Bible study, Jesus

Martha and Mary Part 2

Be sure to read Martha and Mary Part 1

Part 1 ended with the following question.

What exactly bothered Martha about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus?

I hope you take some time to ponder this and other questions that come to mind in this study. Sometimes we are quick to listen to someone explain when we are actually well equipped to read and learn on our own. If you are a believer you are not alone because Jesus is present with you. The same Jesus that spoke to Martha is with you today. Pray that you will see and understand what Jesus has for you to learn as you dig into the story of Martha and Mary.

Please read the passage again and then share your answer about what was bothering Martha.


Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”     Luke 10:38-42


We already saw in Part 1 that Martha’s upset was no slight irritation but the overflow of a deeper problem. The way she spoke to Jesus suggests the possibility that she was not only disturbed by the many things and what her sister was doing but she may have even been upset with Jesus.

Martha and Mary (2)

Martha was in an agitated state when she observed her sister sitting at the feet of Jesus.


Sitting at the master’s feet was the place of a student

The fact that Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus made it absolutely clear that she was a devoted disciple.

I am well aware that it is not popular in today’s culture to say outright that Martha was wrong. But she was. I’m not sure why so many who write about Martha seem to feel compelled to defend her.

Jesus corrected Martha and heartily approved of Mary’s choice. There was nothing vague about the response that Jesus gave to Martha.

Martha must have been taken by surprise when Jesus answered her. What do you think she might have felt and thought about what Jesus said?

Let’s dive a little deeper into the upset about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus.

N. T. Wright on Mary and Martha from Women’s service in the Church: The Biblical Basis

Most of us grew up with the line that Martha was the active type and Mary the passive or contemplative type, and that Jesus is simply affirming the importance of both and even the priority of devotion to him. That devotion is undoubtedly part of the importance of the story, but far more obvious to any first-century reader, and to many readers in Turkey, the Middle East and many other parts of the world to this day would be the fact that Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet within the male part of the house rather than being kept in the back rooms with the other women. This, I am pretty sure, is what really bothered Martha; no doubt she was cross at being left to do all the work, but the real problem behind that was that Mary had cut clean across one of the most basic social conventions. It is as though, in today’s world, you were to invite me to stay in your house and, when it came to bedtime, I were to put up a camp bed in your bedroom. We have our own clear but unstated rules about whose space is which; so did they. And Mary has just flouted them. And Jesus declares that she is right to do so. She is ‘sitting at his feet’; a phrase which doesn’t mean what it would mean today, the adoring student gazing up in admiration and love at the wonderful teacher. As is clear from the use of the phrase elsewhere in the NT (for instance, Paul with Gamaliel), to sit at the teacher’s feet is a way of saying you are being a student, picking up the teacher’s wisdom and learning; and in that very practical world you wouldn’t do this just for the sake of informing your own mind and heart, but in order to be a teacher, a rabbi, yourself. Like much in the gospels, this story is left cryptic as far as we at least are concerned, but I doubt if any first-century reader would have missed the point.   – N. T. Wright

Paul sat at the feet of Gamaliel (see Acts 22:3)

Jesus said “Mary has chosen”

Chosen is not difficult for us to understand. It means to choose, select, choose for oneself.

So there was a choice, an option and it was available to Martha as well as Mary.

What did Mary choose?

We have the same choice today. It does not matter what your gifts, talents, interests, personality traits are— it is a choice

This relationship is offered and available to followers of Jesus but not forced upon anyone.

Whole-hearted devotion and a life of discipleship or something less? The choice is yours.

The next time the Bible mentions the sisters is found in John 11:1-11

Don’t skip reading that important portion of scripture! I am not covering it at all in this study. But please don’t miss it!


Let’s close this study by reading another time Jesus comes to visit in John 12:1-8

Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”     -John 12:1-8 NKJV

(The anointing at Bethany is a subject worthy of a separate study but we will touch on it briefly here as it is relevant to the current study of Martha and Mary)

Notice that Martha is again serving but perhaps not overwhelmed by the activity like she was before. I like to think that this time she chose to serve something simple prepared in advance allowing undistracted time with Jesus.

