Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived here. Their home was ever open to the Lord. He was welcome there. What about your home? Is he a visitor? Or is he a resident?
The certain village was Bethany. The certain woman was Martha.
We are introduced to the second member of the family, Mary. She is introduced as the one “who sat at Jesus’ feet and heard his word.” In the three instances she is mentioned in Scripture she is at the Savior’s feet (Luke 10, John 11 & 12). See also Acts 22:3. Why did she adopt this posture? Learning, weeping, worshipping. She was a contemplative worshipper. To her, the Lord was unspeakably precious. She also was a learner, and her chief joy was to sit at His feet and take in the deep and intimate truths he revealed of himself and his redemptive work. There is nothing more important for spiritual growth than for the child of God to spend time at the feet of Jesus. In this way we will grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ.
Martha did not understand Mary’s attitude. She was “cumbered with much serving.” Martha was too busy, over-occupied, and distracted with temporal things. In her confusion, she appealed to Jesus saying, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to prepare this meal alone? Direct her to help me.” This is the cry of an overburdened and distressed heart.
The Lord answered her request, but not in the way she had hoped. “[Martha, Martha, you are apprehensive and worried about getting the meal ready for me and my disciples.]”
Mary has chosen the best and most important part; you must not tear her away from it. Food was necessary, and continues to be very necessary for the natural man, so we thank God for the Marthas. The good part that Mary enjoyed was her communion and worship with Him as she listened to His Word. In John 12 it is evident that she knew more about His Word than any of the disciples.
As she sat at His feet, she listened, learned, and worshipped. As she looked at the Lord with an unveiled face, she reflected on the glory of the Lord and was transformed into his own image from one degree of splendor to another, by the Spirit of the Lord.” See 2 Corinthians 3:18. Service is necessary, but service without communion is unfruitful.
We try to please Him with much serving, but I’m afraid that He will say to many of us: “You have spent so much time serving, but I would rather have had you at my feet. You were not there when I wanted to share many secrets with you.” May we learn the blessedness of communion with Him. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word. Martha was distracted by her preparations for the Royal guest.
Our Lord prizes our affection above our service. Service can be tainted with pride. Occupation with Himself is the one thing needful, that good part that will not be taken away. The Lord wants to convert us from Marthas into Marys. The divine order here is that our first need is to sit at His feet and learn His will. Then, having learned His will, to go forth in the Spirit’s power and edify and build up His ransomed Church.
Symbolically, this offering speaks of the moral perfection of the life of the Lord: Fine flour - Untainted by evil - No leaven - Fragrant to God – Frankincense - Filled with the Holy Spirit - Oil. In Luke 10:35 we have the Holy Spirit of God producing by divine power and creative energy, the body of the Lord Jesus in the virgin womb. At this time there was an actual conception that involved an absolute impregnation. The Lord Jesus was of the Virgin’s substance, as to his humanity. His true Deity was to be united in such a way as to make one Person with two natures - God and man, human and divine.