An Unexpected Visitor

A re-telling of Luke 10: 38 – 41

Diego Rodríguez da Silva y Velázquez 1599 – 1660

Glancing out of the window by chance, the sisters saw him approaching their home. Going to the door they opened it just moments before he was about to knock. Mary and Martha invited Jesus into their home, even though their brother, Lazarus, was away at that time.

After welcoming him in, Martha went to the kitchen to finish some chores and prepare a meal, leaving Mary to make their guest comfortable. She expected Mary to come and help her, after seeing to their guest’s needs but half an hour later thee was no sign of Mary, who seemed to be leaving Martha to do the chores.

When Martha looked through the kitchen doorway, she saw Mary sitting at the feet of their guest, seemingly hanging on to his every word as he spoke. Martha could feel her ire rising. She started rattling and banging pots and pans as she worked in their kitchen, hoping her sister might hear and take the hint.’Why does my sister Mary do nothing, leaving me to do all the work’, Martha thought ‘Time she got up and helped me, instead of sitting there like a student learning from a teacher’.

Eventually, Martha became really angry and stormed out of the kitchen determined to vent her frustration but she didn’t speak directly to Mary of her annoyance. It wasn’t just that her sister wasn’t helping her but she had not kept to custom. By sitting at Jesus feet, Mary was behaving like a man.

Martha asked Jesus to send her sister to help with the work. She was hot, tired and aggravated at having to do it all on her own. Jesus didn’t send Mary to help Martha, instead he told Martha she was too pre-occupied with doing things that could wait, and was not doing what was most important.


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