What Happens In The Story Of Mary And Martha
appear multiple times in the Gospels. Their brother Lazarus gets risen from the dead, and according to the Gospel of John, it was Mary who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume.
However, the most famous story of Mary and Martha comes in Luke 10, when Jesus and his disciples are traveling to Jerusalem and come to the sisters home. While a meal is being prepared, Jesus starts teaching and Mary sits at his feet, listening . Martha is apparently also listening but distracted by the meal preparation and gets irritated that Mary isnt pitching in. Martha goes to Jesus and says, Lord, doesnt it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me .
Jesus response was unexpected. Rather than tell Mary to help, Jesus says, Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are neededor indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her .
What Was Martha’s Role In The Bible
While its easy for modern Western readers to see Martha as a wet blanket, we need to recognize that Martha was doing what was expected of her. Ancient Roman or ancient Jewish societies generally didnt treat women well. Educational opportunities were limited, with few women receiving any kind of religious training or apprenticeship in any trade. Very few women had professional jobs Lydia the purple cloth seller in Acts 16 is a notable exception, and she lived in a wealthy Greek city, the kind of place that works by being cosmopolitan.
As a rule, women in Marthas world were expected to rely on their families or husbands to get bywhich is why writers like E. Randolph Richards and Tim Harlow have noted the Samaritan woman at the well with five past husbands was not necessarily a harlot. In a world where disease killed many before their time, and men could easily divorce women for not producing children, the Samaritan woman may have just gone from one relationship to another because that was how she survived. Women were valued for being good wives, keeping the house, and having children. In that light, its not surprising that Marthas first instinct at Jesus visit was to make sure the dinner was taken care of. Being the good hostess, the good cook, the person behind the scenes who keeps everything goingthese were what most people valued Martha for.
Martha Was A Woman Of Great Faith
We often give Martha a hard time because of the incident in Luke 10. But when you compare that story to another mention of Mary and Martha in the Bible, what you see is that Martha had a real gift of hospitality. What we often dont recognize is that Martha also had great faith and was sure of who Jesus was. Lets go back to John 11 and I want you to pay attention to this exchange between Martha and Jesus.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
“Lord, Martha said to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. Martha answered, I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this? Yes, Lord, she replied, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world. John 11:20-27
When you think about Mary and Martha, we should acknowledge both of these women for their great faith. They were both committed to the cause of Christ they were both loved by Jesus, and they were both true believers. These women were friends of Jesus and should be celebrated because clearly, they held a special place in his heart.
What Can We Learn From Mary And Martha
We probably all have a bit of both Mary and Martha inside of us.
Our priorities, however, matter. It is essential that we make time to sit at the feet of Jesus!
Do not let our busy lives and acts of service get in the way of spending time in His Word.
Anxiety doesnt solve problems Jesus does.
Acts of service/hospitality are a mark of discipleship. But they should come from a heart overflowing with Jesus love which we develop by studying His Word. Fill up, listen and learn, and grow strong in His Word.
The story of Mary and Martha shows us two women who Jesus loved dearly. But He would rather have you sitting at His feet while He feeds you before you go out in the world to preform acts of service in His name.
May we see from this story He desires the worship of Mary and the work of Martha in the correct balance!
Blessings of Balance!
A Prayer After Reading About Mary And Martha
Father, help me learn to cherish and make time to simply sit at Your feet and be in Your presence. At the same time, Lord, show me how to live a life of integrity in which I am a woman of my word. Teach me how to discipline my steps and invest my time in a way that pleases You and honors the plan You have for my life. Only You can bring a holy balance to my life as I surrender my agenda and every priority to Your perfect plan. I do that right now. In Jesus name, Amen.
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What Is The Relationship Between Jesus And Mary And Martha
The gospels record that Jesus felt comfortable in the home of Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. The four were very close friends. In John 11:5, John writes that Jesus loved Martha and her sister, and Lazarus.
As we surmise, Jesus, Mary, and Martha had a deep friendship, including Lazarus their brother. In fact, while Jesus was in town during a trip, Mary anointed Christs feet with a very expensive ointment and wiped them with her own hair as indicated in John 12:1-8.
