Luke 10: 38-42 “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
I have a pretty impressive track record of being wrong about love. Like really wrong. Behind me is a trail of people I have thrown my heart at in the hopes of finding security, affection, and validation. I’ve begged for bottomless time investments, deep emotional commitment, and tireless companionship. I’ve gone into counterfeit love headfirst, thinking if I dove deep enough, I’d find what I desperately needed.
We need, need, need love. We were created to yearn for, ache, and long for true love. That’s not a bad thing. Think of the trinity: Father, Son, Spirit. Can you imagine the depth of love and intimacy there? And to think we are the image bearers of this? Of course we long for love and of course that’s perfectly okay, in fact, it’s pretty unbelievably beautiful. I’m tired of watching my deepest desired be dressed in shame, aren’t you? I used to think the problem was with what I needed, now I know I’ve just been asking the right question to the wrong person.
If you’re reading this because you want to know what real Love is, because you’re hungry to fall in a Love that will rescue you, because you’re tired on the counterfeit loves that have wrecked your heart, because you have been looking everywhere, but you’ve come up empty…I’m glad you’re here.
The story of Mary and Martha is one of the most profound, intimate, revolutionary love stories in the entire Bible. This story is just above a whisper about the Love I was always looking for. It’s the simple gospel in a few lines, where Abba’s Son closes the distance and gives Himself in full. We can talk like it is about Mary and Martha but then we will have missed the Tremendous Lover altogether. His Love is embedded in every line, running head on into us with reckless abandon.
The story begins with Jesus entering a village. The only reason He even sets foot in that town is to go and be with… Who? Martha. Look again. Whose house is Jesus in? Martha’s. Jesus walks into that village to go and see Martha; the one who is distracted; the one who can’t seem to understand who Jesus is for long enough to sit down with Him. Jesus enters that village to go to Martha’s house. This visit isn’t planned by the women. Just look at how frantic Martha is… do you think she expected Jesus there that day? So the story goes, the Tremendous Lover knocks on Martha’s door, on a day she did not expect, and He invites Himself in. He’s there on His own agenda because He wanted to be. Jesus comes to you.
This gets me in my core. This is a pursuit. Do you see it? And this is not a one-time, hot-passioned, fleeting pursuit. This is a determined pursuit. Jesus goes into Martha’s home knowing full well that she’ll be too distracted to recognize Love in action. He goes anyway. Even more, He sticks around while Martha frantically tries to be good enough for Him. He never had any intention of leaving. It was His idea and His choice to be there and stay there. Somewhere along the way, we started believing the lie that if we’re messy, distracted, or not committed enough, Jesus would leave. We started believing we had to be a certain way to attract and keep Jesus around, and now we’re afraid that any wrong step will cause Him to step away from us in anger and disappointment. But look at the way Jesus is with Martha. He doesn’t leave. She’s anything but in love with Him, yet Jesus stays. That’s because Jesus’ love doesn’t respond, it initiates and never stops.
When an indignant Martha asks why Jesus isn’t making Mary serve as much as she herself is, Jesus doesn’t chastise or condemn or even correct her. See, Martha thought she had to earn Jesus. She didn’t realize He was already in her house and that was all that mattered. Jesus’s response to Martha is to say her name. When people say my name to me, I feel known. Jesus knew Martha. He knew she would miss the point. He knew she would be distracted and confused. He says her name anyway. He says it twice, which is what humans do when we’re really trying to get someone’s attention. He doesn’t yell her name. I think He whispered it. I think He took her hands in His hands and whispered her identity to her and looked deep into her eyes. I think He says Martha, Martha because He’s in Love and He just can’t wait for Martha to realize that Love is for her.
The last thing our sweet Jesus does is reassure Mary. She doesn’t do anything but sit at His feet and listen. She never breaks eye contact with her Shepherd, and in response, Jesus tells the eager daughter that He’s not going anywhere. Look around, Jesus likes to assure His friends of who He is: He doesn’t abandon, or grow weary, or quit. When Jesus says the good portion will not be taken away from Mary, He’s telling her that her simple choice is enough. Even more, He’s confirming the radical rumor of heaven on earth. He’s making a vow. He has given Himself in full to us. The Bridegroom, the Tremendous Lover, made good on His word when He died on the cross. Jesus is devoted to you. He’s completely committed, with no thought of going back. You can count on Jesus being present and fully invested in your heart forever.
I think this is a taste of the real Love we’re all looking for. It’s a wild Love, and Jesus is so relentlessly confidant in it that He’s willing to wait it out for each of us to see it.