Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And 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.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 ESV
In the Gospel of Luke, the visit of Jesus to the home of Mary, Martha & Lazarus brings about this brief but precious conversation — and an arresting statement. What is this “one thing necessary” that Jesus speaks about?
In directing Martha (and all of us) to turn to “the one thing necessary” our Lord points to a contrast here, that Mary had chosen better — a superior use of her time, a more important focus for her energies and cares. Jesus told Martha that she was anxious and troubled about many things. Granted, Martha was not doing anything inherently wrong; in fact she was doing much that was good! Yet, Jesus implies that her heart was tangled up, her busyness was not right. She was distracted and worried and upset in a worldly way. Our hearts can be pulled away from the Lord by busyness in respectable activities. God does not want our busyness — religious or otherwise. God wants our hearts. Indeed the greatest commandment of all of Scripture is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38). This is what Mary appears to be doing — learning at the feet of Jesus, even worshipping as she took in His words of truth and life. She put first things first and Jesus was so very pleased!
Jesus points to Mary and tells Martha (and us): that’s the better thing, that is the one thing necessary! Oh how the world misunderstands what God requires — and how much those who are merely religious miss the most important thing. Many people think they know what Jesus wants, but will not listen to His very words here to Martha! As a famous preacher once said, it should be our first and sole business to attend to our soul’s business!
Did you notice the T-shirts worn by the 33 Chilean miners as they emerged from the ground? I spotted the name JESUS on the sleeve, and wondered about them. This was a logo for “The Jesus Film Project” (of Campus Crusade for Christ). Apparently the Chile branch of CCC provided a copy of the film (with one of the Gospels dramatically portrayed) to the men in the mine — and later designed and provided these t-shirts when they were requested!
But did you know that on the shirt all the miners chose to wear over their rescue jumpsuits, the front said “thank you, Lord” and the back side quoted Psalm 95:4 —
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
CNN’s Religion Blog posted a great piece on the whole story of these shirts — you should read the whole thing. Praise God for this witness and His work of grace in that dark place!
In the midst of our culture’s materialistic fervor during the “holiday season” does it help for believers to chine in, “Jesus is the reason for the season”? I think Warren Cole Smith — (writing in WORLD Magazine) draws a helpful line for us….
I consider myself a “fellow warrior” with some of these folk. By that I mean that we agree on many things, and I would normally join them in their “culture war” fights. But on this one, please allow me to offer a dissenting view to the prevailing “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” mentality.
First of all, Jesus is most certainly not the reason for the orgiastic spending spree modern Christmas has become. I certainly think anyone should be able to say “Merry Christmas” if he wants to. But given what this holiday has become, there’s a part of me – a big part of me — that wants to keep the Jesus I worship as far away from this commercial debauchery as possible.
Of course the incarnation of Jesus, the Son of God, is the reason Christians celebrate Christmas — including the giving of gifts to one another. But this celebration of the incarnation is not an excuse for such Christless-commercialism and materialism (seeking happiness in possessions).
Remember the Word of Him who took on flesh and dwelt among us (Hebrews 13:5), “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
Charles Spurgeon brings hope to the Saturday night sinner (and all of us) as he speaks of Jesus Christ, using this text from Hebrews 2:18:
“He himself hath suffered being tempted.”
It is a common-place thought, and yet it tastes like nectar to the weary heart—Jesus was tempted as I am. You have heard that truth many times: have you grasped it? He was tempted to the very same sins into which we fall. Do not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy.
Let us be of good cheer, Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour.
There is something sweeter yet—Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned. Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in his power his members may also cease from sin. Some beginners in the divine life think that they cannot be tempted without sinning, but they mistake; there is no sin in being tempted, but there is sin in yielding to temptation.
Herein is comfort for the sorely tempted ones. There is still more to encourage them if they reflect that the Lord Jesus, though tempted, gloriously triumphed, and as he overcame, so surely shall his followers also, for Jesus is the representative man for his people; the Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory. Fears are needless, for Christ is with us, armed for our defence. Our place of safety is the bosom of the Saviour. Perhaps we are tempted just now, in order to drive us nearer to him. Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Saviour’s love! Happy wounds, which make us seek the beloved Physician.
Ye tempted ones, come to your tempted Saviour, for he can be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and will succour every tried and tempted one.
(from CHS’ Morning & Evening devotions for October 3rd)
Last night at church we had a fun time of fellowship. We welcomed the new year with the reading of this Scripture and a reminder that we are closer to the return of Christ, and His making all things new. Rejoice in expectant hope! Behold all that awaits the faithful…..
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30 esv
Wednesday nights at CPCC we’re looking at “famous verses of the Bible” and this verse from Matthew is certainly one. We had a fantastic discussion of it, and i encourage you to meditate upon it. For instance, notice that Jesus speaks of “HIS yoke” when He gives out this invitation. Everyone is harnessed to some master; everyone serves someone or some thing. And some “masters” are harder than others. Men are born enslaved to sin (Romans 6:6). When men are born again, they are set free from sin’s mastery, to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, as “slaves of God” (Rom. 6:22).
Did you ever hear these Bob Dylan lyrics (c. 1979)?
Gotta Serve Somebody
You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody….
Consider who you serve. Is it Jesus Christ as your Lord?
In the book MERE CHRISTIANITY by C. S. Lewis, one of the most common mistakes about Jesus is wonderfully dealt with. Let me quote him, from Part 2, at the end of chapter 3…
“I am trying to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
So Lewis says Jesus is either: a lunatic, a liar or the Lord God. I know which one I pick, how about you?