Bob Jones and Keith Davis

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."    (Luke 10:38-42)

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 Lord’s 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 Lord’s 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 Mary’s unwillingness to assist her in her duties.  In fact, she actually complained to the Lord for Mary’s lack of response in recognizing these domestic concerns. 

Martha’s 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)
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.   
(Isa 40:31)

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…for 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 Lord’s 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 Lord’s 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 Lord’s 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 people’s 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 Lord’s feet.  Even as Mary sat at the Lord’s feet admiringly embracing enriching truth, so also did the Lord sit at the Father’s feet receiving His counsel. 

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 Lord’s 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 Lord’s heart.
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 man’s 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 Lord’s 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 Lord’s feet she received the impartation of divine instruction and inspiration to do that which the leaders of Israel had failed to do.
When we recline at the Lord’s 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 Lord’s 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 person’s hair is representative of their glory or their intellect.  We lay our thoughts and opinions (intellect) at the Lord’s 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.
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 woman’s 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 woman’s 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 Lord’s purpose.

Few leaders of that day were willing to sit at the Lord’s feet to receive His instructions, even as the Lord sat at the Father’s 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.

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 Lord’s 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.” (Matt 7:21)

There is coming a time in which we will be very busy about the Lord’s 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 time.

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.
This dear sister who washed the Lord’s 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 Lord’s 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 Lord’s 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 Lord’s 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.

Copyright 2014