Now as they were traveling along, He entered a certain village; and
a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a
sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord's word, seated
at His feet. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations;
and she came up to Him, and said, "Lord, do You not care that my
sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help
me. But the Lord answered and said to her,
"Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;
but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen
the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
One of the passages of scripture most often taught throughout the church
is the story of Mary and Martha. On one privileged occasion, the
Lord visited their home and began to teach. In this Biblical scenario,
Mary admiringly sat at the Lords feet absorbing every word that
proceeded from His mouth. Martha, on the other hand, busied herself
in the preparation of meals and other seemingly necessary arrangements
while this process took place.
In a unique prophetic experience, the Lord illustrated this scene in
vision form to Bob and emphasized key elements of it as a teaching for
the hour in which we are living. In it he saw Mary sitting at
the Lords feet with a look of affection on her face beyond the
description of words. While this scene unfolded, Bob also saw Martha
enter the room in a spirit of disgust as she was quite frustrated
at Marys unwillingness to assist her in her duties. In fact,
she actually complained to the Lord for Marys lack of response
in recognizing these domestic concerns.
Marthas sense of duty overshadowed her ability to recognize the
greater purpose available to her in this Divine encounter. Mary,
on the other hand, responded appropriately in this unique opportunity
to hear and absorb the very words of Life essential for her instruction,
maturity and well-being. It was not an act of negligence on her
part but a sense of duty. "It is written,
'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds
out of the mouth of God. (Matt 4:4)
THOSE WHO WAIT UPON THE LORD
But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their
strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run
and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
In this prophetic experience, this scripture was given as a teaching
illustration in the analogy of the two roles portrayed by Mary and Martha.
The term wait can have dual application. One meaning
is to wait upon someone in service; to attend. Nevertheless,
as utilized in this passage it means to tarry, to
look for, to hope with expectancy; to bind together; to remain stationary
in readiness or expectation; to look eagerly for someone.
The International Standard Encyclopedia defines it accordingly:
It implies the listening ear, a heart responsive to the wooing
of God, a concentration of the spiritual faculties upon heavenly things,
the patience of faith, the earnest expectation
of the creation <Rom 8:19>. It describes an eager
anticipation and yearning for the revelation of truth and love as it
is in the Father. Thus: My soul, wait thou
God only <Ps 62:5>; Our
soul hath waited for Yahweh <Ps 33:20>
Mary chose to do that which was more important for that particular time
and received her strength from the Lord as she admiringly waited at
His feet to receive precious enlightenment. Perhaps, it was at
His feet that Mary received the revelation of the Lords approaching
sacrifice and beautifully illustrated her love by anointing Him with
nard symbolically preparing Him for this great purpose. She humbly
presented herself at the Lords feet receiving from Him the instruction
to anoint Him for His burial, an act that few others recognized or comprehended.
This gesture of love and demonstration of spiritual vision revealed
the hearts of some. The keeper of the money among the Lords
disciples responded indignantly at this beautiful presentation of love
and self-sacrifice. The religious spirit in this disciple rejected this
form of worship and expressed his disgust through a veiled attempt to
hide his true character. Such obedience and discernment
of the Word will always discern and judge the thoughts and intents of
peoples hearts. (Heb. 4:12)
There is always a time and season for each purpose characterized through
Mary and Martha. There is a season to rest and wait upon the Lord
and receive sufficient guidance so we can make certain our efforts are
directed toward the will of the Father and not our own inclinations.
Many are presently in such a process.
In this prophetic illustration, the Lord used this historical account
to convey to Bob that He too had to wait at the feet of the Father to
receive His instructions. It is recorded in the Scriptures, He
did nothing except what He saw the Father doing and spoke only that
which He heard proceed from the mouth of the Father. Likewise,
we should also receive our instruction at the Lords feet.
Even as Mary sat at the Lords feet admiringly embracing enriching
truth, so also did the Lord sit at the Fathers feet receiving
If we will faithfully follow the example of Mary in this season of the
Spirit, we will also receive counsel from the Lord in order to accomplish
the will of the Father. The Lord is desiring to change our mind-set
from that of Martha to Mary so we no longer labor for Him and begin
to work with Him. Uniquely, very often those following the example
of Martha will seemingly persecute those sitting at the Lords
feet waiting on Him. It is very difficult to overcome the tendency
to continually be busy about religious activity despite the good intentions
expressed. Nonetheless, it is a vitally important spiritual reality
that we must experience by waiting upon the Lord during the appointed
seasons. It is in this place that intimacy is developed and clear
apprehension of the Lords heart.
