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People of the Bible: Mary & Martha

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Book of the Bible: Luke 10:38-42

Who were Mary and Martha?

  • Sisters who lived in a town called Bethany

  • Very good friends of Jesus

  • Not Mary Magdalene

  • Sisters of Lazarus

In this account found in Luke 10, we see Jesus arrive at Mary and Martha’s house. While Martha was preparing dinner and being extra hospitable to Jesus and those with him, Mary was sitting at Jesus’s feet. Mary was sitting there because Jesus was teaching his disciples. Martha became frustrated with Mary because she was not helping in any of the chores. Martha speaks up and tells Jesus that it is unfair for her to do all the work and for Mary to do none. Jesus replied by saying that Martha was being distracted by the little things and that Mary was doing nothing wrong. In fact, Jesus said that Mary had discovered the only thing worth being concerned about.

There is quite a bit to unpack in this short story. First is that Martha being hospitable was a good thing. We can read Jesus’s response and think he was speaking against her hospitality. However, that cannot be the case because the Bible makes it clear that we are to love and serve one another. This is what Martha was doing, and that is a good thing. What Jesus was speaking against was her attitude of comparison. She was comparing what she was doing with what her sister Mary was doing.

Another thing that we see in this story is the value of sitting at Jesus’s feet. Mary was tuned into Jesus’s teaching, soaking up all he had to say. Jesus commends her for this, saying that she had found what was important in life, him. We all have other responsibilities, chores must be done, and other things will need our attention, but Jesus needs to be the most important thing in our life. We should not be so easily distracted by the things of this world, instead, we should sit at his feet and dwell in his presence.

Lastly, this passage speaks volumes to womens’ roles in Christianity. During this time, it was unheard of for a woman to sit at a Rabbi’s feet during his teaching. Women were not given the same spiritual opportunities as men. This could be part of the reason Martha was calling Mary to help her, because she was “out of place”. However, when Jesus affirms Mary we see that he did not just come for a certain group of people, but he came for anyone who would be willing to sit at his feet.

Jesus wants everyone to come to him. His sacrifice paid for all of our sins. He wants to be close to you like he was with Mary. He has made himself available to us, it is up to us whether we accept him.

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t Compare

  • Be Close to Jesus

  • Jesus Wants all People

Parents, 3treesKIDS will also be learning about Mary & Martha this Sunday, both in-person and online.

Be sure to check out their lesson at

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