Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Tuesday after the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on September 19, 2023 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV)
10:38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Mary’s and Martha’s actions demonstrate the Law and the Gospel. Martha wants to show her love for the Lord by serving Him and His disciples. This proceeds from the Law, which demands perfect works. Mary, on the other hand, hears the Word of the Lord as He gives it. This proceeds from the Gospel, which promises salvation through faith, not by works of the Law. Martha’s serving was not “wrong”, just as the Law is not “wrong”. But the Law cannot save, and no matter how hard we try, we will never achieve the perfection which the Law demands. The Christ does not rebuke Martha for sin, but instead says with compassion, “you are worried and troubled about many things.” Then, He offers her comfort: “One thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part”—namely, to listen to the Word of the Lord.
Christians are commanded to keep the Law because the Law is good. But the Law cannot save. The more we think we can keep the Law to achieve our righteousness, the more the Law condemns us. True peace is only found in hearing the Word of the Gospel, which promises salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, apart from merit by the Law. At times, we must be like Martha, because God has given us work to do. But at all times we must be like Mary—hearing and believing the Gospel of forgiveness.
Collect: O Lord, we beseech Thee, let Thy continual pity cleanse and defend Thy Church; and because it cannot continue in safety without Thy succor, preserve it evermore by Thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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