The Parable of the good Samaritan shows the way of Jesus.
The good Samaritan is our exemplar, our model. How can we "go and do likewise" like commanded by Jesus? The answer comes from the following story with Mary and Martha.
There are many false lessons that have been extracted from the story of Mary and Martha. The story is not about:
- Mary as the symbol of contemplation over action
- Mary as the symbol of the love of God over the love of people
- Mary as the symbol of the Gospel as superior to Law
- Or Mary as the symbol of Christianity being greater than Judaism
40But 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."Martha was distracted. The Greek implies Martha was distracted by service.
Mary is the Prime Exemplar of Attention to Jesus.
Mary takes the position of a student to Jesus. This was a radical ideas, of a women as a student of a rabbi. Yet her sister Martha, is pulled away from Jesus. She is trying to be a good hostess, she doesn't want to be rude, but she doesn't stop to listen. She is worried and upset, she's grumpy, and she even tells Jesus off.
To be the good Samaritan, we must be like Mary. We must first listen to Jesus before we serve. Otherwise we will see service as duty. Commentators have heaped tons of scorn on Martha. But how often have we been like Martha, going through the motions, yet not paying attention to Jesus. Those of us in ministry are often the worst at this. We focus so much on doing the work of God, we forget to listen to Him. There is nothing wrong about service or busyness, but we must first listen.
We all know what it is like to be like Martha, I hope we can all learn to be like the Good Samaritan, it means we must first learn to listen like Mary.