As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home.
As Jesus and his disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came upon a small village. There, “a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home” (10:38). In fact, the Greek original of this verse is even more specific. It says that Martha “welcomed him,” which is to say, Jesus, into her home. From the Gospel of John, we know that Jesus was a friend of Martha and her family (see John 11), but Luke does not mention this. He begins his short account of Jesus’ visit by focusing on Martha’s act of receiving Jesus graciously into her home.
The main point of this short story in Luke comes later in the passage, when Jesus gently rebukes Martha for worrying too much about “all these details” after Martha complains that her sister, Mary, isn’t helping out. I’ll reflect on the end of the story tomorrow. Today, however, I want to dwell on Martha’s welcoming of Jesus. Luke puts it simply at the end of verse 38: “Martha welcomed him.”
The verb translated here as “welcome” means “to receive warmly and graciously.” By using this verb, Luke indicates that Martha did more than simply letting Jesus and his entourage stay in her home. Rather, she opened, not just the front door, but also her heart. No doubt, she offered Jesus an opportunity to rest and be refreshed. In fact, her effort to prepare a “big dinner” was part of her hospitality. Martha wanted Jesus to feel truly at home with her and her family.
Martha’s example makes me wonder if I welcome Jesus into the home of my life. Forty-eight years ago, at a Billy Graham crusade, I prayed to “accept Jesus as my Savior.” At that time, I “asked him to come into my heart.” To the extent that a six-year-old boy was able to do so, I welcomed Jesus. But what about today? I still believe in Jesus, but do I really welcome him into my life. Do I really want him to be at home in me? Do I make myself available to him each day? Are there parts of myself that I withhold from Jesus?
Tomorrow, I’ll continue my reflections on welcoming Jesus. Now, I’d encourage you to consider the same questions I’ve been asking myself.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When did you first welcome Jesus into your life? Do you welcome him each day? Why or why not? Are there parts of your life that are “off limits” to Jesus? How might you welcome him more consistently and generously?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, even as Martha once welcomed you into her home, I want to receive you in my life. I want to throw open the door and embrace you. I want to give you the best place in my life. I want you to be fully at home with me.
I do want all of these things, Lord. But, I must confess, there are times when I keep you knocking at the door. There are other times when I let you in, but don’t pay attention to you. And then there are times when I allow you to come into my life, but do not give you run of the house. Forgive me, Lord, when I am an ungracious host to you.
O Lord, may I welcome you fully, eagerly, and without restraint. May I welcome you, not only into the tidy living room, but also into the messy places of my life. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus! Amen.