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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1035. Mary loved to listen to Jesus (16/4/24)

This week, in our Luke series, we pick up with the account of Mary and Martha. Today, let’s briefly consider how Jesus wants us to devote ourselves, above all else, to listening to Him.  

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”’ (Luke 10:38-42) 

Lesson: Jesus, again, emphasises the importance of listening to His Word and He uses Mary’s example as a model for us.

To listen to this devotional, go to:

What are we listening to? What do we give our attention to? Over recent days and weeks, how have you directed your mind? If you were to take a moment to list the various things you’ve read, watched or listened to, how much of your attention has been on Jesus and learning from Him? We all have access to more information than anyone in history and, therefore, we have never had more opportunity to direct our minds toward what feeds our souls or toward what is unhelpful to our hearts. 

In today’s text, we see that although it was Martha who opened her home to Him, it was Mary who opened her heart and mind to welcome His Word. Likewise, we can open our lives to Christ but fail to learn from Him as we should. 

Mary sat at the Lord’s feet

Sitting at the feet of a teacher was the posture of a disciple. Mary’s demeanour marks her out as a disciple. It would have been highly unusual, at the time, for a woman to take such a position - at the feet of a man as a disciple - so Luke is wanting to highlight that women, as we saw in 8:1-3, are also called to learn from Christ (I mention this because its radical nature may pass us by).

Mary listened to what He said

Mary is presented as an exemplary disciple. Her example is designed to reinforce aspects of previous teaching: 

Firstly, her listening to Christ, reminds us of our Lord’s Transfiguration in the previous chapter, where the Father had said from heaven:

‘A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”’ (Luke 9:35)

Mary is presented as one who is seeking to do this. 

Secondly, she reminds us of The Parable of the Soils, where Jesus reveals that He wants us to be good soil for His Word:

‘But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.’ (Luke 8:15). 

Thirdly, Mary’s example reminds us of Jesus’ parable of the lamp that teaches us to let His Word shine on us and through us:

‘Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”’ (Luke 8:18) 

Finally, Mary reminds us, and fits the definition of those whom Jesus defines as His family:

He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”’ (Luke 8:21) 


Jesus, again, emphasises the importance of listening to His Word and He uses Mary’s example as a model for us. Do we listen to Jesus? Are we good soil for the Word? Are we hiding from and hiding the light of His Word? Are we behaving like Jesus’ family who love His Word? Are we, like Mary, valuing His Word - His voice - above all else in our lives? 



1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals, which are accessed in Church News, the Teaching button on the website and are now available on the major podcast platforms. 

2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 

3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.

4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday, based upon Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42. This narrative follows on from The Parable of the Good Samaritan, and I trust that we can see the similarities between the Samaritan and Martha; Luke, it seems, does this as a balance to teach us that practical love is very important, but it’s vital that our practical love and service flow out of our devotional life. Luke uses this narrative to, again, emphasise the need to listen to Jesus.  

Please read Luke 10:38-42, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • What does Jesus reveal as the most important thing for every one of us? 

  • Let’s review a few ways that Luke has already been emphasising listening to Jesus; read: Luke  6:49, 8:15, 8:18, 8:21, 9:35. Why is listening to Jesus so important? 

  • What distractions and less important things distract you from sitting at Jesus’ feet in prayer and the Word? 

  • What’s your current devotional habit? When, where and what do you do? Or, what plan would you like to start? (Using our Come to Jesus Daily Devotionals, would be a helpful addition). 

  • SIV - Why will following Mary’s exam

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