The following story is about two women who knew Jesus personally. Their names were Mary and Martha, and they were the sisters of a man named Lazarus. According to the Gospel of John, “Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus” (John 11:5).
Jesus’ love for Mary and Martha wasn’t a general, unspecific love. It’s true that God loves all people, but this was more. Jesus felt a genuine, human fondness for Mary, Martha, and their brother.
One day when Jesus was ministering and teaching near their community, He decided to stop off at His friends’ house for dinner. Let’s pick up the story there:
“38 While they were traveling, he entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” 41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” — Luke 10:38-42
What do you find interesting from this story? Why?
What can we learn about Jesus from His interactions with Mary and Martha?
Both Mary and Martha were confronted with a choice between doing what felt necessary and spending time with Jesus. Don’t miss the fact that Jesus decided which sister made the “right choice.”
Unpack the Story
Talk to God Through Prayer
As a disciple of Jesus, you have an opportunity to spend time with Him each day. Therefore, like Mary and Martha, you need to make a choice. You can choose to dive headlong into the fast-moving current of your life with all its demands and frustrations—or you can choose to pull back and spend some time communicating with God.
You may be thinking, How do I communicate with God? Notice what Mary did to draw close to Jesus: she sat at His feet and listened to Him. That’s it. That’s all you need. Regularly drawing near to God and listening when He speaks to you are the keys to cultivating a deep and personal relationship with Him.
What are some potential obstacles that can hinder you from spending time with Jesus each day?
Prayer is one of the primary ways to talk with God and listen for His voice. People often feel confused about prayer—what it is, what it means, and what it accomplishes. At the core, however, prayer is simply communication with God. It involves speaking to God from your heart and actively listening when He speaks to you.
Notice that prayer isn’t a method for approaching God as a genie or divine vending machine. Prayer isn’t a way we get God to do what we want. Instead, prayer is the way we draw close to God to find out what He wants.
God draws us close to Himself when we spend time with Him in prayer. For that reason, saturating your life with prayer each day is the beginning step to knowing God and experiencing Him in a meaningful way.
What do you look forward to most when you think about prayer?
What questions would you like to ask about the process and purpose of prayer?
Hear From God Through His Word
The more we draw close to God through prayer, the more open we become to hearing and receiving God’s guidance in our lives. That’s why the Bible is so important—because one of the primary ways God speaks to us today is through His Word.
When you read the Bible or hear teaching from the Scriptures, you are hearing from God. The Bible is unchanging, unwavering, unalterable, and always true. Though written thousands of years ago, it has remained both relevant and revolutionary literally for thousands of years.
In other words, the Bible is God’s Word for you today!
What have you heard or been taught about the Bible?
What questions would you like to ask about God’s Word?
The Scriptures offer clear principles and practical instructions for life. They are easily understood when studied seriously, and they are applicable for every disciple.
With that in mind, the most important tool you’ll need for studying God’s Word isn’t a commentary or Bible dictionary—it’s humility. Just as Mary submitted herself to Jesus by sitting at His feet, you must submit yourself to God’s Word by choosing to believe and obey what it says.
As you hear from God through the pages of Scripture and begin to put His truth into practice, you’ll continue to develop a deep love and close relationship with Him. In the same way that young children recognize their father’s voice, you will begin to recognize and know your heavenly Father’s voice as you study His Word.
What do you hope to experience as you study the Bible?
This was an excerpt from Disciples Path: The Journey, Volume 1 Session 4.