Jesus was again approving of Mary and defending her actions.

Mary is again quietly keeping her focus on Jesus. As a devoted disciple, she had listened, learned and believed what Jesus taught. She had followed His teaching so closely that her belief spilled over into this worshipful act of anointing Jesus.

What do you notice about Mary in this portion of scripture?

What is Jesus saying to you through these verses in Luke 10:38-42 and John 12:1-8?

Please share your comments below

Here is a blog post that contains some practical help for living daily as a devoted disciple of Jesus – Constant Prayer

You can live every day with The King!


Martha and Mary 

  • Luke 10:38-42
  • John 11:1-44
  • John 12:1-11

Martha Mary (1)

 

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Bible study

Martha and Mary Part 1

Please join me in a Bible study of Luke 10:38-42

Start by reading the passage in your Bible and perhaps in more than one version.


Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

-Luke 10:38-42  NKJVMartha and Mary (1)Now let’s focus in on verse 40

The NKJV says Martha was distracted. Distracted is a word in common use today but it is not very specific.

Reading the verse in other versions may be helpful in getting a clearer picture.

The best way to dig a little further is to find the original Greek word used in this verse.

Step one is to go to the KJV where we find the word used is cumbered

Here are verses 40-42 in the KJV

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.

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.


You can do some quick and easy research here at Blue Letter Bible

The first thing you find is the number in Strong’s which leads to the Greek word. Click on the number and you should find yourself  HERE

Strong’s  4049

Greek word  – perispaō

verb

Cumber: lit., “to draw around” (peri), “draw away, distract,” is used in the Passive Voice in the sense of being over-occupied about a thing, to be “cumbered,”

Interesting that this word is only used once. We don’t have any other verses with the same word to compare with Luke 10:40. However, there is one instance of a similar word used in Luke 13:7. See this in the Blue Letter Bible Follow the Strong’s number 2673 to the Greek word

Isn’t it great that you can so easily access the original words, their meanings, and additional information? Take advantage often of the free resources at Blue Letter Bible



Read what John Wesley wrote about this portion of scripture

verse 40 – Martha was encumbered – The Greek word properly signifies to be drawn different ways at the same time, and admirably expresses the situation of a mind, surrounded (as Martha’s then was) with so many objects of care, that it hardly knows which to attend to first.

verse 41 – Martha, Martha – There is a peculiar spirit and tenderness in the repetition of the word: thou art careful, inwardly, and hurried, outwardly.

from John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes


from Matthew Henry’s Commentary

  • She was cumbered about it; periespato-she was just distracted with it. Note, Whatever cares the providence of God casts upon us we must not be cumbered with them, nor be disquieted and perplexed by them. Care is good and duty; but cumber is sin and folly.
  • She was then cumbered about much serving when she should have been with her sister, sitting at Christ’s feet to hear his word. Note, Worldly business is then a snare to us when it hinders us from serving God and getting good to our souls.



It seems clear from only a quick study of verse 40 that Martha was not simply concerned about cooking a meal for her guests that day. She was overwhelmed by a number of cares and worries perhaps every day. Seeing her sister sitting at the feet of Jesus instead of joining her in the meal preparation was the tipping point for Martha. She became so upset that she went to Jesus about it. Her question to Jesus clearly revealed her anxious state of mind. Without realizing it, she had done the best thing she could have possibly done in her situation. Anxious, stressed and overwhelmed? Call on Jesus!

Jesus answered Martha by first explaining her true state of mind. He described her as worried and troubled by many things. This revealed the truth of a deeper problem that Martha may not have even realized herself.  What Jesus said to Martha removes all possibility that Martha’s irritation that day was simply a little stress caused by the desire to serve a nice meal.

We do not know what all the cares, troubles and worries were that surrounded Martha. Daily responsibilities and financial concerns connected to maintaining her home may have contributed to the load she carried. These alone could have been heavy on her mind.

