« Luke 10:25-37 | Main | Luke 11:1-13 »


Jesus does not command.....mouthing to Martha join us ( in those times) would have been a non-choice. When we hear the word of God we chose or not to pay attention. Jesus' invitation was, is and always will be open; yet we know not all will accept/heed. Jesus voluntarily came, He began the conversation of God's love, new life, hope..and more. He asked /invited all who would hear..."come follow me". He will help, but not force / make us obey.

John 12 is told in a different context by Luke: Jesus is visiting Simon the Pharisee when a woman (unnamed) comes in and does the same to Jesus as attributed to Mary by John's Gospel. It strikes me that John (written later than Luke) has attempted to "civilize" the story of Martha and Mary: rather than two Samaritan woman in male-less house in Samaria, John has two acceptable Jewish sisters living in a home in Bethany with a male "head-of-house" (Lazarus) present. The power of the Lukan narrative is that Jesus is shaking up social perceptions; John has fallen victim to social expectation. And in our thoughtless synthesis of the Gospel stories, Mary has unfairly become the prostitute in our thinking.

I think you are right about how radical Jesus' inclusion of Mary is. I also think it is important to not lose sight of the relationship between the two women - it is not often that a Biblical story features not one but 2 women - both of whom are named. Highly unusual, and so worth paying concrete attention to.

But the story in Luke leaves in place the valuing of "men's" work - Mary has chosen "the better part" - and de-valuing of "women's" work - Martha is "distracted and worried about many things."

To my mind, the unfinished Good News that needs to be proclaimed is that both are valued. Hence, my welcoming of the added comments by Ralph Milton.

Hi Peter. It is not in any part of the Gospels. My colleague Ralph Milton has written a Family Story Bible - see link above - and has added his imaginative "what happens next." The story in Luke gives no details about what happens after Jesus' comment.

Not so much about a sisterly spat, I think, or about women's roles or even about action/contemplation. More about Jesus disrupting the usual patterns of power & place & privelege. In Jesus' culture, women wouldn't normally be included in the inner circle of people (i.e. men) who would "sit at Jesus feet" - a designation of teacher-student relationship. Jesus is about opening up, not shutting out. Listen to the story as being about who's included and who's excluded. A misquote from Cornell
West - Justice is what God's love looks like on the street.

Where does it say that Jesus invited Martha to sit and listen?

Good. I thank you. I like that - Inviting Martha to listen to Jesus, then everyone will work together.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

  • Faith inspiring help for your sermon and worship planning
    Your email address:*
    GDPR Consent*
    Yes, I consent to being emailed
    No, I do not want to be emailed
    Please enter all required fields Click to hide
    Correct invalid entries Click to hide

My Blogs

  • David Ewart
    A miscellany of writings, sermons, worship resources, leadership resources, spiritual practices, and church health.
  • Holy Textures
    Musings on various lectionary texts influenced by Process Theology, Rene Girard, class analysis, and feminist analysis.

Email David