Mary and Martha Revisited

Mary and Martha are probably best known for one scene from the Bible, found in Luke 10:38-42. Most readers/interpreters see Martha as the tireless worker who misses out on Jesus and Mary as the contemplative soul who made a wise choice to listen to Jesus. But consider what Brennan Manning says when he turns the focus of the story on Jesus instead of Mary and Martha:

So what does the passage tell us about Jesus? He is en route to Jerusalem, aware already of the hostile reception awaiting him. He interrupts his journey to stop at the village of Bethany. Exhausted from the hurly-burly of ministry, heavy-hearted with the intrigue of the Pharisees and the pettiness of the apostles, longing for female companionship, he seeks out his two dear friends. Intuitively understanding his need, Mary allows Jesus to pour out his heart, giving him rapt, undivided attention and affection. Martha, who is hungry, assumes that her guest is more interested in food than conversation and launches into the ministry of hospitality. She thinks that her ditsy sister should get with the program and asks Jesus to straighten her out.

Jesus' response conveys this essence: "Cool it, Martha, We'll have the trout almandine later. I'm worn out, lonely, empty, and frightened. I'm heading to the Holy City, and as you know, a prophet must die in Jerusalem. Drop the frying pan, come over here, sit beside your sister, and hold my hand. I need you. Mary's got a grip on where I'm at. She knows that I'm fully human, have a sensitive human heart, and long to be treated as a man who is human."
- Ruthless Trust

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