As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman named Martha welcomed Him and made Him feel quite at home. Luke 10: 38-42
This much-preached-about little interlude is an eye-opener to the character, gifts and attitudes of these two sisters and the way they expressed their worship of Jesus. Martha appears to be the older sister and also the "boss" in the home. At this stage, Lazarus doesn't feature at all.
Jesus seems to have treated this home in Bethany as a haven. It was close to Jerusalem and its occupants were open to Him and His message. He loved them and they loved Him. He often spent time with them, opening the truths of the kingdom to their willing hearts.
Both sisters were worshippers but they expressed their worship differently, according to their personalities. Mary loved to be with Jesus, sitting in His presence among the disciples regardless of protocol, ignoring the taboos of her culture. Jesus welcomed her and valued her closeness to Him.
Martha expressed her worship by serving Jesus and His disciples. She was the practical one, preparing a meal for the Master and His disciples. Both sisters were worshipping Jesus in the way they expressed their worship best.
The trouble arose when Martha expected Mary to be like her. Her worship was tainted with fleshly irritation with her sister for not serving Jesus her way. She had forgotten that true worship is doing whatever you do as unto the Lord, giving thanks to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus. That makes the whole of life an expression of worship if it is done to Him and for Him.
Jesus' rebuke was not about what Martha was doing but about how and why she was doing it. Was Jesus telling Martha that Mary's worship was better than hers? I don't think so. If He was, then He would be encouraging rivalry between the sisters.
What had Mary chosen that was better than Martha's choice? Was it not to focus on Jesus and not be troubled by her sisterís choices and actions? Had Martha chosen to work in the kitchen with the same joyous abandon as Mary's inactivity with Jesus, her worship would have been a positive experience for her and a true act of worship acceptable to the Master.
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