June 27 I Sunday
“[Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.” —Luke 10:39
When Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha, we find two sisters with contrasting postures and receptions of Jesus. Martha gets herself busy with all the preparation work that needs to be done, while Mary sits by Jesus’s feet listening to what He is saying. In our present day, we find it normal and widely accepted for a woman to sit listening and learning; however, in the New Testament culture, this scene is almost unheard of.
During the New Testament time, there was a Jewish prayer book called Siddur, meaning “order.” The book was filled with blessings, thanksgivings and petitions. There was a common liturgy amongst men, a prayer that goes, “Blessed are You, O God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a Gentile, a slave or a woman.” From this prayer, we can understand where a woman’s place was during that time. Also, within the Jerusalem version of the Talmud, which is the book of interpretations by rabbis on the Old Testament law, Rabbi Eliezer declared, “A woman’s wisdom is solely in her spinning-wheel . . . let words of Torah burn rather than be transmitted to women.” Although these isolated teachings do not reflect the whole culture and perspective of Jewish tradition towards the role of women, it had a strong following during Jesus’s days.
The very fact that we find Mary sitting at the Lord’s feet listening to His teaching should not be taken lightly. Mary was listening intently, as would any disciple, fixated on Jesus and immersed in His words. She was focused on studying who He is and listening to Him.
What do we need to minimize in our life so that we can sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him? There is no time like the present to leave behind the distractions of this life and choose to immerse ourselves in His Word, understanding how He is at work in us and in the world around us.
Would we challenge ourselves this week to let go of distractions and create enough margin in our schedules to be in His presence and learn from His Word? There is nothing wrong with listening to sermons or podcasts, but when we do, we are hearing someone else’s quiet time with Jesus. While these are helpful, there is unique value in cutting out the middle person, and studying the Word for ourselves. Afterwards, go for a walk outside and pray to God, talk to Him about what He had revealed through His Word. In a world where we are free to sit at Jesus’s feet, may we savour every moment with Him in His Word.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You that I am free to sit at Your feet and learn from Your Word. Grant me a renewed desire to choose to immerse myself in You. Praise You!