Martha of Bethany

Read Time:19 Minute

I have always loved the name, Martha. Mainly because it is my mother’s first name, and it was in Martha’s house that we see the Lord reveal an example of bringing peace to our world. At the beginning of Luke chapter 10 (see below), the Lord gives us the keys to how we can be in peace and stay in peace. As the Master Teacher, He provides the lessons then executes them in Martha’s house, fulfilling a part of His message through Mary (and we’ll see it through Lazarus later in the book of John). In Luke chapter 10, we delve into a few verses to show some vital points.


After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

Luke 10:1-11 KJV

Let’s begin with Jesus telling believers that He called us into the truth about our journey here on earth. We have been sent out among the wolves. What kind of Shepherd would send out His lambs into a place riddled with wolves? One that knows He has trained up His flock and can trust them to do His will because the words they carry within are there to perform that which God has ordained from the first time He spoke them to their spirit. He knows each of us before we are placed in our mother’s wombs (Jeremiah 1:5) and has given each of us a purpose (Romans 8:28) to fulfill while we are in the world, and the Bible states even the wicked are made for the day of evil (see Proverbs 16:4). Preordained orders have been written on a man’s heart for an appointed time, set by God. Those orders will be enacted and completed by those willing to endure the process of correction guided by the Holy Spirit of God, or those who are not willing will remain with their father, the spirit of Antichrist. He proclaims. He equips. He ordains. He performs. It is ALL about what God has done in us. Pride says otherwise.

Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

Luke 10:4 KJV

Let’s look at the first part of the above passage, Luke 10:4. To be equipped by the Lord, thus removing the tools of the Antichrist, we must set aside our desires for possessions, money, and the systems in place to obtain them. We must have faith in God’s process for raising us all up–His children.

The provision in God’s System turned to World Systems

Adam and the woman ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the economy of Man began. A system where he fashioned his own clothing (covering) from the resources God supplied in an attempt to provide for himself. (see Genesis 3:7) Did Adam know he was out of order with God, yet he ate from the tree or was the tare, sown by the enemy–the flesh–as he slept, blinding him from remembering the command of God? In essence, ‘covering’ his spiritual eyes? I would surmise the latter is possible. The woman remembered as it was written on her heart and spoke it to the serpent, yet she was blinded as well and wrongly chose rebellion against God’s command. Both failed against the cunning of the snake. They bowed to the pride of life, the lust of the eye, and the lust of the flesh. (Lucifer, the spirit of Satan, the serpent, was a covering, a guardian cherub. (see Ezekiel 28:14) He was the original ‘covering’ of Man, the flesh.)

What was their response to this new reality? Adam and the woman killed no other creature with breath to cover their sin (they did not kill Satan, the serpent, to cover their sin), but they used fig leaves from out of the earth, a green covering, possibly thinking it would protect them from God’s correction.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:7 KJV

Both Adam and the woman had instructions. It was God’s law. Adam was called to work for the Lord and keep the Garden of Eden, the earth. The Lord said it was not good that Man is all one and pulled the woman out from inside the created Man–Adam. The edict from God remained. To “keep the garden” now meant the two of them together, in covenant, were responsible for guarding, protecting, and being watchmen to preserve Eden and retain its magnificent treasure, the glory, and honor of God–the overcoming power of Jesus Christ and Life everlasting. In so doing, it proved the strength and supernatural power of God. He threw Lucifer down from the heavens like lighting to this new land and created Man from out of the dust to deal with his rebellion. The curse of Lucifer, whose name was changed to Satan after he rebelled, was already in the land. The earth is where his reserve was delegated by God after his trespass in heaven. Man was formed, fashioned, and purposed from out of the land, so when God disciplined Adam, He cursed the ground from which he had been made. Man was the plan to divinely overcome the rebellious situation Lucifer had chosen. The very creation of Man out of the essence of rebellion through the supernatural power of God was the victory over Lucifer. Adam and his true helpmate were never supposed to encounter death or sin. But God! He is always prepared for ALL outcomes. The flesh, the beast, Satan, was only given a short time to remain until those in league with him could be cultivated and rooted out.

The Lord supplied all of Adam’s and the woman’s needs in this new land, and they were created to be attendants in this global reserve for the flesh. God supplied their shelter, food, and water. (see Genesis 2) 

In Luke 10, verse 4, we see Jesus testifying to His disciples the same truth from Genesis 2. All provisions were made for mankind from the very beginning, and Jesus alludes to believing that truth is a beginning step of faith in the process. (We must believe God is the God of all provision.) He declares they must carry nothing with them, only what God will provide–The Mystery: a Spirit to guide them into all Truth, including ways in which to operate in Man’s systems. It takes a lot of faith to believe in the Kingdom economy of inheritance, the same system Adam and the woman forfeited for a set amount of time. However, God also states for us to have that kind of faith, He can provide us with a supernatural faith from something as small as a mustard seed when we are in a relationship with Him. (see Matthew 17:19-21)

…and salute no man by the way. 

