Luke 10:38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
Susie: According to the Gospel of John, Martha and Mary were the sisters of Lazarus, whom the Lord raised from the dead. They resided in the village of Bethany not far from Jerusalem.
John 11:11 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
Susan: Martha invited Jesus to be a guest in their home. As we will see, Martha was as busy as the characters in Beauty and the Beast as they were singing “Be our guest,” but definitely without their joy-filled attitude.
Luke 10:39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
Susie: While Martha was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to prepare an extravagant meal, Mary was sitting on the floor listening to Jesus.
The IVP New Testament Commentary Series as found at www.BibleGateway.com
This is reminiscent of the Jewish saying in m. `Abot 1:4: "Let your house be a meeting house for the Sages and sit amidst the dust of their feet and drink in their words with thirst."
Susan: Mary was hanging on His every word. She was dining on the Bread of His Presence and being refreshed by the Living Water.
Luke 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
Susie: Martha was doing nothing wrong per se. She was preparing a great meal for her guests. However, her attitude needed an adjustment. She fully expected that Jesus would rebuke Mary and have her get up to wait on the guests alongside her sister. I imagine Martha stomping through the chores and setting items down with more force than necessary because she feels Mary is not doing her share.
Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
Susan: Jesus tells Martha that she has let herself become overwhelmed about a multitude of things.
Susie: He does point out that she takes care to do them in an excellent manner, but she also allows the preparation and service of the meal to take priority over everything else.
Luke 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Susan: Martha was placing more importance on doing things for Jesus rather than being in His presence. Mary was soaking everything in by listening and observing in a posture of humility, sitting at His feet.
Susie: Jesus is not so much criticizing Martha as He is commending Mary for choosing to prioritize her time with Him.
Susan: Therefore, Jesus chose not to make Mary comply with societal expectations that she serve the guests alongside her sister. What Jesus desires is markedly different than what society dictates.
Susie: The Bible does not give us Martha’s response to Jesus’s mild rebuke. I hope she simplified her plans to make time to listen to Jesus with her sister.
Susan: I hope she didn’t return to the kitchen to pout and stew.
Ponder this and Apply it: Jesus was not using this to say that women get too caught up in housework. He was pointing out that we often have to choose between what is good and what is best. There are many obligations we have each day. However, we need to make time spent in God’s word and in prayer a priority. We may have to set aside something that is good to make time for God’s best for us. Evaluate your own priorities in light of what is best vs. what is good and make time to sit at the feet of the Savior.
Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.