Luke 10:38-42

1. Over the last few Sundays, we have heard that Jesus means freedom in every area of life. What does it mean that Jesus means freedom when, in the words of Paul in Galatians 3:28, there is neither male nor female, that all are equal?

2. Bill Loader offers us the following insights:

“The first step [in interpreting this story] is surely to try to sense what it is saying and doing in Luke’s narrative. Notice that Martha appears to run the household. She is the one who offers hospitality (Luke 10:38). This is a positive role. Hospitality was important. Earlier in the chapter we saw that it played a vital role for the envoys of Jesus, as for Jesus, himself. So, we are among the faithful.

Then quite suddenly Luke introduces her sister, Mary, describing her as sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to what he was saying. This might seem odd to some, especially if they are of the view that such a posture is that of the disciple and that normally disciples of great teachers were male. It would make quite a difference to the interpretation because the underlying issue between the women would be whether one should be allowed to assume what was traditionally a male posture and role or not. Jesus would be defending the rights of Mary to be equally present with men and break free from stereotyped female roles.”

3. Culpepper’s (Luke, New Interpreter’s Bible) offer his final “Reflections”:

“In its own way, the conjunction of the stories about the [compassionate] Samaritan and the female disciple [Mary] voice Jesus’ protest against the rules and boundaries set by the culture in which he lived. As they develop seeing and hearing as metaphors for the activity of the [realm of God], the twin stories also expose the injustice of social barriers that categorize, restrict, and oppress various groups in any society (Samaritans, victims, women).

To love God with all one’s heart and one’s neighbour as oneself meant then and now that one must often reject society’s rules in favour of the codes of the [realm of God] — a society without distinctions and boundaries between its members. The rules of that society are just two — to love God and one’s neighbour — but these rules are so radically different from those of the society in which we live that living by them invariably calls us to disregard all else, break the rules, and follow Jesus’ example.”

              Rev Vladimir Korotkov