Luke 10:38-42




There has always been an affinity between sisters, as this song sung by Rosemary and Betty Clooney indicates. There are times, however, when even the closest of sisters don’t see eye to eye.  Such is the case as we continue to look at the life of Christ.


The last event we saw in our Lord’s life was the healing of a man who had been born blind.  Some time after that event Jesus made a visit in a little village called Bethany, which not far from Jerusalem.


This is where two sisters, Martha and Mary, lived with their brother, Lazarus.  In the story before us this morning, Martha is depicted as somewhat of a villain, and Mary a heroine.  They were both human.  They were both Christians.  Both had some very good qualities about them, especially if you look at the other stories about them found in the Gospel of John.  We’ll get to them later on in our study.






Evidently Martha was the oldest sister, and it was considered her home.

When Jesus came the door was always open.

Martha showed that Jesus was welcome by serving Him.

Mary showed that Jesus was welcome by sitting at his feet and hearting his Word.


But Jesus was more than just welcome in their home.

Jesus was welcome in their hearts.

Both of them had made a personal commitment to the Lord Jesus as their Messiah, their Savior.


Jesus was not only welcome to Martha and Mary as Savior, but He was also their Master.  As you read the accounts about these sisters, you will see that He was boss in their lives.


You claim to be a Christian.  You have welcomed Jesus as your Savior.  Is He welcome to tell you what to do?  Is He welcome to “call the shots” in your life? John 13:13, 12:26


If Jesus is welcome as your Master, He is your Lord.  And as someone has well said, “If Jesus isn’t Lord of all, He’s not Lord at all!”   


Jesus was not only welcome to Mary and Martha as their Savior, and Master, but he was also welcome as their friend for fellowship.  Both Mary and Martha would have communed with Jesus in the course of His visit.  They would have talked with Him.


Even during Martha’s business she would have had opportunity to talk with the Lord.  She could have done better as we’ll see in few minutes, but nonetheless she had some fellowship with Him as a friend.


How aware of Jesus’ presence in your life are you?

Is He such a welcome guest that you spend time talking with Him and learning from Him as a friend?

Revelation 3:20




It is obvious that Jesus was loved by the warm reception He received.  It is obvious that Jesus was loved by the way that he was treated both in this passage and in John 11.


You who call yourself a Christian, do you love the Lord Jesus?

When you love someone you think about them.

When you love someone you try to please them.

When you love someone you try to fulfill their wishes.

When you love someone who is in a superior position over you, you obey them.


If you love the Lord Jesus you will worship and adore Him.

If you love the Lord Jesus you will obey Him. John 14:21




John 11:5 - Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.


Just as Jesus loved Mary and Martha, he loves you and I.

He loved us when He died for us.

He loves each one who has trusted Him as Savior.

How strong is His love for you? Romans 8:39


So, these sisters had at least three things in common:

Jesus was welcome as Savior, Master and Friend

Jesus was loved.

Jesus loved them.   




Mary and Martha surely had their differences.  One such difference comes to light here.


Vs. 39 – Mary was Word oriented.   


Mary had a unique opportunity and she took it.

Mary had the opportunity as a woman to sit at Jesus feet and hear His Word.  In the Jewish culture of that day, it was unheard of.


Other chores were set aside so Mary could hear the Word of God.  This does not mean that Mary was lazy or not a worker.  And it doesn’t mean that Mary never helped in the kitchen.


It does mean that God’s Word had a high priority!

Why should God’s Word be a high priority? Jeremiah 15:16, Mark 13:31, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12, Psalm 119:11


The Word of God is so important. Shouldn’t you be as Word Oriented as Mary was?  The Word was available and she sat and listened to it!


·       The Word of God is available to you every day for reading, memorization and meditation.

·       The Word of God is available to you every day through Christian Television and Radio, although you must be discriminating to know who to listen to and who to avoid.

·       The Word of God is available to you in Sunday School, Sunday Morning, Sunday Night, and Wednesday night.


People starve when they do not eat!  Sometimes food is not available.  Other times it is.

Christians starve when they do not eat.  You and I have no excuse. The Word of God is available. 


Mary was Word oriented.

Martha was Work oriented.


Vs. 40 - Martha had a servant’s heart.

She evidently wanted Jesus to have the best and was preparing an elaborate meal.  She wanted to serve Jesus the best!


Martha became distracted with her service.

The project of the meal became so big in her mind that was all she could think about.  The Son of God had come to dinner and she was distracted!


It was good that Martha serve.

It is good that we serve. Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 4:10


The problem with Mary was that the work so distracted her that she not only rebuked Mary, but rebuked the Lord Himself in verse 40.


As for learning anything from Jesus she was too busy serving.   

We have the same problem sometimes. We get so busy serving ourselves, others, and even the Lord that we don’t have time for Jesus!




It was now time for the Lord and Master to speak.

When He did, he put things in perspective.

Martha was not wrong to serve, but Martha became so distracted in service that she missed God’s best, His Word.


Vs. 41 – Martha you’re uptight about a lot of things.  I think it was more than just the meal that would distract Martha.  Whatever she chose to do probably got her worked up, and I think she chose to do much.


So often we are just like Martha, distracted about what we have to get done, about how we are going to serve.


Vs. 42 – In that given moment, with Jesus present in their home, there was only one thing that was truly needful. That was to take advantage of learning at the feet of Jesus.


All of the things Martha did to serve would be there to be done at another time.  But right at that moment, Mary’s priorities were in order and Martha’s weren’t.


I don’t know for sure, but I think that right then and there Martha stopped and listened, and when Jesus was done speaking I think that they both went and got the meal.


I have a feeling that if we could hear Jesus talking, we might here Him, saying, “You are anxious and troubled about many things. Chose the good part which can not be taken away from you.”


Mary had the opportunity to learn the Word of God from the Son of God.  That was to be her priority.  What she learned from the Word of God nobody could take away from her.


There is no value in anxiety and worry.

There is great value in God’s Word.

You have many opportunities to learn from God’s Word.

Are you availing yourself of these opportunities?




·       Jesus was welcome – as Savior, Master, Friend

·       They loved Jesus

·       Jesus loved them



·       Mary was Word oriented

·       Martha was Work oriented



·       Martha was troubled

·       Mary received lessons for a lifetime that could not be taken away.