As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42
In 2021 some people have the mistaken idea that Jesus and the Church treat women as second-class citizens. In fact, Jesus spoke to women (Samaritan woman John 4:4-42), healed them (woman with bleeding Mark 5:21-43), healed their loved ones (Syrophoenician woman’s daughter Mark 7:24-30), taught them (Matthew 14:13-21 & Matthew 15:29-39 women in the crowd of 5000 and 4000), used women in his parables and teachings as positive examples (Widow & lost coin Luke 15:8-10 and widow’s offering Luke 21:1-4 ) and was even financially supported by women (financial supporters listed Luke 8:2-3). This passage in Luke 10:38-42 is an excellent example of how Jesus actually treated women.
In the Jewish culture in 30 AD girls had no formal schooling – they were taught at home by their mothers – how to run a household. If they were taught the scriptures it was done at home by their fathers. Women were considered to be little more than property and had little say in who they would marry, or what happened to them.
Yet, In John 4:4-42 Jesus had a conversation with a Samaritan woman that resulted in an entire town hearing about the kingdom of God and many believing in Jesus. It would never have occurred if Jesus had treated her as the culture demanded – as an outcast dog, to be passed by,to be overlooked and completely disregarded.
Picture the scene in Martha and Mary’s home. Men are gathered around Jesus – eager to hear his teaching, and there is Mary – one of the hostesses – sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening and learning. At this time, in this culture this was a highly unusual scene. Martha asks Jesus to tell her sister to help her with preparations, but Jesus says,“…but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42.
Mary heard the call to learn from Jesus. Have you? Do you sit at his feet and listen to what he has to tell you? Spend some time reading his word, sitting at his feet in prayer. Make some space to hear what he might be telling you to do, to say, to be.
By Grace Hunter