The Bible

Luke 10:38-42 : Jesus in the home of Mary and Martha

Study the Inner Meaning

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.

40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Study the Inner Meaning

Commentary on this story:



Jesus reproves Martha

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Jesus Christ with Mary and Martha

There's a brief story in Luke 10:38-42, where Jesus is visiting in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus - two sisters and their brother. It's a busy time at their house, because people have come to see Jesus, and to marvel at Lazarus, who was just raised from the dead by Jesus. Martha is working to serve the guests, and Mary is sitting and listening. Martha asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her, and - surprisingly - he doesn't. Instead, he gently reproves Martha for worrying, and says that Mary has "chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her".

It doesn't seem fair, on the face of it. But here's what's going on in the internal sense of the story:

In verses 38-39, when the Lord stops in this village to visit Martha and Mary, it means that the Lord is received by people who are love truth and of good.

In verses 41-42, when Martha is busy and stressed, she represents our state of mind when we are in the affection of truth, but are not yet purified from the anxieties of self-love. Then the Lord instructs us, that we should pay attention to the higher affection of good, and exalt it in our lives.