Summary: Jesus having dinner with Mary and Martha
21. Who is Jesus?
January 23rd, 2010
Good and Better
Jesus primary ministry had been located in Galilee for some time. Now it has shifted south and His ministry is in full swing in Judea. His time here is limited as His mission is getting closer to completion. The shadow of the cross is growing and Jesus ministry is almost over. We are in Luke 10:38 where Jesus is going to spend some time with two wonderful women who connect to Him very differently.
Jesus arrives in Judea just before the Feast of Tabernacles where it is likely He bumped into an old friend, Lazarus. Lazarus went home and told his sisters: Mary and Martha, who instructed him to invite Jesus over for diner. During the feast Jesus is too busy to get away, but when it is over He makes His way to their home. Mary and Martha live in a town called Bethany which is about two miles east of Jerusalem near the Mount of Olives. This is the first time that Jesus is mentioned being in the home of Mary and Martha but it is certainly not the first time they met, they are already close friends. Now this is an important distinction. Jesus has lots of followers, people who have chosen Him. Mary and Martha are Jesus’ friends meaning Jesus chose them. He hand selected these people out of everyone to be His friends. So they have a unique relationship with Jesus.
Jesus spends most of His life ministering to others. Mary and Martha minister to Jesus. As He is traveling and teaching Jesus is homeless. So Mary and Martha open up their home to Jesus so that He has a place to stay. Mary and Martha are not public leaders is in the church, they serve Jesus from behind the scenes investing in Him as He invests in others. Even Jesus needed friends. He needed people who would invest in His life. Sometimes we think that leaders are like robots with energizer batteries. They can just go on and on forever. They cant. Leaders like everyone else need people who will pour into their lives. Traveling long distances even in a vehicle is exhausting. When you reach your destination you are tired, hungry, and ready for sleep. Jesus is traveling on foot. When He arrives the crowds who are all well rested and energized are waiting for Him eager to hear what He has to say. They want Jesus to pour into them. Mary and Martha know Jesus needs rest, so they provide for Him a refuge. They are not great Bible scholars or powerful leaders, they are just regular people who serve Jesus so that He can better serve others. Sometimes the greatest thing you can do for the kingdom of God is to play a supporting role, to pour into someone else’s life so that may do great things.
Last week we saw Jesus encounter an expert in Mosaic law where He dealt with the issue of choosing between good and bad. Where the real issue is not between the two but about doing what you know is right. There is a universal law that is ingrained in the hearts of man to know that some things are wrong and some are right. This is why every major civilization in history will have similar laws that regulate it. As human beings we are all capable of distinguishing between good and evil. A far greater challenge is choosing between good and best. Many in the church struggle with this. They have good hearts and a desire to do right before God. They do good work and good things but sometimes to the neglect of more important priorities. Just because it is good doesn’t mean it is what God is asking you to do.
Lk 10:38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. Lk 10:39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. Lk 10:40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Lk 10:41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, Lk 10:42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus wasn’t able to make it right away, but when He finally arrives Mary and Martha are getting dinner ready when Mary gets distracted. The world is full of distractions. There are no shortage of things in this life that demand our attention and prevent us from doing what we should. It is easy to get caught in the lure and appeal of sin and be taken in to its trap because the lie is very convincing. The real problem however is not just evil. Most people are capable of distinguishing between good and evil. The real challenge is learning to distinguish between what is good and what is better. If we look at the story of Mary and Martha we see that not all the distractions that we face are temptations to sin. Sometimes the most dangerous distractions are not bad things, but good things. Even good and Godly things can distract us from Jesus.