Is the devotion of Mary better than the service of Martha in Luke 10? video discussion

It is often held that the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10 shows us that devotion to the teaching of Jesus is superior to the work involved in practical service.

But does that really make sense, not least in the context of the Parable of the Good Samaritan that immediately precedes it? James and Ian explore the text, its context, and its meaning, and how we might read and preach on this passage.

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5 thoughts on “Is the devotion of Mary better than the service of Martha in Luke 10? video discussion”

  1. Yes but you do not want an honest discusion do you only in establishing old myths that women should serve men. This book was probably written by a mental person or drug addict part of a cult, you know the ones that brain wash women into believing that their sole role is to serve their husbands and behave in the way that their men want this book and this God is mans god not womens who are really not in it ,much except in a servitude role doing what their told and i dont recall any where it sa women will go to this heaven. Only men ( please dont say well it means women as well especially when you also say we should take it literally) this is also the books that say thou shalt not kill and then go on to remind you of the times when killing has been sanctioned???? Loads of contradictions liads of discriminations nit for me, go away.

    • When you think about it, Val, the message of Jesus was as radical as it’s possible to be, both for his listeners at the time and for us today. And that’s because he’s not primarily focussed on sorting out the broken world we live in for the very short period of our human life; instead he points us to the possibility of a new beginning of a new life with God in an eternal future.

      None of us, and certainly not Jesus, would pretend that human life right now is fair or that we can ever reorganise it so that everyone gets exactly what they want out of it. But with eyes focussed on that eternal future which Jesus offers, we are much better placed to handle those things we don’t like now without being eaten up by discontent and anger. And as a by-product of our Christian faith we are likely to make this present world a better place than it would otherwise be for other people (because the love of God is changing us from the inside).

      The thought that none of this applies to women is as far from the plain witness of the Bible as it’s possible to get!

    • If it’s not for you then why are you here commenting on it?

      There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

      Galatians 3:28

  2. Thank you for this video conversation, Ian: all interesting thoughts as usual. I tried to work out what I thought about the story before listening. I would definitely have been out in that kitchen!

    On the other hand we Christians always need to make sure that we’re keeping the main thing the main thing, and that means keeping the Lord Jesus Christ at the centre of whatever it is we are doing in his name. In practical terms I wonder if that means we should be particularly disciplined in preparation (do it well and in good time) so that when the moment comes for giving our undivided attention to God we are not distracted and stressed by concerns which should already have been sorted out.

    Perhaps the grumpy old teacher of Ecclesiastes was saying something similar to the lesson of this story in his famous advice on when it’s the right or wrong time to do things. There’s a time to prepare and a time to partake.

  3. Very enlightening. Many things I had never thought about in relation to this story. Thank you.

    Psalm 27:4

    One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.


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