Luke 10:38-42

The account of two women, sisters. Martha & Mary.

Jesus and His disciples are on an evangelistic campaign. His purpose is to spread the word of God. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 4:17). He enters a village and house in order to speak His Word. One sister allowed His Word into her house. The other? Into her heart. And therein we find out this morning which of two sisters we most identify with. 


38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village (commissioned in vs. 1); and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.

  • The living Word of God, in flesh, had arrived in a location needing spiritual truth. God made His Word available.

  • The living Word of God, in flesh, is then welcomed into the area of possible reception. Martha, allowed the Word in her house to be present.

39 Martha had a sister called Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 

  • Two sisters, siblings. Both had the same opportunity to hear and receive the truth.

  • Here we recognize an act of submission from Mary. She’s at the feet of the Master so as to receive instruction and teaching. Silent and attentive. Humble and open.   

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

  • Martha has a different heart than her sister. She was preoccupied with secular and social responsibilities (which are certainly important and have their proper place in our lives. Hospitality is a commanded practice all Christians must participate in).

  • But for Martha it became a distraction to the priority at hand. She allowed what was less important take precedence over what was most important. 

* The fellowship meal after service is going to feed our physical vessels. But the Word of God being proclaimed is going to nourish our eternal souls. 

  • And so because of Martha’s lack of spiritual discernment and submission, blinded by her misguided assumptions, she finds fault in her sister, and proceeds to approach Christ (the shepherd) so as to question His ability to teach and lead, but also diminish her sisters character while doing so. 

  • And if that is not enough to cause concern, she further proceeds to command Jesus on what He should do. Because she doesn’t trust His wisdom or discernment, nor does she trust her sister’s wisdom and discernment. So her remedy to this specific and precise situation is completely blind. She can’t see, she’s got a log in her eye. 

  • The problem is in her heart. And that results in the unrighteous judgment of Her Lord and sister. Her preoccupied “distraction” is what needs to be repented of. Not Christ, nor her sister. 

41 And so naturally, Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.

  • Jesus, the Word of God in flesh, rebukes Martha. He doesn’t side with her delinquency to blame Mary (the faithful) just so no “feathers are ruffled and peace is maintained.” He tells her she’s over-anxious about things that are not important at this very moment. She’s offended about things because her heart’s not at the right place.

  • He’s instructing her towards repentance. As if to say, “before misjudging my wisdom and discernment, before mischaracterizing your sister, you should look inwardly and see the root of your offense and accusation.” 

  • Pending on Martha’s heart at this very moment, she could have believed that He is the One who should revisit His heart and take His own advice. Or perhaps she was humble enough to look inwardly and identify the cause of her anxiety, mistrust in Christ, and misguided behavior towards her sister. 

  • You see, Jesus is not the One who created Martha’s problem. It was there all along. Jesus simply exposed it through His Word.

  • The Word of God tends to do that. Some will love you for it. Others will grow bitter and hate you. There’s a reason the prophets were stoned. The baptist was beheaded. The Christ was crucified. And the apostles were martyred. 

42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

  • Jesus tells Martha. That Mary, the one who caused this supposed “offense.” Is indeed the one who is faithful to Him. That must have stung a bit. Martha’s being told that the person she thinks is not being faithful, is indeed faithful. And that Martha is the one in need of repenting. That must of hurt a great deal. Yet necessary for one’s heart to change. 

  • Jesus tells Martha that she only has need for one most important thing in her life. And this thing is what her sister Mary rightfully chose above all else. Because this thing will never decay, rust, or be removed from her heart. It will teach her the ability to properly discern right from wrong. It will save her soul and have her live faithfully. Productive for the kingdom. That’s why Mary chose to submit at the feet of the Master. That is why all of us who are submissive will sit at the feet of the Bible and allow it to instruct our lives. 

  • Everything else in this physical life will go away, even our flesh. But the Word of God endures forever. And that is what Mary has chosen. The good news. 

It’s interesting to note how Jesus once again will have dealings with Martha and Mary, recorded in John chapter 11. And I further encourage you to read that chapter in your own personal studies. It’s not that Martha didn’t believe in Jesus, she did. But her “distractions” hindered her faith and relationship with others. 

Today the same teaching applies to all of us in 2020. We hear the Word proclaimed and we ask ourselves, “am I Martha, or Mary?” 

In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus says… 

37 “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart (the Word guiding your emotions), with all your soul (the Word guiding your salvation), and with all your mind (the Word guiding your thoughts).’

38 This is the first and great commandment.

- This will determine what it is we prioritize in 2020.

39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

  • You see, if we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. We’ll love our neighbor, brother, sister, elder, deacon, friend, visitor, co-worker,… can I dare say preacher? 

If you today love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Then you will show it to Him by repenting of your sins and being immersed into water, with His authority, so as to receive the forgiveness of sins. Born again of water and the spirit. God will then add you to His kingdom. A part of this local congregation. 

If you have already obeyed the gospel but have sin in your heart? Perhaps you are Martha this morning? You need to renew your spirit and remove that burden from your shoulder. Don’t let stubborn or rebellious thoughts make you a slave to satan.  

If you need to respond to the invitation of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. He will save and renew your soul.

Please come forward as we stand and sing.

SM -