Problems Perhaps we can all relate in some way to the above story in the life of the Lord Jesus with Martha and Mary. I can recall as a kid having the same feelings as Martha when I thought that someone else should be assigned to help with a task I didn’t feel like doing. With the Lord’s help, perhaps there are a few lessons we can learn about conflict in the family and how the Lord Jesus can bring peace into our household.
First the Lord Jesus purposed, in love, to go to the home of Martha and Mary. The Lord Jesus never does anything in a random or thoughtless way. He was certain of the path He was taking and the home where He was going. Even though we can’t physically see the Lord Jesus, He certainly still comes personally to where we are, for He says, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Mt. 28:20). He would have us touched by His personal interest in what we experience. The result of the Lord’s love and care was that Martha received Him into her house.
Place for Jesus
This brings us to a second point: Martha gave the Lord Jesus a place in her house. There is a poem that says, “He is the unseen guest at every meal.” Although the Lord Jesus is in glory, He desires to be seen by our words and actions toward others. By doing so, we give the Lord Jesus a place in our home. We may also ask, “What place does He have, not only in our homes, but in our hearts?” One would think that Martha truly loved the Lord Jesus – for receiving Him as a guest also meant receiving at least twelve others to the same meal. She was probably very busy!
Thirdly this story should lead us to really appreciate the Lord Jesus more. Martha, feeling the weight of feeding and caring for all these people, goes to the Lord and calls Him, “Lord.” The point is that Martha, at this moment, is giving the Lord Jesus a place of prominence. But while she owns Him as Lord, she really doesn’t think He’s seeing everything and surely, in Martha’s mind, He needs some direction from her. We do this too – confessing Jesus as Lord and being aware that He could fix things, we think He should take care of them our way.
We also see that Martha, while receiving the Lord Jesus into her house, became burdened with cares in serving and so was not fully enjoying the presence of the Lord in her heart. The Lord approached this matter by proving He was fully aware of Martha’s need, not just of physical help, but what her heart needed. So He spoke her name, “Martha, Martha.” As some suggest, by repeating her name He attracted her personally to Himself.
The Lord’s purpose of love, though, was to have Martha give Him the preeminent (first) place. He graciously uses her sister as an illustration: “Mary has chosen that good part.” In the way the Lord and the disciples would have been sitting at the table, Martha, while serving, would have been at Jesus’ head. But Mary was at His feet! In humbleness she took the place of blessing because Jesus was preeminent in her heart. So how does giving the Lord first place affect the setting?
Peace Through The Lord Jesus
There was peace in the home. Peace is not the absence of conflict, but it is truly giving the Lord His rightful place as both Martha and Mary did. There was harmony with the Lord’s thoughts and ways. In Ephesians 2 there are these precious words: “He is our peace” (v. 14).
In Luke, the Lord Jesus is not only the perfect Man, able to resolve every small difficulty, but He is also the peace, or fellowship, offering. In the peace offering there was not only something for every person in the family, but also something for strangers that were there. May the Lord Jesus truly bring us to appreciate what He has done in offering up Himself at the cross of Calvary. How costly it was for Him – giving all so that we could have peace with God, peace in our hearts and peace in our homes.
Precious Lord Jesus
As to Martha and Mary one might ask, “Did it last?” In the Word of God we have these words: “Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom He raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment” (Jn. 12:1-3). As a final point, consider this: The result of the Lord Jesus’ having His rightful place was that the preciousness of Jesus and the sweetness of who He is filled the home. This effect is not only true of our individual homes, but it can also be enjoyed when we gather together for prayer or Bible study, for preaching the gospel, or to answer the request of the Lord Jesus, “This do in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19).
May we look to the Lord Jesus for help in conflicts, both inside and outside the home. We “beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:1), give Him the first place, enjoy His peace, and above all, be touched by His preciousness until the moment we see our Savior face to face.
By Philip Pilon
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org