Luke 10:25-42: Good Samaritan, Martha, and Mary

“What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”

 Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy towards him.”
Jesus said, “go and do likewise.” LUKE 10:36-37

Mash Up
Typically, my Shuffle Texts deal with somewhat unfamiliar passages (and how they are still relevant). This one is about two extremely familiar passages—the Good Samaritan and comparing Mary and Martha. They follow one right after another, but I’ve never thought about why that might be. There is a lot of important things about both stories that I will skip over (so don’t get mad) to show you an important point I’ve been missing for years.

In the Good Samaritan, Jesus is talking to a Bible expert who knows everything about the law. He even knows that one of the most important commandments is to love one’s neighbor. However, he has a narrow view of what a neighbor is, so Jesus tells him the parable of a guy robbed and beaten. The man is ignored by the religious people (like the man Jesus is talking to) and helped by a heretical Samaritan. Jesus uses the story to point out, among other things, that LEARNING the right things is not enough. We have to actually DO them.

In the second story, Martha is DOING lots of things. She’s mad that her sister, Mary, isn’t helping. Instead, Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet, LEARNING from Him like a disciple. Jesus tells Mary that she is distracted by her DOING and should instead be LEARNING.

Do you see the seeming contradiction here? I hope so. I capitalized it. Sorry, if that was condescending. In one story Jesus tells a guy to focus less on learning and more on doing. In other story, Jesus tells a woman to spend less time doing and more time learning. What’s the point? The point is. Each one of us may need to hear different things from Jesus. There is no cookie cutter path a follower of Jesus might take. Each one us needs to decide if God is trying to talk to us like the Bible expert or like Martha.

That involves and actual relationship with God—not just reading the manual, but letting His presence walk us through it. It’s kinda like how Mary is sitting in the presence of Jesus while she learns, so that she can go and do correctly.

“Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.” -LUKE 10:42

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