Week 91 | Sections 104-105
Today’s study envelops the story of Mary and Martha as well as Jesus’ second presentation of “The Lords Prayer”. In the two we stories we see authentic faith in action.
Section 104 | Jesus’ Visit with Mary and Martha
38 As they went on their way, he entered into a certain village,1 and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.2 39 She had a sister called Mary,3 who also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.4 40 But Martha was distracted5 with much6 serving, and she came up to him, and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me.” 41 Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.7”
Section 105 | Lesson on How to Pray and the Parable of the bold Friend
1 When he finished praying in a certain place, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray,8 just as John also taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father9 in heaven, may your name be kept holy10. May your Kingdom come. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ ”11
5 He said to them, “Which of you, if you go to a friend at midnight, and tell him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him,’ 7 and he from within will answer and say, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give it to you’? 8 I tell you, although he will not rise and give it to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as many as he needs. 9 “I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he won’t give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, he won’t give him a scorpion, will he? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
- How do you balance and value both being and doing?
- What do you make of Jesus’ willingness to be received into a “woman’s home” and teach a woman in the cultural context of his day? How might overlooking and respecting cultural norms be a blessing to some and challenging to others? How can we know when to do one or the other?
Learning Objectives: Spiritual disciplines stimulate our faith: 1) The inward disciplines: Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, Study; 2) The outward disciplines: Simplicity, Solitude, Submission, Service 3.) The corporate disciplines: Confession, Worship, Guidance, Celebration.
Special Prayer: O God, heavenly Father, whose Son Jesus Christ enjoyed rest and Refreshment in the home of Mary and Martha of Bethany: Give us the will to love you, open our hearts to hear you, and strengthen our hands to serve you in others for his sake; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.
- That is “Bethany” near Jerusalem in the Region of Judea (see John 12, see the Harmony Bible Map)
- House of peace
- Mary of Bethany does not appear to be the same woman in Luke 7:36-50 who is Mary of Magdala as that lies in the region of Galilee (read more). Whether or not they were the same person, the evidence remains that Jesus reached out, welcomed and trained women (not just men, but also people of every age and station in society) to receive grace, proclaim the good news of salvation and serve in various forms of ministry. We will read about Mary and Martha again in John’s Gospel (John 11) with their brother Lazarus (Sec 118a,b), and just six days before Passover, when Jesus returns to Bethany and is having dinner with the siblings (John 12).
- As Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, she was in listening and being trained with the other disciples – a counter cultural activity for women of that time. In fact Martha, was doing what women were “supposed to do”. Women were not required to learn the Torah or to engage in religious activity – they were expected to be homemakers. The cultural norm didn’t even expect women to be present at the three feasts (Dt. 16:16) which men were commanded to attend in Jerusalem.
- Occupied with her proper cultural role, but preoccupied and bothered which was the real issue Jesus would to address.
- Martha is doing exactly what most women would be doing: being a hostess and feeding her guests. She expected Mary to help her.
- Jesus’ response is counter cultural! He affirmed the truth knit into the creation story itself – that a woman is a “human being” with abilities, identity, value and potential – as is every man and child – male or female.
- This is a different instance that the record in Mat 6:1-18, Week 44 in Sec 54f. When comparing the two the context is completely different. It does however go to show that Jesus maintained this pattern of prayer and there is much value for us to learn the same. We have no record of Jesus teaching his disciples how to preach, but here we have his second teaching on how to pray. While some might remember the ACTS prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication – it seems much more reasonable to value and use Jesus’ model.
- Jesus begins his prayer with two simple words that embody two important relational concepts: community (our) and the creator (Father) – the word father in the Aramaic is Abba, an informal name best translated as Daddy, which indicates not only the one who made me but the also a sweet and endearing relationship. This is the relationship which Jesus has restored as he reconciled humanity in his death and resurrection.
- God is very close and yet he is very different. We offer respect to our Father (See 5th commandment, Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16; Eph 6:2)
- There is a old teaching from Larry Lea called “Can you not tarry one hour?” which is based on the Lord’s Prayer.