In the previous blog we noted now determined Jesus was to get to Jerusalem. Before him lay a task that was absolutely central to his mission — carrying through with the unimaginable sacrifice of his life for the sins of the world. I can see him as he walks with firm step, eyes fixed on the goal ahead. But arriving at Bethany he stops and spends time with two women, sisters of his dear friend Lazarus. What we can take away from this is the importance of friendships. They must remain a high priority. All too often the busyness of life demands way too much of our time and energy.
The way in which Jesus conducted himself on that passing visit teaches another important lesson. It was Mary who sat quietly at his feet absorbing all he had to say while Martha busied herself preparing a meal. Upset with her sister, Martha burst into the room and accused Jesus of not caring that Mary was not helping in the kitchen. With love Jesus said to the rather frustrated hostess: “Martha, dear Martha, you worry and fret about so many things” (Luke 10:41). In contrast to man’s tendency to use every situation for personal advantage, Jesus simply said, “Martha, dear Martha.” One can sense the gentleness of his voice and demeanor. Forget for the moment her accusation that he didn’t care. Jesus took the high road, correcting Martha in love and pointing out that Mary, who according to Martha was neglecting her responsibility, had actually made the better choice.
What I see here is the willingness to confront in love. When we feel that we have done the right thing it is hard to extend a cordial hand to the one who has critiqued us unfairly. Part of love is the willingness to accept the criticism of those who are convinced they are right. That is what Jesus did and he is our example of how to live like a “Christian.”