We may not be able to determine the many things that distracted Martha on that particular day but we can definitely know where her focus should have been.

  • Martha was distracted from  ____________.
  • What exactly bothered Martha about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus?

To be continued…

Meanwhile please research Luke 10:38-42 yourself and then come back and share your discoveries in the comments below? Love to know your thoughts!

Don’t miss part 2 of Martha and Mary

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Martha Mary

 

 

Bible

Call To Me

This post is super short and to the point but contains life-changing truth!

God desires to reveal hidden things to those who will ask Him.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  – Jeremiah 33:3

Jesus said,  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8

Please notice in these Bible verses there is a part for us to do and it comes first.

Call

ASK

God wants to answer you

Call to Him today!

Jer. 33_3 (1)

Bible

First Garden

One is nearer God’s Heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on Earth.

The quote above is a line from the poem “God’s Garden” written by Dorothy Frances Gurney. You have probably seen it on plaques and other items if you’ve ever visited a garden shop.

Gardening

Most people enjoy and have some degree of appreciation for gardens even if they’ve never had their own garden. But planting and caring for a garden is an entirely different experience. One that can only be known by doing it yourself.

There are so many amazing things to discover through gardening but the connection between God and gardens is the basis for all of it. This is not my opinion but actually documented in the Word of God.

First review what happened when God spoke on the third day of creation.

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.  And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day.

– Genesis 1:11-13

Now read what God did later in chapter 2

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden,

– Genesis 2:8-9

These are two different events in Genesis.

  • God spoke and all types of vegetation grew on the earth.
  • God planted a garden.

1557320792698_verse_image

The very first garden was planted by God.

Ponder that while you are in your garden today.

Love to know your thoughts about God and gardening.

Please leave a comment below.

Every Day with the King in a garden

 

 

 

Bible, Faith

Longing

The last blog post was about how life is well Worth Living when you are walking with Jesus.

BUT

Does this mean we should be completely content and satisfied?

Or is it good to have a kind of discontentment that urges us to seek something more?

Do you ever find yourself longing?


“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

– C.S. Lewis from The Weight of Glory 

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death…”

-C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.    – 2 Corinthians 4:18 HCSB

Hebrews chapter 11 tells us a little about some of the people of faith who lived during the time of the Old Testament. They were people who lived with a beautiful longing. Read the entire chapter (see link below) to get the whole picture and then notice verses 13-16.

Hebrews 11

All these whom we have mentioned maintained their faith but died without actually receiving God’s promises, though they had seen them in the distance, had hailed them as true and were quite convinced of their reality. They freely admitted that they lived on this earth as exiles and foreigners. Men who say that mean, of course, that their eyes are fixed upon their true home-land. If they had meant the particular country they had left behind, they had ample opportunity to return. No, the fact is that they longed for a better country altogether, nothing less than a heavenly one. And because of this faith of theirs, God is not ashamed to be called their God for in sober truth he has prepared for them a city in Heaven.

– Hebrews 11:13-16  J.B. Phillips New Testament

May we never find ourselves so comfortable and satisfied that we lose the longing! 

_If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were ma (2)

 

Bible, Jesus

Worth Living

What makes life worth living?

There are so many possible answers to that question.

For many people this question doesn’t have an answer. Some find themselves drifting from one day to the next without a reason or true purpose. Others have something in their life that makes them feel at least for the moment that it’s all worthwhile. But when circumstances change, health fails, friends leave … life disappoints— then what???

If you are depending on yourself, another person, career, activity, possessions or anything else to make life worth living you are going to find yourself devastated one day. Any and all these things are going to fail to provide a life worth living. Like a dream or an illusion what once seemed so real and lasting will simply be memory.

BUT JESUS SAID

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). – John 10:10 AMPC

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
-John 10:27 NKJV

I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. – John 14:6 AMPC

Jesus makes life worthwhile!

Life is worth the living because Jesus lives

Do you want to know Jesus? You can start right now. He is waiting for you.

