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Saturday, April 15, 2017

                                                That Which is Needful

Luke 10:38-42
Now it came to pass as He entered a certain village (Bethany), a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. 

She had a sister named Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.

But Martha was very busy with much serving and came to Him and said “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Therefore, ask her to help me.”

And Jesus answered her “Martha, Martha, you are meticulous and concerned about many things.

But one thing is needful and Mary has chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.

Now, Martha and Mary were the sisters of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead.  They all lived in Bethany which is thought to be located on the slopes of the Mount of Olives looking towards and 
about two miles from Jerusalem.

According to the timelines I found, this event seems to have taken place about six to seven months (thereabouts) before Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  However, as I look at the account in John 12:1-3 where Martha serves Jesus and Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with spikenard and wipes His feet with the hairs of her head, an event which takes place just before the entry into Jerusalem, I wonder.  

Lazarus is also there and those curious to see the man Jesus raised from the dead (John 11:1-44) and most likely His disciples, were there as well.  If this is the same event as recorded in Luke 10:38-42, this would have happened just before Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday).  Why?  Because John 11:45-57 describes Jesus’ intent to go to Jerusalem for the (His final) Passover (in this world) and John 12:4-15 describes that ‘Palm Sunday’ event.  John’s account would imply a very short time span the two events (the meal and Palm Sunday).  Whereas Luke implies some sort of time lapse between the meal and Palm Sunday.  I can’t determine.

All I know here is that Martha had invited Jesus to eat with her and her sister.  In Luke, it would appear that this happened before Lazarus was raised from the dead but even with that, most likely occurred after the feeding of the four thousand.  So Martha would have been aware of that event. 

Nonetheless, in any event, this is the deal with this meal.  We see two ladies with different sets of priorities.  Understand that both Mary and Martha believed that Jesus is the Messiah and both loved the Lord (John 11:20-29).  But, Martha was more concerned about setting enough food out for people, whether there were just a few or a large crowd.  And it was a demanding task, a lot of preparation and so forth.  I mean, after all, don't you think she wanted to impress Jesus?  That’s why she came to Jesus complaining that while she was ‘slaving away’ in the kitchen – alone – Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and not helping in the preparation.  

Martha was concerned about meeting people’s needs in ‘her’ strength.  She was preparing the meal and she was setting it before those there.  Had she forgotten the four thousand?  So no matter when ‘exactly’ this event took place, the feeding of the four thousand preceded it.  Martha was doing things in ‘her’ strength, even though she believed Jesus (she acknowledged that she ‘knew’ that Jesus is the Messiah (John 11:21-27), she was concerned about getting things done in the ‘natural.  Otherwise, she also would have been sitting at the feet of Jesus, as Mary, and trusted that Jesus would have provided that which was necessary?  (Matt. 6:25-34)

Mary, on the other hand, not that she did or did not care about others, was more concerned with being fed with the words of Jesus, being spiritually fed, than taking care of ‘natural’ needs (Matt. 6:33).  Perhaps, in her heart, she was already trusting Jesus to take care of all their needs.  Not being selfish, rather realizing that her spirit needed nourishment more than her natural body, she sat.

All too often, we get wrapped up in the situations around us and lose our focus on what is truly important.  Like, when Jesus bid Peter to come out onto the water with Him.  As long as Peter kept his eyes focused on Jesus he was fine but when he refocused on the circumstances around him (the waves lapping up at his ankles), he started to sink (Matt. 14:22-32) and Jesus took his hand.

After setting the blog entry aside for the evening (unfinished), I’m back on the computer and it’s a little after five AM.  Father has just shared with me the crux of the situation with Mary and Martha.  In my heart, I knew it was about the depth of a relationship and this AM Father just confirmed that.

At my tender age, I lose track of time concerning things unless I can relate them to something I’m sure about.  My age is an example.  As long as I remember in what year I was born and I know what year this is and what month, I can tell people how old I am.  If I lose sight of one or the other I’m in trouble.  When we lose sight of who Jesus is, it is easy to get sidetracked and we get into trouble.

I was exposed to the concepts of ‘Sonship’ about four or five years ago (now you know why I made the preceding comment).  To me, it sounded as though sonship was the ultimate goal for Christians.  Realizing that we are sons and daughters of the living God, in our adoption through Jesus Christ and thereby heirs to the kingdom of God, that is eternal life along with its promises and benefits.  I AM a citizen of the kingdom of God and though I’m not there yet physically, I am spiritually.  I’m there physically when Father calls me home (1 Thess. 4:16-17), but I’m there spiritually since the day I accepted Jesus into my heart (Romans 10:9) and as I live for Him.  “Live for Him” (John 15:10).  A process (Phil. 3:13-15).  An ongoing process, which means, at first, I wasn’t so close to God, but as I continue to grow in His knowledge (the bible) and in His Spirit (learning to truly praise and worship) I can get closer and closer to my Lord and Savior,.

