The Son of God among the Sons of Men Part 12: Jesus and Mary of Bethany -- By: Everett F. Harrison

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 104:416 (Oct 1947)
Article: The Son of God among the Sons of Men Part 12: Jesus and Mary of Bethany
Author: Everett F. Harrison


The Son of God among the Sons of Men
Part 12: Jesus and Mary of Bethany

Everett F. Harrison

XII. Jesus and Mary of Bethany

As in our study of Martha, we will take the liberty of beginning our sketch with the account of Jesus’ visit to Bethany contained in Luke 10:38–42, even though we are dealing with the materials in the Gospel according to John. These few verses give us just the explanation we need in order to appreciate fully the part taken by Mary in John’s narratives (chaps. 11, 12). Altogether this remarkable woman figures in three scenes, all of them centered in or near her home, all of them presenting her in the same posture—at Jesus’ feet. In the first she is there to listen and learn, in the second to weep and be comforted, in the third to love and adore the Master.

It appears fairly certain that Mary did not take her place at Jesus’ feet as soon as He entered the home. Martha’s complaint that her sister had abandoned her sounds as though some of the work had been assumed by Mary, only to be laid aside after a time because of the consuming desire to be in the Lord’s presence and hear His word. She was not a shirker, nor was she indifferent to the Savior’s physical comfort. But she hungered and thirsted for spiritual converse with her wonderful Lord. In her heart was the recognition that the temporalities which she and her sister could provide were no match for the spiritual food to be gained from being with Him.

Mary made an ideal student. She was content to sit and hear, giving rapt attention. This is the first condition of learning. It is a good rule for us all to follow, when another

is speaking to us of serious matters, whether individually or as a member of a group, that we accord the speaker perfect attention. Altogether apart from the consideration of courtesy, to cultivate this habit is to increase our power of learning and hence ultimately our store of knowledge. As a prominent Old Testament scholar was fond of stating the matter, every man is apt to have a lucid moment now and then. If we are not attentive when the pearl is dropped, it will be lost as far as we are concerned, perhaps lost forever. This loss, relative to the classroom and the sanctuary alone, would be a staggering total if it could be computed. We can never come to know the Lord at all without giving heed to the message He sends our way. Like Lydia, our hearts must be opened to the truth of God, and this can never take place until we attend to the Word. Our Lord told the disciples the same things after His resurrection which He ha...

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