This ointment costs a years wage! While we dont know where or how she obtained this ointment, this is a clear picture and practical way of self-sacrificing obedience to Christ.
Would we dedicate an entire years wage to the Lord? While theres no commandment in scripture telling us to do so other than tithe at 10%, do we use our money for spiritual needs? Or for ministry? Our money is not our own therefore, we should always be available to donate our good fortune to the cause for Christ.
What Was Mary’s Role In The Bible
Like Martha, we dont learn too much about Marys personality from the Gospels accounts. What we do notice is that she clearly wanted to know God and wasnt afraid to show it when Jesus came.
As noted earlier, Mary and Martha lived in a society that didnt value teaching women or giving them much agency. Education for women would have often happened within the familybrothers teaching sisters things theyd learned from school, fathers passing on bits of religious teaching here and there. Therefore, the idea of a woman sitting at a rabbis feet to hear his teaching would have seemed bizarre, possibly blasphemous. The fact that Mary dared to do that shows she hungered for godly teaching and wasnt afraid to hide it. The acceptable thing in her society would have been to serve guests and get the gist of Jesus teaching from someone else later, perhaps asking Lazarus the next morning to sum up what Jesus said. Instead, Mary sat at Jesus feet to hear the truth directly from him.
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Craft Ideas For Martha And Mary With Jesus
How can we slow down, and make Christ the first priority in everything? What does it mean for us to make time for God? While children might not be able to understand the concept of time and schedule conflicts as well as adults, it is important to teach them the importance to make specific time for God. This craft relates to the story of Martha & Mary. Martha did nothing wrong but was distracted and busy serving others, while her sister listened to Jesus. A Put Christ First Doorhanger provides a visual prompt for prayer and thinking of God in all things. The Take Time for Jesus Clock, which expresses similar feelings, has a timing theme. You can use either one or both of these to place God at the center of your story.
Crafts: Crafts for this story should remind students to take time to sit and be still with Jesus, remembering that He is more important than any of our chores or lists. Consider one of these options:
- Make a Take Time for Jesus Clock by decorating a paper plate to look like a clock. Add items that would be examples of taking time for the Lord and attach paper clock hands with brad fasteners.
- Time out for God Door Hanger: Decorate a door hanger with reminders to slow down and sit still with Jesus. Add verses and captions and hang in a prominent place.
Two Distinct Personalities One Ideal
On another occasion both Mary and Martha ministered to Jesusâ temporal needs. These âformer-day Saintsâ were dedicated homemakers. Relief Society General President Barbara Winder states that âevery woman is a homemaker. â¦ There is an art to being a homemaker. For ourselves and for our families, it is important that we have a sanctuaryâa place of refuge away from the world where we feel comfortable and where, if others come, they, too, can feel comfortable.â
Jesus apparently felt comfortable in this home in Bethany. He chose to be there the last week of his mortal existence. It seems that both Mary and Martha prepared the food this time Martha again served Jesus, and also Lazarus, who sat at the table with him. It was customary in those days to care for the feet of travelers, and since Jesus had journeyed from the wilderness, Mary saw to his comfort by anointing his feet with a costly ointment.
Just as Mary and Martha had distinct personalities, so are each of us individuals with our own strengths, weaknesses, and talents. As with Mary and Martha, it is often easy for us to judge others, and even ourselves, in unfair light. We need to learn the lesson these two sisters teach us: we need balance in our lives. While we are to perform the necessary tasks, we need also to seek the âgood partâ and learn the truths of the gospel.
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Serving Jesus At Her Home
The first mention of Martha in the Bible is found in Luke 10. She is in her home and hosting a meal for Jesus and the disciples.
Jesus was a close friend of Martha and her siblings. Scripture says that Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus .
On this day, Martha was bustling about preparing the meal and trying to be the hostess with the mostest for her honored guests. Her sister, Mary, however, sat down to listen to Jesus, which irked Martha to no end.
Scripture says that Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made , and she, in her anger and possibly, stress, snapped at Jesus saying Lord, dont you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!.
Oooh boy! Can you imagine talking to the King of Kings in this way???
