Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Lesson From the Sisters

Entering the village of Bethany, Jesus stopped by the home of Martha and Mary, and their brother, Lazarus.   On what may have been His first visit in their home with them, Martha rushed off to the kitchen.  Suddenly, she realized that Mary had not offered to help in the cooking and serving of the meal.  The Scriptures are silent about who else accompanied Jesus, but it's pretty safe to assume that Lazarus and some of the disciples were there too.  Mary listened as Jesus spoke to someone besides her.

When Martha became overwhelmed with her preparations, she decided to discuss the situation with Jesus.  She pointed out her need for help and expected Jesus to tell her sister to help her.  However, Jesus rebuked Martha for her anxiety.  Her words bled with a "poor me" mentality  which showed her insecurity and possibly a struggle with her self-worth. She asked Jesus if He cared about the wrong treatment she felt she had received from her sister.  She might have wondered if Jesus even noticed the amount of work she put in trying to serve Him.  

She definitely felt slighted by Mary's lack of help, but her anxiety might have been caused by either her excessive preparations or the possibility from the number of guests present. (Luke 10).  Jesus ignored her question regarding His care for her and commended Mary's choice to listen.  He refused to deny her this opportunity. It's possible that Mary's faith actually needed strengthening at this point in order to best prepare her for what the future held.

Only Jesus would know what both sisters truly needed at this time in their lives.  Martha's encounter with Jesus apparently taught her the valuable lesson she needed to learn.  The next time we hear about Jesus dining with them, she prepared the meal alone again without any complaints.  

However, the one upset with Mary's choice on this occasion was Judas Iscariot.  He gave off what sounded like a righteous concern about a better use of the money Mary used to purchase pure nard to anoint Jesus' feet.  Jesus saw through his facade and once again praised Mary's choice.  (John 12). 

We too can get distracted by the wrong things and miss the true intentions of others.  We may fall prey to the selfish acts of others and even at times develop a victim mentality.  Martha first believed she was being mistreated by Mary's choice and not only wanted some help but probably some attention to what she was doing.  

We do know that money can absolutely be used wastefully at times.  Judas' downfall was money, and despite all the time he spent with Jesus, he never understood Him the way these two sisters did.

We need to guard our hearts or we can become blinded to the truth lived out in front of us.  Martha took heed to Jesus' rebuke, and we see the way her faith developed to the point of cheerfully serving a meal without help or complaints.  She no longer stressed over her sister's choices. 

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