Jesus seems to always build retreats into His life and ministry. Most of them involve secluded, lonely settings away from people.
Yet, there is one place that seems to be ‘home’ among people – Bethany, at the home of Martha, Lazarus and Mary. It was His place of rest among people. Where is that place for you?
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Martha steals the show. At least at first glance. It’s like meeting Nigella and Kirsty, embodied in one person. Creative, warm, loud. Her food was famous and her hospitality made guests feel treasured and other women envious. She takes the initiative. She invites Jesus in. Her love language is action. Her delight is serving others. She is wired and animated…
Mary just sits down. Her passivity a stark contrast to Martha’s activity. She stops from her activity. She is quiet and simply listens to Jesus’ teaching.
Lazarus, we don’t know anything about him. Guys can be like that. Hiding away. Being distracted. Getting stuff done. Guys always get stuff done. Not wanting to be in the limelight, you know…
The scene looks calm initially but it doesn’t take long before the unhealthy attitudes come to the surface. When we don’t relate well to Jesus – we end up taking it out on people around us. Martha’s complaint seems justified. Yet Jesus surprisingly sides with Mary.
Martha doesn’t get the reaction she expected. Jesus speaks to her gently and redemptively. He doesn’t demean her instinctive desire to serve. He simply invites her to move from good to best! What was Mary’s secret, I wonder? Why did she do what she did? Was it just a personality trait?
Mary did not need to do anything FOR Jesus. No impressive mind boggling questions or extravagant displays of hospitality. She recognised that it’s much better to let Jesus do something for her. She was unashamed in her need for His wisdom. She was ‘poor in the spirit’ and humbly accepted her state – without insecure feelings demanding a performance that impresses Jesus.
Mary seized an opportunity. She knew that THIS was so unique. She knew WHO was before her. This was not to be missed. In the presence of divine royalty, you drop everything, as at that moment, nothing else matters…
Mary was filled with awe. She was so amazed at what Jesus did and taught that simply being around Him was enough.
Mary was expectantly curious for more of His teaching. She knew what she already heard and like a mesmerised child waiting to hear another amazing bedtime story from a parent or grandparent, she was so eager to discover more from Him.
Here is the beckoning call to Jesus, right here and right now. He is the omnipresent Christ in you, the hope of glory. The Potentate of time and history – ready to welcome you at His feet.
come just as you are
come and be still
come to seek His face, not just His hand
come before the Christmas rush