‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘Living in the presence of Jesus’ Text: Luke 10:38-42
Introduction: In 1991 a movie came out called ‘City Slickers’ It was about 3 men from NYC who are experiencing a mid-life crisis. They go to a dude ranch in New Mexico to try to figure things out.
In the movie there’s a great scene that has application to our text this morning.
For those who can’t see the video here is the gist of it.
- Curly asks Mitch ‘Do you know the secret of life?’ Then he holds up one finger, this!
Mitch replies ‘Your finger?’ Curly answers ‘One thing! Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean squat. Mitch replies ‘But, what is the one thing?’ Curly says ‘That’s what you need to figure out.’
For the Christian who wants to successfully navigate their journey of faith, there too is only one thing. And the sooner we find out what that one thing is,
- the deeper, the more intimate,
- the more blessed our relationship with Jesus will be.
And we’ll find out what that one thing is, in a much loved story, one that’s found exclusively in Luke’s Gospel. Mary & Martha
In our text, Dr. Luke using an economy of words tells us the most important thing in the life of the Christian:
- The One Thing that must take priority over all other things.
Transition: Open your Bibles to Luke 10:38. And let’s find out what that one thing is.
- Luke 10:38 Martha welcomes Jesus
Read: Luke 10:38
Let’s get a grasp of what we know from verse 38.
- This was Martha’s home.
- She invited Jesus & His 12 apostles to stay with her.
- As the hostess, she would have ben expected to provide dinner for; Jesus, the 12 apostles, Mary (her sister), Lazarus (her brother), and of course, herself, making a total of 16 people.
- It was a great honor for Jesus to stay with her, but it would also have been a lot of work. And remember, there were no freezers, no refrigerators, no ShopRite or even a Quick Check.
- Her home needed to be cleaned up, things put away, food prepared, tables set. Then the meal served and the mess cleaned up afterwards.
- When Jesus and His apostles walked through her door, all of that, was on Martha’s mind.
Imagine, a ‘Dinner 16’, not a ‘Dinner 8’ showing up at your house… unannounced!
OK, now that we’ve got the picture of verse 38, let’s take a look at what happened later inside the house.
- Luke 10:39 Mary sits at Jesus’ feet
Read: Luke 10:39
One verse and there are a few things we can immediately glean.
First, Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet.
- That was the position of disciples to their teacher.
Luke was telling us
- that Mary was a disciple of Jesus,
- that she believed Jesus was the Messiah.
- And that she was intent to listen to every word He had to say.
Commentator Warren Wiersbe points out that all three times Mary appears in Scripture she’s found at Jesus’ feet.
- Here, John 11:32, John 12:3
This is significant. If we know nothing else about Mary, we know one thing…she was committed / devoted to Jesus and His teaching.
- Evidenced by her passion to be in His presence
- and her hunger to hear His words.
Christian, if someone were to examine your life right now, what one thing would you be known for?
Second, we can glean that Jesus had a very different opinion of women than the religious leaders of his day.
Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet as His disciple, would have been shocking, horrifying to the Jewish men of that time.
- Rabbis did not have female disciples.
- Women were uneducated and expected to keep the home, not bother a teacher.
Christian, by this we see that Jesus held women in the highest regard.
And finally, Mary was not just sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him speak… I believe she had been serving Jesus and His disciples. Think about it:
- The first responsibility of a host is to wash the feet of those welcomed into their homes.
- Lazarus would not have done that, he was a man.
- Martha was too busy in the kitchen.
- There is no record that Martha has servants.
- So the job would have fallen to Mary.
It’s quite probable that Mary washed the apostles feet first, then Jesus’ feet… then remained at His feet to hear Him speak.
- And, she was, perhaps, so in awe of what Jesus had to say,
- that she completely zoned out to all that her sister Martha had to do.
Just a thought.
- Luke 10:40 Martha is distracted
Read: Luke 10:40
Ladies, mostly the ladies, you know where Martha is, you feel her pain. You can relate to her struggle.
Question: When you host a large gathering at your home; say for Christmas, Easter, or Thanksgiving, ladies, where do you usually spend most of your time?
- In the kitchen, often before AND after dinner.
ILL: Wednesday, at our ‘Denominations’ small group at the Parsonage, we held dinner at 6:30pm.
- I made split-pea & ham soup and salad.
- The table was set, drinks were out and we ate.
- Then, after dinner, while people were going from the dining room table to the living room for the study, I was cleaning up.
