The Ideal Sister

The Ideal Sister

Luke 10:38-42

Introduction: The narrative of Jesus as a house guest of Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters in their home in Bethany (about 2 miles from Jerusalem) gives us some special direction as to the roles of service and worship.

  1. Distraction(s) – Luke 10:40-41

Martha’s Place/Position = Martha’s dilemma was service.


Luke tells us that …. [Martha was cumbered] Periespato, perplexed, from peri, about, and

spaoo, I draw.

Application: She was harassed/preoccupied with different cares and employments at the same time; one drawing one way, and another, another:

A proper description of a worldly mind.

Positive: But in Martha’s favour it may be justly said, that all her anxiety was to provide suitable and timely entertainment for our Lord and his disciples; for this is the sense in which the word diakonian, serving, should be taken.

Martha’s Character: And we should not, on the merest supposition, attribute earthly-mindedness to a woman whose character stands unimpeachable in the Gospel; and who, by entertaining Christ and his disciples, and providing liberally for them, gave the highest proof that she was influenced by liberality and benevolence, and not by parsimony or covetousness.

Question: Do you not care or think it wrong to leave it all to me?

[Dost thou not care] Dost thou not think it wrong, that my sister thus leaves me to provide and prepare this supper, alone?

Tell her / bid her …. [Help me.] Sunantilabeetai, from sun, together, and antilambanomai, to support.

The idea is taken from two pillars meeting together at the top, exactly over the center of the distance between their bases, and thus mutually supporting each other.

Order her to unite her skill and strength with mine, that the present business may be done with that speed and in that order which the necessity and importance of the case demand.

 Answer: Jesus did not answer with a yes or no but rather emphasises what is at the heart of the matter.

[Thou art careful and troubled] Thou art distracted, merimnas, thy mind is divided (see the note at Matt 13:22), in consequence of which, turbazee, thou art disturbed, thy spirit is thrown into a tumult.

[About many things.] Getting a variety of things ready for this entertainment, much more than are necessary on such an occasion.

Application: When we don’t make it a point to have a balance of service with worship, it is easy to become distracted to the point of having our priorities skewed.

It is not unusual, even as Christians to be divided, doubtful and defensive when we don’t spend time with God, His Word, His teachings and His ways!


Application: I find myself most at peace when I’ve prayed and spent time in the Word.

Transition: Let me move us from the distractions to the important / significant.

  1. Important / Necessary – 10:42

Question: What is indicated as important?

[Sat at Jesus’ feet] This was the posture of the Jewish scholars, while listening to the instructions of the rabbis. It is in this sense that Paul says he was brought up at the FEET of Gamaliel, Acts 22:3.

Jesus describes what is important as:

  1. Needful / Necessary – duty, business

  2. Good – of good constitution and nature. Useful, pleasant, joyful, happy, excellent, honurable.

Question: So what does the Ideal Sister look like?

  • Recognizes role and place of service

  • Values the place

M.H. ‘I would argue that the ‘ideal sister’ is balanced in both area.

Only Serve = absence of intimacy.

Only Sit = miss opportunity to bless / provide.

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