Radical Hospitality of Jesus

Luke 10:38-42 (NLT) 38 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. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 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.”41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” 

The Radical Hospitality of Jesus 

Here we go again with Martha and Mary – Martha being too busy to take time to be with Jesus and Mary, taking the time  to sit and listen to Jesus.  This is the top layer of the story:  Putting a priority on the busyness of things of this earth rather than putting the priority of things of the spirit in first place.  We all get that.  Moreover, it is truly important to take time to listen to Jesus and learn how He lived His life and His priorities.  His priorities were taking time to be alone with His Father and communicate with Him:   talking as well as listening. 

There is another layer to this story.  The Radical Hospitality (GRACE) of Jesus.  I have so many friends who grew up to view their church (Baptist, Catholic, Church of Christ, Nazarene, UMC, whatever) as a place where hypocrites gather to act one way and then act another out of the church. How “religion” was crammed down their throats until they were able to run as far away as they could get.  How these hypocrites judge others or how they only go to church to gather gossip or show off their clothes or to make business contacts.  My words on this:  STOP LOOKING AT THEM!!!!!  Look at Jesus instead. 

In the time of Jesus, women worked in the home.  They did it all: the cooking, childrearing, laundry, cleaning. They were lucky they had time to go to the bathroom much less take the time to learn anything.  Men, on the other hand, while they had their tasks, were “allowed” to sit at the feet of a rabbi and learn. They could sit on their duffs while the women worked and served them. It was fine for men to take the time out of their tasks so they all sit together in a group of entitlement and learn. 

Mary however, stepped out of her role as a woman.  She dared to sit at the feet of the rabbi (Jesus) and listen and learn.  She did not sit as a child would sit, but she sat as an equal to the men around her.  Martha was scandalized at her sister acting that way.  It was uncomfortable.  Martha had enough help to get the meal made and the men served. She was upset at Mary’s behavior and how Mary was daring to set herself as equal to the men around her.

 Jesus did not make Mary get up and go into the kitchen. Instead, he welcomed her to sit and be equal among the group. Martha could have done the same thing if she had chosen – if she had dared to step out of her upbringing.

 Jesus extends to us this hospitality, this grace – to come and be equal and to be loved by Him. He doesn’t say that because you’ve been angry about the church thing that you are not welcome.  He doesn’t put you into your old upbringing, the old role you had. He invites – He wants you to join Him and to be loved by Him – equally – with all others who step out of their roles and sit at His feet to give themselves to His love and grace. 

You can choose to be Martha and use the past to stay in the kitchen or, you can choose to be Mary and to be part of the Radical Hospitality of Jesus. 

Matthew 11:28-30  (MSG) 28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

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