It’s like when a son or daughter is born into a family.  My son.  My daughter.  But as infants, they have a whooooole lot to learn.  As they grow, we (as parents) teach them the responsibilities and the benefits of being part of ‘our’ family.  This includes fringe benefits (blessings) and whatever.  The point being is that we teach our children, so that upon reaching maturity, physical and emotional, (James 4:7 & 1 Corinth. 9:27) they can be responsible adults living in this world enabling them to effectively interact with situations that come before them. 

But, both naturally and spiritually, we grow as we accept those responsibilities and implement them into our lives so we can then also reap those benefits (Gal. 6:7-8).  That means yielding our will to God’s will.  

In the natural, hopefully, by the time we graduate high school or college we have not only learned something to help us earn a living, but we can effectively interact with those whom we come in contact.  And as we grow ‘in the Spirit’, we can be more effective servants for our Lord in this world.

The more we come to understand who God IS and how we should interact with Him it helps us to effectively deal with those spiritual forces which we encounter (Ephesians 6:12-13).  Just as Jesus has authority over sickness and devils, likewise (Matt. 8:16), He gives us that same authority (John 14:12).

However, that authority comes through our obedience and our relationship with the Father through Jesus.  We find that our relationship grows as we yield more and more of our lives over to Him.
The son is no different from the servant until he reaches maturity, subject to rules, regulations and direction.  But when he reaches maturity he is expected to be able to function as an individual (Gal. 4:1-2).  This means that even though we are our Father’s children, our relationship changes.  It becomes more than “Johnnie don’t do that.” Or “Johnnie, do this.”  

My grandsons are ten, nine and three.  I have a relationship with each of them but my relationship with the ten and nine year olds is different than with the three year old.  Communication and approach is different.  I have a relationship with their father, my son and that is different yet.  He's an adult, though he's still my child, and I treat him as an adult, not as a child.  My daughter is given the same approach as my son.

As we mature, we find ourselves ‘doing’ the right things, not because we have to but because we want to.  Even though we’ve become joint-heirs with Jesus (children of God), Jesus tells His disciples that He tells them all that the Father has told Him because they are his ‘friends’ (John 15:14-15, The Greek Greek word used in this passage is philos – 5384 – which implies a close friend).   

A while back (Sept. 2016), I talked about Herod’s temple (in the time of Jesus) and how it represents our walk with the Lord.  New Christians would come into the ‘women’s courtyard’ because we are ‘just saved’ and don’t know much (a little child).  But as we grow, we eventually move into the ‘priest’s courtyard (spiritually speaking). Then into the Holy Place, which includes the ‘sanctuary and the “Holy of Holies”.  We move through the sanctuary to the torn veil, the entrance into the Holy of Holies and a lot of times, we peek in, but don’t dare to enter because that’s where God is (in the temple).  Yet!  God beckons us to come on in because that’s where He wants usIN His presence!  We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinth. 6:16).  Getting any ideas?

As I grow in Christ, I find that I can experience the Father, through my faith in Jesus, because His Holy Ghost resides in my heart (John 14:15-16).  Not only can I learn about the responsibilities and benefits God has for me, but I can experience much of it.  Here.  Now.  In this world.

I’ve talked about the ‘zone’(Watchman revelations 11-15-2015) into which Father brings me during my prayer time.  That zone is an anointing from Father.  It is a time that He draws me closer to Him, to experience His awesomeness, His presence, His love flowing into me.  It is a time I can experience HIM.  And when I’m there, nothing else matters.  Often I wish I could stay there, but I would be worthless to the world if I should.

Though Martha loved the Lord, she troubled herself with the things of this world and her time was split, between serving man and serving the Lord.  God does make us effective in this world, but we have to remain in touch with our Power Source and we do that with our personal time with our heavenly Father.  Mary realized that she needed that ‘personal’ time with the Lord.  She realized she needed to be close to our Lord.  She realized that she wanted a closer relationship with our Lord so she sat at Jesus’ feet and received it.   

In a time as we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we need to remember which is more needful, to put on a good show by doing those things which seem to be right?  Jesus tells us we serve Him by serving those in this world (Mat. 25:31-40).  Or do we seek a closer relationship with our Creator (John 15:5)?  Jesus says that we should do works, to show His love working through us (Matt. 23:23), but it is more important to have a close relationship with Him (Matt. 6:33).

What things are more needful in our lives?

Father has brought two songs to my attention, in conjunction with this, which speak to our relationship to the love of God, to Him and then to others.

the first:.
 Go to this link to hear "I Give Myself Away

and the second:
Go to this link to hear "I need You to Survive"

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