If you have access to a Bible start reading in the gospel of John. Here is a link to read the Bible online – https://www.biblegateway.com/

Matt Maher – Because He Lives (Amen) [Official Lyric Video]

Live your life every day with the King and you will have a life worth living!

Bible, prayer

God Is Limitless

Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
    and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.
 Again and again they tested God’s patience
    and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
 They did not remember his power
    and how he rescued them from their enemies.

-Psalm 78:40-42  NLT

So much becomes clear when we understand the truth of Who we are talking to!

Remember God is always and forever limitless!

Here is a great reminder from Esther Walker.

Bible, Bible study, Jesus

John 21:22

John 21:22

Sharing this scripture today as a follow up to the recent post – Envy

Please take a moment to read chapter 21 of the gospel of John. After reading the chapter go back to look at verses 21 and 22.

Here is a link to the chapter on the Blue Letter Bible website → John 21  If you take some time to explore the website, you will discover many tools to help you in your study of the Bible. The page I’ve linked to is the chapter in the KJV because it is the easiest place to start for accessing the tools. However, at the top of the page, you will see where you can easily choose another Bible translation.


Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.     John 21:22  KJV

Jesus said to him, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.    NKJV

Jesus said to him, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me!    – AMPC

If I want him to remain until I come, Jesus answered, what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.     -HCSB

If it is my wish, returned Jesus, for him to stay until I come, is that your business, Peter? You must follow me.   – J.B. Phillips

 

If you have read the chapter, you see that Jesus is speaking in response to Peter’s curiosity about John’s future. I don’t know about you, but I can easily follow Peter’s thinking that led him to ask about John in this chapter. I have often found myself wondering about other people’s situations and life story. This is especially likely to happen when things appear to be unfair. This is also the place where wondering and seemingly innocent questions quickly lead to comparison and envy.

John 21 contains the answer for when our focus shifts from following Jesus to wondering about what is going on with other people.

Interesting that this is the last time Jesus speaks in the gospel of John.

 

what is that to thee_ follow thou me.1 (2)

 

Bible, prayer

Envy

What comes to mind when you think of envy?

Read the definition here – Envy

Below is a powerful 4 part series on the subject of envy from John Eldredge’s excellent podcast. I personally found it to be a fascinating discussion and also extremely convicting. Can’t imagine there is another resource on the subject that compares to this series. So take some time to listen and then share your thoughts on envy by leaving a comment below.

 

 

 

Bible, Quiet time

Secret Place

Many phrases are used to refer to the abiding life but one of my favorites is the secret place. One of the most well-known Psalms begins by describing the life of those who live this way.

Please read Psalm 91:1-2  in your choice of Bible versions. Below are the AMPC and YLT which seem particularly helpful in a study of this portion of scripture.


He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him, I lean and rely and in Him I [confidently] trust!    – Psalm 91:1-2 AMPC

He who is dwelling In the secret place of the Most High, In the shade of the Mighty lodgeth habitually, He is saying of Jehovah, `My refuge, and my bulwark, my God, I trust in Him,’      – Psalm 91:1-2  Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)


Are you dwelling in the secret place? Are you living every day with the King?

An excerpt from Matthew Henry’s Commentary explains a little about this kind of life.

 …It is the privilege and comfort of those that do so that they abide under the shadow of the Almighty; He shelters them and comes between them and every thing that would annoy them, whether storm or sunshine. They shall not only have an admittance, but a residence, under God’s protection; He will be their rest and refuge forever…

-from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Psalm 91

Read more from the commentary –  HERE


I thank You for the bitter things

They’ve been a friend to grace,

They’ve driven me from the paths of ease

To storm the secret place.

I thank You for the friends who’ve failed

To meet my soul’s deep need;

They’ve driven me to the Savior’s feet

Upon His love to feed.

I’m grateful too, through all life’s way

No one could satisfy,

And so I’ve found in You alone

My rich, my full supply!

– Florence White Willett

Florence White Willett quote