In the life and ministry of Jesus as according to the Gospel of Luke, womanhood was honored by Jesus in a male dominated culture. Jesus was born by virgin Mary was a fulfillment of Gen 3:15. Many female figures had provided behind the scene supports of Jesus’ public ministry. Many spiritual giants in church history were sisters. Martha and Mary are on the early part of this list.
Martha, Mary, and Nazareth were siblings who lived in Bethany. They were described by the gospel authors as being loved by Jesus (John 11:5). Of course they respected and loved Jesus as their teacher and close friend. The brother Nazareth other than being raised by Jesus from his tomb, he was described as a kind of quiet person. His quietness was possible that Nazareth was the youngest in the family and as a mark of his personality.
Martha and Mary were appeared in two major places of the gospels. Though this pair of sisters is having different types of personality, yet Jesus appreciated his relationships with them equally. They were always providing their best hospitality in their home so that Jesus can feel home while away from home. But one comparative comment from Jesus about their deeper desires requires our attention.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
The presence of Jesus [Luke 10:38-42; Luke 10:41-42, Prayer (P)]: When Jesus passed through home town of Martha, she invited him into their home. Both Martha and Mary sat before Jesus as his disciples, but Martha was with a troubling heart and disturbed the fellowship. In this occasion Jesus reminded us about the one thing is need about all others.
Facing the challenge of death [John 11:17-46; John 11:25-27; 32-37, Hope (V)]: Nazareth had died for four days when Jesus arrived. The challenges of Martha and Mary about if Jesus arrived earlier might prevent the death of their brother. But Jesus has responded with his challenge to Martha and Mary on their faith in Him, in teaching and power of resurrection.
Mary’s deep spiritual insight [John 12:1-8; John 12:3-8, Peace (V)]: Mary celebrated her love and worship to Jesus by anointing his feet with her expensive perfume. Her act in the party to celebrate the resurrection of Nazareth was interpreted by Jesus as her preparation for his burial.
Martha: from restless to service [Luke 10:38-42, John 12:2, Luke 10:40-41; John 12:2, Give away your time (P)]: Martha has learnt her spiritual lesson from Jesus about celebrating her presence in the presence of Jesus. She was serving as usual in the party to celebrate the resurrection of her brother. But this time her celebrative spirit was focused on the presence of the Lord who gives life and work to her and her family.
In order to go deeper into a relationship with Jesus, Christians should learn first the communion and fellowship like Mary before serving Him like Martha.