- And Kathy, as she usually does in situations like this, came to me and said:
- Bob, let it go, you need to be with the people in the living room. We can do this later.
I was so caught up, in cleaning up, I forgot the reason we were there:
- fellowship and studying… TOGETHER!
But understand something, there’s no reason found in this text, to say that Martha was wrong for all the work she was doing.
- After all, hospitality was not only a good thing in that day, it was a duty.
- A woman’s reputation depended upon her ability to manage her household well… and that included showing hospitality to her guests.
- And from what we know of Martha in Scripture; she loved Jesus, she knew He was the Messiah, she was also one of His followers.
In verses 41-42 we’ll see that Jesus does correct Martha… but not for serving, not for showing hospitality. He corrects her attitude while serving.
How do I know that?
- Martha would have been busy from the time Jesus and His apostles entered her home.
- But it’s not until Martha cops an attitude that Jesus corrects her.
What attitude: Anger. She started blaming Mary and even Jesus for how overwhelmed she felt.
- …she went up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
- Martha criticized Jesus, Jesus, for not caring about her.
- She demanded that Jesus do what every good Jewish man would have done…tell Mary to help her in the kitchen.
She was so angry with Mary, that she couldn’t get herself to use Mary’s name.
Martha was mad and she wanted everyone in her house to know it.
- And, at that moment, unity was broken because Martha was being divisive.
And it’s then that Jesus corrects her.
- Not because she was serving and not sitting,
- but because her anger disturbed the unity, the peace, in the home.
Read: Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
Jesus was present!
- Relationships should be strengthened, nourished,
- like the meal they were about to eat would have done to their physical bodies.
Martha’s anger distracted her from serving Jesus and His apostles in a way that reflected the unity, the oneness, the presence of Jesus brought.
The apostle Peter was there. Perhaps Peter was remembering this event when he wrote 1 Peter 4:9 which says:
- Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
- Luke 10:41-42 Jesus corrects Martha
Read: Luke 10:41-42
Look, you’ve heard pastors teach this passage many times so I don’t want to drag this out. Here’s what I believe is the big idea.
In correcting Martha, Jesus reveals what the one thing in life is:
- It’s living in the presence of Jesus.
- It’s living in the presence of Jesus.
We have many Martha’s in the church today. In fact if I were to ask you which one you are more like, the majority would say Martha.
- Probably because you find that serving Jesus is far easier than resting in the presence of Jesus.
- Me too!
Jesus didn’t tell Martha to stop serving and sit down at His feet like Mary was doing. He was telling her that in serving Him:
- Recognize His presence.
- Don’t worry what other Christians are doing or not doing.
- Whatever you’re doing, do it as unto the Lord. (The Apostle Paul said the very same thing in Colossians 3:23)
- In other words, Jesus is telling Martha do what you’re doing, no matter where you’re doing it, as if I was in the room with you.
Christian, whether you’re
- actively serving Jesus,
- sitting in this Worship Center,
- or alone in your quiet place,
- the one thing is still the same:
Live in presence of Jesus.
Conclusion: Curly, from the movie ‘City Slickers,’ wasn’t the only one to realize that there is just one thing in life that’s necessary.
All those in the Bible whose lives were blessed by God, whose walk with God was fruitful and whose faith in God powerfully impacted the world around them.
- They all new that the one thing necessary in life that brought peace, joy, hope, comfort, forgiveness, rest, acceptance and a deep, powerful, overwhelming, all-encompassing love…
Is living in the presence of Jesus.
Perhaps no one understood that better than Nicolas Herman who lived in the 1600’s.
- Nicolas was a French army veteran who after being injured in the war, ended up in a Carmelite monastery in Paris.
- He wasn’t educated enough to become a priest so he spent his years at the monastery washing dishes.
In his book ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’ Brother Lawrence, as he was called in the monastery, referred to his time in the kitchen, when he wrote this:
- The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees before God. (Christianity Today)
Brother Lawrence was 80 yrs old when he died. He died as he lived, recognizing and rejoicing in the presence of God.
When a fellow monk asked him his thoughts as the old man lay on his deathbed, Lawrence answered:
- I am doing what I shall do, through all eternity – blessing God, praising God, adoring God, giving Him the love of my whole heart. It is our one business, my brethren, to worship Him, and love him, without thought of anything else.”
‘Coram Deo’ is Latin for
- live before the face of God
It best sums up the life of Brother Lawrence.
- And it’s the one thing that must be THE priority in our life.
Christian, Coram Deo,
- live before the face of God.