Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to preach for just one Sunday which meant that instead of beginning a sermon series or continuing a series, I could preach any text that seemed fitting. As I thought and prayed, I was drawn to Luke 10 and the short story of Mary and Martha and the sibling rivalry between them. My purpose in going to that passage was not primarily to teach on the contrast between the life of busy service and the life of quiet contemplation, but to see Jesus as the central character in the story and to learn from him.
As I studied the passage and read other sermons about it, I was surprised at how many preachers forget about Jesus and focus on the sisters instead. In contrast, I found it such a blessing to focus on Jesus and to meet him in that text. Let me tell you about just one of the blessings I found there.
That little story so clearly displays Jesus in his humiliation. Humiliation is a term we use to describe God becoming man, to describe the fact that the Son of God humbled himself by laying aside his glory and becoming human and ultimately dying the death of a criminal.
I don’t ever want to lose the wonder of God being there in Martha’s home. We are less than a week away from Good Friday and Easter, when Christians will meet together to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, the pivotal events in all of human history. We will proclaim our belief that Jesus was put to death so he could face the wrath of God against sin, so he could suffer the punishment for the sin of all those who would believe in him. As Christians we proclaim the death of Jesus every week, we sing about it, we celebrate it, we have nothing and are nothing without it.
But in all our talk of the death of Jesus, we need to guard against losing the wonder of the fact that Jesus first lived. God was born in human flesh and came and lived among us. I think we sometimes forget just how miraculous it is that God himself, the second person of the Trinity, was born in human flesh, that he was truly human—as human as you and me. The one who created the world was born into this world, as a crying, naked little baby, he was raised by a man and woman that he had created, he was obedient to these people, he had to grow in wisdom and understanding, he really did walk from place to place, he got blisters on his feet, he got tired and hungry, he needed hospitality. The One who created the universe needed hospitality. Isn’t that an amazing thing to consider?