Summary: A lesson about choices in Christian living.
IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS
INTRODUCTION: To come face to face with Jesus is a dream every real Christian shares. To gaze into His eyes, to feel the power of His presence and the purity of His soul, to have Him speak just one word in our hearing – how great would that experience be? How changed would our lives be? It would make us one of the elect few who were given such a privilege. In Luke 10, we meet to women, sisters, who were given that blessing and from their actions in His presence we are given a lesson. READ TEXT This encounter with Jesus is all about Choices, and from this text we see that there are two.
I. THE PHYSICAL CHOICE
A. This is the choice Martha made. You see custom in her day demanded a meal for a guest, so she set herself about the task of preparing one. Yet Jesus was not looking for someone to feed Him, but for someone whom He could feed.
1. Scripture says that she was distracted by all the preparations of cooking and serving the meal. The Greek word used here for "distracted" literally tells us that she was "pulled away in many different directions." In fact she was so pulled in those different directions that it made her irritable and contentious to the point she lashed out at her sister for staying with Jesus and leaving her all the work.
2. Now, before we get off in the wrong direction, let’s pause and notice that Martha was indeed attempting to serve Jesus. I believe her intentions were good and that she truly desired to make Him welcome in her home, but we need to realize that good intentions do not always produce good results, or good choices.
3. Martha was, as Warren Wiersbe says, attempting to serve two masters: custom and Jesus. He goes on to say that if serving Jesus makes us difficult to live with then something is terribly wrong with our service! Also if we are choosing custom over Jesus there is something wrong with our choosing.
4. To this end notice what Jesus said in addressing her choice, "Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed…" Many things, many distractions, are all too common in our lives as well.
B. Sometimes we find ourselves in Martha’s place – running in all manner of directions, falling all over ourselves to meet a custom or a tradition, all the while missing the "one thing that is needed."
1. Micah 6:6-8
2. Matthew 23:23,24
3. Luke 9:59-62
4. Luke 8:14
II. THE SPIRITUAL CHOICE
A. This is the choice Mary made. In the eyes of some, she could be criticized because she chose not to bring out the china and the potato casserole. But she wasn’t being lazy, rather I suspect she made her choice based on something she saw in the presence of the Master.
1. Maybe it was something is His nature that made her abandon the kitchen, or maybe it was the gleam in His eye that any good teacher gets when he is afforded the opportunity to teach a new student. But whatever it was it moved her to be still in His presence.
2. The text tells us that she sat at His feet, listening to His every word. This was more than just pulling up a chair, as we would think of today. This was symbolic of recognizing authority and surrendered oneself to instruction. The Greek word translated "listening" in this text literally means "to absorb, to give rapt attention."
3. Something interesting to notice is that Mary is mentioned three times in the Gospels and each time she is at the feet of Jesus. John 11:32 – she fell at His feet when He came to raise Lazarus her brother. John 12:3 – she is found anointing the feet of Jesus with fragrant oil and wiping His feet with her hair. And then here in Luke 10.
B. Each time, it was a spiritual choice and a symbol of surrender to the Master. And Jesus said in Luke 10:42 that Mary had "chosen what was better and it will not be taken from her." The choice was hers to make and hers alone. She was responsible for it, it belongs to her, therefore nothing or no one can rob her of it and the blessings that come with it.
1. The same is true for us. When we choose the spiritual, choose to serve Jesus, it is our choice. No one else is responsible and no one can steal that decision from us. So, the lesson we so desperately need to learn is that what we do with Jesus is far more important that what we do for Jesus. It’s all about the choice.