What Jesus Did! 'Revolutionary Priorities!' — Luke 10:38-42

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me."

But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."

— Luke 10:38-42 NLT

Key Thought

In an age when rabbis didn't even talk to women in public — much less teach them and enter into Bible study with them — Jesus broke all the traditional rules. In John 4, he visited publicly with a woman who was a Samaritan and was therefore despised by most Jews. Yet, through her, he reached her whole village. Here, in Luke 10, Jesus not only discussed God's word with a woman and taught her, letting her sit at her feet as a rabbinic student in training, [1] but he emphasized that his teaching was the one crucial thing about which she should be concerned. Women were not only given the opportunity to associate with and learn from Jesus, but just as the men were, they were also told that knowing Jesus, his words, and his Kingdom was the primary concern.

[1] Perhaps even more revolutionary than Jesus talking with Mary and other women is that learning at someone's feet, as in today's verses with Mary listening at Jesus' feet to what he taught, was used to refer to one rabbi training another rabbi. Compare Acts 22:3 NRSV, which has a literal translation of the Greek. Paul said he was "brought up... at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law..." Earlier (Acts 5:34 NRSV), Gamaliel had been identified as a "teacher of the law," i.e., a rabbi.

Today's Prayer

Father, please let nothing hinder me from placing Jesus first in my life. Please use me to influence all those in my family to see that he should be their primary concern. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 6:31-33
  • Luke 8:1-3
  • 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15


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Illustration of Luke 10:38-42 NLT — "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.