the prize - Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. I don’t think Martha’s judgement call was wrong, but perhaps untimely and she wasn’t prioritising the important things - she invited Him in not only to serve Him - She would have known He was a Rabbi, and what a Rabbi teaches, it was considered an honour to have a Rabbi in your home.
Perhaps Martha thought that he was like other Rabbi’s and needed to be fed and served, but Jesus showed that He was not interested in the Earthly expectations of men on women, or the pressures of society to meet a certain standard in mens eyes, but right here, in this moment, Jesus elevates women to an equal status with men - ‘sit and be taught by me, be single minded, lay aside the worries and demands on you and just linger in My presence......’
After reading and studying this scripture a hundred times since salvation, I finally see Jesus - not the traditionally complaining Martha, or the accused lazy sister - but the man who came to bring salvation to the world - His words are worth listening to and my choice to choose Him over every expectation on me will never be taken away.
He is my priority.