SHE WASHED HIS FEET WITH HER TEARS
And behold, there was a woman in the city who
was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table
in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and
standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet
with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and
kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume. Now when
the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If
this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this
woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner. And Jesus
answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you."
And he replied, "Say it, Teacher." A certain moneylender
had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which
of them therefore will love him more?" Simon answered and
said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said
to him, "You have judged correctly."
And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this
woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she
has wet My feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair.
You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased
to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she
anointed My feet with perfume. (Luke 7:37-46)
As this scene ended another unfolded, and Bob was able to observe the
Lord in a home into which He was invited. It was actually the
scene of the Lord being invited to the home of Simon with many of the
Pharisees and Sadducees in attendance.
Although the Lord was a guest in this mans home, the respect and
honor due a guest of this prominence was not extended to the Lord.
The Jews naturally wore sandals as was the custom of that day. These
were traditionally taken off when they entered a house. It was commonly
regarded as an act of hospitality and kindness to wash and anoint the
feet of a guest, especially a distinguished and esteemed visitor.
It was also the custom for such a guest to be greeted with a kiss.
The kiss was an emblem of love and affection, a token of warmth and
a common mode of salutation among men. Simon had even neglected
this amiable expression of welcome as the Lord entered his dwelling.
As this scene continued to unfold, Bob observed the Lord reclining in
the presence of these proud and pretentious faulty leaders. While
in this posture, a woman entered the room with significant character
flaws and failures in her life. In fact, the scriptures suggest
all in the room recognized her as a prostitute. The intrusion
of this woman was intolerable to the respectable Pharisee because of
her evil reputation and because she was not an invited guest.
Nonetheless, she made her way to the feet of the Lord and began to lavish
upon Him the honor and acclamation due such a celebrated guest.
She freely began to show her obvious love for the Savior, and at the
same time her humility and penitence. By pouring forth a flood
of tears, and washing His feet in the manner of a servant, she obtained
an eternal testimony far greater than the leaders of Israel. In
this manner she testified of her love for the Lord Jesus, and at the
same time her humility and sense of sin by kissing his feet. There could
be few expressions of contrition more deep and tender than here depicted.
Among the many character flaws in this woman was the love of the world
and the things of the world displacing her ability to love God.
Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone
loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (I
Jn 2:15) So great was her desire for the things of this world
that she willingly sold her body for financial gain. However,
as she reclined at the Lords feet, her admiration and love for
Him overcame her appetite and desire for the things of this world.
She willingly began to lavish upon the Lord all of her substance in
loving appreciation for who He was. Deep within her resided a
seed of Life heretofore buried. When Light shone upon the seed,
it emerged providing a heart of repentance and fidelity. As she
sat at the Lords feet she received the impartation of divine instruction
and inspiration to do that which the leaders of Israel had failed to
When we recline at the Lords feet and wait longingly for him we
will also discover freedom from our worldly conformity as we yield our
will to the will of the Father. At this place of surrender we
discern the thoughts and desires of the Lord displacing our own.
Our thoughts are not His thoughts and our ways are foreign to His.
Yet, at His feet we can ascertain the path of righteousness and spiritual
conformity according the council of the Holy Spirit.
This precious woman very lovingly washed the Lords feet with her
tears and dried them with her hair in a sacrificial gesture of respect
and love. She clearly disregarded the reproach of all in the room
in order to fulfill this great demonstration of discernment and affection.
The church must come to the same place.
Many times in prophetic experiences a persons hair is representative
of their glory or their intellect. We lay our thoughts and opinions
(intellect) at the Lords feet and begin to take upon ourselves
the mind of Christ through the impartation of the Holy Spirit.
She had fulfilled the responsibility of the law by doing honor to this
most acclaimed of guests, although the Pharisees had failed to meet
their legal obligations.
She then retrieved the alabaster box containing all that she had achieved
in her sinful and worldly pursuits. She unsparingly lavished this
substance of great value upon the Lord disregarding the cost.
Previously, she had lived in darkness and pursued the desires of her
heart through unjust gain. However, now that light had come into
the world she emerged from her dark stupor and repented by abandoning
all self-regard and fear of man to disperse upon the Lord her resources.
