Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Immediately after the parable of the good Samaritan Luke puts the record of the Man-Savior being received by Martha at Bethany (10:38-42). What is the connection between these two cases? The connection is that after we have been saved through realizing the Savior’s compassion and love, we should serve Him. In other words, saved ones should be serving ones. In order to be saved we need to realize the Savior’s compassion and love. In order to serve Him, we need to know His desire and preference. We should not serve the Lord according to our opinion, concept, or understanding. Instead, we should serve Him according to His desire and preference.
Luke 10:38 and 39 say, “Now as they were going, He entered into a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha received Him as a guest into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who also was seated at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His word.” The village here is Bethany (John 12:1; Mark 11:1; Matt. 21:17). The name Bethany means the house of affliction.
According to the record of the Gospels, in the Lord’s last visit to Jerusalem, He remained in the city only during the day for His ministry. Every evening He departed to lodge in Bethany, on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives (Mark 11:19; Luke 21:37), where the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and the house of Simon were (John 11:1; Matt. 26:6). In Jerusalem He was rejected by the leaders of Judaism, but in Bethany He was welcomed by those who loved Him.
Luke 10:38 and 39 mention Martha and Mary. The name Martha probably comes from Chaldean and means “she was rebellious.” The Greek word Mary is Maria, for the Hebrew Miriam and means “their rebellion” (Num. 12:1, 10-15).
The meaning of the names of Martha and Mary conveys the thought of rebellion. This may indicate their natural life. The Lord’s salvation can transform the rebellious into the submissive, as portrayed in this story. One like the rebellious Miriam in the Old Testament becomes one like the submissive Mary in the New Testament.
Mary was listening to the Lord’s word, but “Martha was distracted with much serving” (v. 40). The Greek word translated “distracted” means to be drawn about in different directions.
Standing over the Lord, Martha said, “Lord, does it not matter to You that my sister has left me to serve alone?” (v. 40). The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; but one thing is necessary; for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Here we see that the Lord prefers His saved ones who love Him to listen to Him (v. 39) that they may know His desire, rather than do things for Him without knowing His will (see 1 Sam. 15:22; Eccl. 5:1).
It is quite significant that this story of Martha and Mary follows immediately after the parable of the good Samaritan. The first shows the compassion and love of the Savior, who is a Man as the sinner’s neighbor. The second unveils the desire and preference of the Lord, who is God as the believers’ Master. The Savior’s compassion and love are for our salvation by Him; the Lord’s desire and preference are for our service to Him. After receiving salvation from the Savior, we should render service to the Lord. For our salvation we need to realize the Savior’s compassion and love; for our service we need to know the Lord’s desire and preference.
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