Martha and Mary of Bethany

Martha and Mary of Bethany are women who played a significant role in the life and witness of the Church and in the spreading of the Gospel from its tiny beginnings in first century Palestine.

Martha and Mary are vital for the story of Christianity and its continued life. 

If we are to be equipped for discipleship we need to be Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus hearing his words.  If we are to be equipped to be Jesus' hands and feet we need Martha's activity.  For it is only in combining the attributes of Martha and Mary that we are enabled to be fully rounded disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Luke chapter 11 verses 38-42

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.  She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things’; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

John chapter 11 verses 17 - 27

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for our days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home.  Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’

John chapter 12 verses 1-8

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him, Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it). Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’