Luke 10:4 KJV

In the second part of Luke 10, verse 4, Jesus tells them to “salute no man by the way.” Looking at the word salute, you might think of a military salute that pays respect to a member of the armed forces or a Girl Scout “salute.” However, this word means a whole lot more than a sign of respect. The word salute here in Greek is aspazomai {as-pad’ -zom-ahee}. It is a verb (describes an action) and is from the union of two words alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet that represents Christ as the Alpha (and Omega, beginning and end), and the Greek word spao, which means to draw as in a sword or to draw out.

In this particular sentence, it shows these actions: I kiss, to draw a person to yourself; to welcome and receive joyfully; it suggests a potential union of sorts.

In Biblical times, a salutation was not just a quick hand gesture, but journeys were halted, hugging and kissing occurred, and meals were prepared. Honor and polite recognition was formally given to the person(s) arriving. I believe this is the intended purpose here in the Biblical text. However, it says we are to salute, embrace, respect no man along the way? Nobody? Not even one? Let’s go deeper…

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon also states the word aspazomai is “used of those accosting anyone.” This was intriguing since this word could also represent a potential outcome of someone not being welcomed but being disrespected, confronted angrily, and possibly waylaid from out of nowhere!

Have you ever accosted someone? The common English meaning today is to attack someone or to be aggressive. However, it can also mean greeting someone, coming near or alongside someone, the “rib side,” and in Spanish (acostar) means to lie down or go to bed. This is sin nature’s salutation: no respect, no honor, no embrace, you are not invited! Watch out for whom you make your covenant!

To review, a salute can mean either an attack from an enemy or the honor of a friend. It can be a welcome-to-my-home event or hit the road, Jack! The definition is determined by the spirit in which it occurs. Believers should never take on an attitude of one that accosts people with the Word. Still, we must also consider that in this context, when a person shares about the Kingdom of God, we should recognize it as a sign to move on if confronted by those who are not willing to listen.

The takeaway here is Jesus is giving instructions to steer clear of being the rib side of Man’s ways. Don’t go down the road the woman chose and Adam set in motion. Dust off those feet and move on if they become offended. Stay on the straight and narrow path given to us by God. Jesus’ life testifies to the glory received when He completed His mission, and we shall also see the redemption of our portion!

The test to see if a house they entered was a godly house went something like this, declare Messiah’s peace, the Word, and the way that leads to salvation and prosperity. Would they join in this peace at the time of their arrival at the door, embrace the messengers, and allow the Word to enter their home, or would they disregard the message of peace? Are they offended at the Truth? Do they accost the messenger of God’s Peace? If so, it is a revealing sign indicating the spirit of the flesh is present, and the ground is not yet ready.

Jesus Brought The Peace Process–The Kingdom–To Martha’s House–The World

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

Luke 10:38-42 KJV

Let’s explore more about Martha of Bethany. Her name means mistress, but it also implies lady boss or landlady. In Hebrew, it translates from the verb marar, which means to be strong and bitter. Her name is mentioned 12 times in the New Testament, not by coincidence, but by divine order. There were also 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles. There are over 180 places the number 12 is mentioned in the Bible. A concentration of them is found in the book of Revelation. The number 12 is considered to mean perfection, completeness and also represents authority. The town of Bethany is interesting as well. It means house of affliction or house of dates

After much study, I believe that Martha represents the world in its state of sin nature. The world received Jesus without knowing who He was in His Spirit (we’ll explain how Martha also did). He was hidden in plain sight (His Spirit), and the rulers were not aware of God’s hidden wisdom and mystery–the Holy Spirit.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of Man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

1 Corinthians 2:7-9 KJV

Martha received Jesus as a guest in her house. His journey was halted, and she welcomed Him and believed she curated all the provisions necessary while He was under her roof. At first, she was not offended, but her anxiety exposed her positioning as one not concerned with spiritual things. She found out what she thought was right to do in her house was not right with God. 

Martha had dominion over her land and her house. She was the “lady boss” and was known to be as such among the villagers. We are not told how Martha came to have such power over her situation in the text, which was incredibly unique for Biblical times. Interestingly, many theorize she inherited it from a wealthy father or a deceased husband. 

As you read the passage, she was distracted and overly occupied with entertaining and impressing her guests: cumbered about much serving. Martha was in the presence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, yet she kept busy about natural things instead of recognizing and discerning the spiritual things. She was feeding her physical needs instead of the one thing that was needful (required), listening to the Holy Spirit, and feeding her spirit. 

Mary and Martha’s names are closely related, showing two occupants of the same house. Maria (Mary) is a Hellenized version of Miriam and means disobedient or rebellious, while Martha is the Hellenized version from the Aramaic word mara, meaning lady boss or mistress. On another interesting note, tradition gives Mary the name of six different Christian women: Mary, mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene; Mary of Bethany; Mary mother of James the younger; Mary mother of John Mark; and Mary of Rome. Six is the number of Man created on the 6th day. (see Genesis 1:26-31) So, Martha could represent the ruling government (the number 12), and Mary could represent the spiritual state of Man–the woman–as we are discussing this.