It is at His feet that we lay all of our ability and essence, humbly
acknowledging our great need for Him and His resources. It is
at His feet that we begin to bridge the gap between the vast and infinite
provision of Heaven and the great need of humanity.
TRADITIONS OF MAN
Although this woman was recognized as an adulteress, still reality highlighted
that the Pharisees were guilty of a greater sin in their spiritual adultery,
although they were busily fulfilling the traditions of the law.
Their sin blinded them to the spiritual reality directly before them
and nullified the grace of God extended to them. They were so
preoccupied in religious duty, they failed to receive the spiritual
revelation available to them. Because of this negligence they
were not able to properly lead and prepare the people for their divine
visitation. They were absorbed in dutifully complying with the
precepts of man and following the traditions set before them by man
and failed to discern the very presence of God in their midst.
Additionally, the other religious leaders in the room expressed their
disgust and dismay at their perceived notion that the Lord lacked the
discernment to detect this womans previous character. The
Lord then responded to these leaders disclosing essentially that their
names will not even be remembered a few years from that point yet this
womans testimony will be remembered for all generations.
The Lord then chastised the Pharisees for not recognizing this great
responsibility. It was in fact their duty to be the leaders of
Israel and discern the light that had come into their dark world.
Regardless, because of their hardness of heart they were unable to recognize
the day of their visitation nor prepare the people of their generation
for the Lords purpose.
Few leaders of that day were willing to sit at the Lords feet
to receive His instructions, even as the Lord sat at the Fathers
feet to receive counsel from heaven. Only those with humbleness
of heart like these two women could receive that edification.
The example of these two women is an eternal illustration for all who
are willing to do likewise. There is a time for waiting and a
time for executing. However, the performing of religious or spiritual
endeavors is after we have waited upon the Lord to receive from Him
divine instruction and counsel.
DOING IT THE LORDS WAY
Presently much of the church should be in a posture of waiting upon
the Lord during this season to receive from Him divine instruction for
the upcoming outpouring of the Spirit. There presently seems to
be significant importance placed upon the role of sitting at the Lords
feet in order to receive the will of the Father.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom
of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
There is coming a time in which we will be very busy about the Lords
business. If we would follow this standard of waiting upon the
Lord, our efforts would be far more profitable, achieving much more
with considerably less extended effort. Considerable gain can
be achieved in the realm of the Spirit when operating under the Spirit
of Wisdom and Understanding. We must first receive the wisdom
of heaven and the understanding of that revelation in order to apply
divine principles in achieving the will of the Father. Very often
we recognize an end to be achieved but go about it in our own understanding
requiring greater energy to achieve that purpose and consuming far more
Waiting upon the Lord essentially has been a lost art in the corporate
church. It is imperative that we begin to understand this great
spiritual principle in accomplishing the divine purposes established
for this generation. The Lord is far more interested in our obedience
than our human efforts. He is much more concerned with the development
of our spiritual discernment than with our human zeal.
RESTING IN HIM
This dear sister who washed the Lords feet and dried them with
her hair previously placed her security in the spirit of this world.
Upon recognizing the divine light that had entered the realm of man,
she rejected the security offered by the spirit of this world and whole
heartedly dispensed herself upon the Lord in an expression of affection
and trust. She found rest for her soul in Him and abandoned all
else to give expression to her new - found abode.
By no means is this prophetic analogy intended to endorse slothfulness.
Instead, it is designed to encourage the church to first receive instruction
at the Lords feet by waiting upon Him, then employing the gifts
and means available in the accomplishment of these divine purposes.
Very often a person is called to accomplish a certain task on behalf
of the kingdom of heaven. However, it can sometimes be months
or even years before the commission or authority is released in the
realization of those purposes. During the interim, we should follow
the example of Paul who discovered the Lords rest and separated
himself unto the Lord allowing the Holy Spirit to prepare him for the
great purposes ahead. The Apostle Paul was called as an apostle
to the gentiles but was not equipped and commissioned for that purpose
until many years later. The time he spent faithfully waiting upon
the Lord prepared him to do the will of the Father in his life.
Likewise, Martha, although doing something that seemed appropriate,
failed to recognize the greater purpose of sitting at the Lords
feet absorbing every available impartation. There is a time to
wait and a time to do. We must ask the
Lord for the discernment to distinguish the two.
- Many thanks to Bob Jones and Keith Davis for permission
to post this article.