This reflection on Luke 10:38-42 uses the examples of two women to help us consider the meaning of discipleship.
38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Mary and Martha in the Gospels are shown to be close companions of Jesus. In Luke 10:38-42 we find Jesus being welcomed into their home. Jesus’ presence provokes different reactions; Mary sits at his feet listening to his words, whilst Martha is distracted by the tasks of a host. Martha is affronted by Mary’s choice and believes Jesus should be too, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.” (v 40b)
How would you react if Jesus came to visit you? Are you more of a Mary or a Martha?
Martha’s reaction to Jesus’ visit is an acceptable and a predictable one for her culture, but even so, Jesus does not share Martha’s view. He says to her “there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (v 42). Through these simple words Jesus reveals his desire for Martha to sit with him above doing things for him. By spending time at the feet of Jesus, absorbing his life transforming words, attitudes and perspectives are altered, which in turn affect what, is done in service for him. This is the pattern of discipleship.
This passage reveals that Jesus considers Mary and Martha to be his disciples, an act that would have challenged the practices of his day. Jesus is shown to value women, calling them to sit with and spend time with him.
Loving saviour who invites us to come, sit and listen,
May we hear your voice, learn from your teaching
and change our hearts in response to your love.
Thank you for challenging cultural norms,
For valuing women as your disciples,
And being generous with your time.
May we reflect you in what we do