She tells the Lord that a) He doesnt care about her and actually gave Him a command to make Mary help her! Woah!
Getting wrapped up in her to-do list, she turned her focus away from the our Savior.
Jesus, so kind, so compassionate, knew her heart and that she was worried and troubled. He calmly told her that she neednt worry about all of the preparations and that spending time with Him was all that was needed, as Mary had chosen to do.
Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are neededor indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
Final Thoughts On The Mary And Martha Story
Some of us tend to be more like Martha, while some of us resemble Mary. We should imbibe the qualities of both the sisters. We must not let our busy lives and acts of service distract us from spending time with Jesus and listening to His word. Jesus admonished Martha for being worried and upset, and not for serving. Though service is a good thing, sitting at Jesus feet and listening to His teachings is best. Always remember that listening, learning, and growing strong in the Word of God are most important.
The Mary and Martha Story teaches us that our stories are different. Each one of us has our own story to live, and we do not share the same ending. We should never compare our story to another person. Only the author of our stories is the same person, Jesus Christ. The Mary and Martha story inspires us to align our priorities and choices to our true inner calling. We should not focus so much on serving that we miss the more valuable time spend with God.
We must begin our day with God and end it with Him.
Are you intrigued by or desire to know more about Jesus, his life, and his teachings or any aspect of His life on earth? Check our series of articles on Jesus Christ that is both comprehensive and easy to understand.
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A Different View Of The Sisters
Jesus receives word that Lazarus is ill to the point of death. Instead of going to the aid of his friend, however, Jesus delays. When he finally does arrive, Lazarus has already died. The moment she learns of Jesus arrival, Martha rushes to him. In the midst of her grief, she makes a remarkable statement of deep faith: Martha then said to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.
Where is Mary? In the house, mourning. She doesnt come to Jesus until he calls for her . She doesnt make a great claim of faith like Martha. She isnt there to hear one of Jesuss most remarkable claims about himself, in verses 25-26: I AM the resurrection and the life he who believes in me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Mourning is not a sin. Neither is housework. Im not highlighting these events to turn people against Mary in favor of Martha. Both were devoted followers of Christ. Neither of them were perfect.
Second Lesson From The Mary And Martha Story Balance Of Worship And Service
The Mary and Martha story illustrates that Jesus desires both the worship of Mary and the work of Martha. Christ first acknowledges that Marthas feelings are real, anxious, and bothered, but it is about too many things. He addresses the fact that even with Mary in the kitchen, Martha will still be worried, because Mary cannot take care of everything for her. Jesus addresses the overwhelming feeling of Martha but does not tell her she is wrong or that Mary should go help her sister. He says that Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
The Mary and Martha story demonstrates that there is a time and a place for everything. Jesus validates both worship and service and it should be in balance. We should first honor God and our love for Him will translate into serving and honoring others. Our actions come from learning Gods truths and applying them to our lives. Mary and Martha played their roles sincerely and their actions were valuable and served a purpose.
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The Supper: The Visit Of Jesus And His Disciples
Jesus felt a close bond with the family living at Bethany. A beautiful friendship existed between Jesus and the two sisters, and their brother Lazarus. Jesus not only visited the family, but He felt free to drop in at any time. The fact that He loved the family is stated three times in just one chapter of the New TestamentJohn 11, verses 3, 5, and 36.
On the occasion described in Luke 10, Jesus was traveling through the country with His disciples, most likely coming up from Jericho. He had just related the story of the Good Samaritan . Jesus no doubt sent a messenger on ahead to inform His friends at Bethany that they could expect Him for supper that night. His disciples may have gone on to Jerusalem, or perhaps they too were included among the visitors who would drop in at Bethany. That is not clearly stated.
We can almost see Martha, when she received word that Jesus was planning to stop by she was concerned about hospitality and generosity. She immediately went to work, beginning to prepare the meal. She sent one of her helpers to the market to get some extra food she began to build a fire for cookingand in the midst of the bustle of preparation, Jesus arrived.
Luke 10:38 says, Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village and a . . . woman named Martha received him into her house.
Verse 39 says, And she had a sister named Mary, who sat at Jesus feet, and heard his word.