Jesus’ preordained journey brought Him to Martha’s house on the earth. He brought peace. He brought the Kingdom. Martha’s anxiety had no bearing on His provisions nor on what He was sent to do. Jesus entered carrying with Him the key to peace and a relationship with God and offered it to the house of Martha.

Martha chose to serve Jesus’ humanity, feeling she was the supplier of His needs while in her presence here on earth. Yet, Mary decided to be in relationship with His divinity, His Spirit, repenting from the rule of Martha’s house–the sinful nature of earth rejecting the Holy Spirit. 

One of the messages playing out here in Luke 10, especially in the story of Martha and Mary, is one of how to walk among the wolves, the houses of rebellion, in the redeeming power of Christ as a Kingdom citizen and choosing to unlock the mystery of God–the Holy Spirit. Jesus came into this world knowing His mission. He chose divinity when He was sent to the wilderness and tempted by Satan. He chose divinity when He was given a physical need. He chose God’s provisions while under Martha’s roof. He chose deity when put on the cross. He chose His inheritance. Mary shows us that although she was living in a house of rebellion, she also rightly chose divinity. In contrast, Martha, the “lady boss,” “the mistress,” decided to entertain humanity, or better yet, the flesh.

In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus calmly states the truth to Martha–to the world. He speaks her name twice, indicating what He is about to say is of great importance (we’ll show how this plays out in the book of John). A paraphrase breakdown of the passage is below.

“Martha, Martha, (Mistress, Mistress) thou art careful (anxious, and distracted) and troubled (troubled in mind) about many things: But one thing is needful (a necessity, a duty): and Mary hath chosen that good part (honorable portion, the Spirit), which shall not be taken away from her (eternal existence).

Martha, the Mistress, the ruler of the world, did not know who Jesus really was until He revealed Himself to her later in the Bible. We read more about Martha after this event in the book of John next.

“Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” (John 11:5) It lists HER name first. He declared His love for her–the world. This declaration is found in one of the most memorized and recited verses in the Bible–John 3:16.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 KJV

Continuing in John chapter 11, we see the story of a man named Lazarus, of Bethany, Martha’s and Mary’s brother. Lazarus means whom God helps and is a form of the Hebrew name Eleazar which means God has helped. As you see below, Lazarus was sick. 

Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

John 11:1-5 KJV

Lazarus was weak, feeble, powerless, and lacking strength. I believe he represents Adam in this scripture. His sisters see this and reach out to the Lord. Lord here is Kurios and means he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has the power of decisions for. The sisters reached out to the only One with authority over Lazarus’ sickness. 

We read on to find that Martha and Mary were consoled by many of their neighbors. Yet, none of them had any knowledge of what the Lord was about to do. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went to meet him, but Mary sat still in the house. Martha said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” He still loved her. He said so a few verses earlier and knew she would come to the truth. She understands that her brother will rise again at the last day. However, the resurrection is standing right in front of her, and she didn’t know.

 Jesus spoke to her and said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Jesus reveals Himself to the world and asks Martha, “Do you believe this?”

Martha proclaims Jesus is Lord, the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. She “said so!” She was seeing Jesus for who He really was. Our path with God is from glory to glory, and Martha had taken another step in her faith.

Nevertheless, Martha falters again a few verses later (11:39). Jesus, for the second time (Martha, Martha) says to her, “Said I not unto you, that, if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?”

Next, Jesus raised his vision from one on an earthly plain to one in line with His divinity and Spirit and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. And I knew that you hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent me.” Notice He spoke it for the benefit of the non-believers standing around Him, yet without speaking it, He already knew God had heard Him!

In a loud voice, He cried, “Lazarus, come forth.” Out he came, hands and feet bound with grave clothes. And Jesus told those around him to “Loose him, and let him go.”

All of the previous information leads us to the over arching point to share with those reading this story. It is this, the world has been redeemed, and Man has been set free! Loose him and let him go! Jesus said, “Peace, I leave with you!

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

John 14:27 KJV

Jesus, when He died, removed the sin of rebellion from Lucifer’s power (death, hell, and the grave). He redeemed Mankind from the sin nature caused from that rebellion (Adam and the woman eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). And He realigned the House of God (Martha’s house, the world) to its original state (the Garden of Eden).

Glory Hallelujah! 

The Good News of the Kingdom!

Every time these studies begin, I never know where He will lead, but one thing is true and worthy of all honor, and glory, and praise: JESUS IS LORD.

Now, imagine the church body as Martha…Selah.

Peace be with you all…

Feature Image: | Unless otherwise attributed, scripture quotations are taken from the KING JAMES VERSION of the Bible.

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