What is the ONE thing necessary for Christians to do? This is the Deep Questions Podcast, and I’m your host, Chase Thompson, a pastor, and writer in Salinas, California. If you want to get in touch with me with a question for the show, or a comment, then please go to our website, www.Deepquestionspod.com, and hit the contact form there. I especially love to hear from critics, atheists, and skeptics – even snarky ones, because I love critics, skeptics and atheists! You can also find me on social media – chaseathompson on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. As I’ve mentioned in the last couple of episodes, the church I pastor, Valley Baptist Church in North Salinas, California, is hosting a Reasons to Believe weekend June 24-26 with Dr. Mike Licona, author of several books on the resurrection of Jesus, and an ardent debater of atheists, agnostics and skeptics on Youtube and in colleges and universities. We’d love to have you join us for that conference, and a link to sign up is over on our website: CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!
We’ve got some good episodes in the pipeline for you – I’m interviewing Dr. Licona tomorrow, and that episode will be up in the next few days, and I also expect part two of our episode on guns and Christians to be out in the next week or so. I do want to thank you for listening, and ask for you to leave a review of the show if you enjoy it – on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. We have lots of new listeners to the show over the past couple of weeks, including new listeners from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Teresina, Brazil, Luanda, Angola, Al Qahira, Egypt, Parts unknown Zimbabwe, South Africa and Tanzania, Punjab, Pakistan, Kerala, India, Albay and Lanao De Norte Philippines, Bali, Indonesia, Queensland, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand, Warsaw, Poland, Zurich, Switzerland, Stockholm and Vastra Gotaland, Sweden, Helsinki, Finland, Utrecht, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, UK, St. Paul, Minnesota, Albany, New York, Lonnyburgh, California, Jacksonville, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina, York, Pennsylvania, Savannah, Georgia, Sweetwater, Texas, Eugene, Oregon, Marquette, Michigan and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Thanks for listening and thanks for telling a friend!
According to Jesus, what ONE thing is necessary? That’s a pretty open-ended question, but we’re going to take a look at an unsung hero in the Bible that is one of my all-time heroes – a young lady named Mary of Bethany, and I’m excited to talk about her. Often people criticize the Bible as backwards in its relationship to women. In truth, however, it is amazing how many female heroines are praised in the Bible. Mary of Bethany, Mary Magdalane, the Syro-Phoenician Woman, Hannah, Jael, Deborah, The women who traveled with Jesus and took care of them. The first witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus, Chloe, Junia and Phoebe, leaders in the New Testament church. In terms of ancient literature, the Bible is the least-backwards looking book you can find.
I’d like to begin with a diagnostic illustration that Bryan Chappell uses in his excellent book Holiness by Grace:
“She took her children to the park to break the monotony of summer days, and instead she broke her own heart. She watched her children run to the playground as another car drove into the parking lot. The car ground to a quick stop, and a young, vibrant woman with a beaming smile leaped out of the driver’s seat and virtually skipped to a secluded table near an adjoining lake. The imagination of the mother watching began to race. Who could this young woman be meeting in such a secluded spot with so much enthusiasm. Was this a long awaited and carefully planned rendez-vous with an over-busy husband? A lunch date with a best friend, or a tryst between secret lovers? The mother determined to stay on the lookout for whoever got out of the next car. No one else came immediately, and the mother soon grew busy watching her children, breaking up fights, cleaning up skinned knees and such. When she finally did glance up again at the secluded woman, what the woman saw made her heart skip a beat. The woman was reading a Bible and praying. The person she had leapt from the car to meet with such enthusiasm was her Lord. The mother recognized with pain that penetrated her spirit that she no longer had that same enthusiasm. Once the excitement of her own relationship with God had overwhelmed her. Once the joy of her salvation had burned warm and bright, but now the fervor was gone. Faith had become a dreary duty; God had become a detached, frowning bystander. Something had happened over the years of her walk with the Lord. She didn’t know exactly what it was, but she did know that she would not now skip to meet Him. She had lost something wonderful and she wept there in the park for her loss. Source: Holiness by Grace: Delighting in the Joy That Is Our Strength by Bryan Chapell.
Do you find yourself in that story? As we read about Mary of Bethany, it is worth reflecting on where you might be in that story of Mary and Martha. Are you Martha – serving, but choosing something far less important than adoration of Jesus? Are you the disciples? Following the truth, but angry at any sort of challenge to love or exuberant passion for God? Are you outside of a relationship with Jesus totally and wondering what all the fuss is over Him?
Now, if you don’t know Mary of Bethany, then I’d love to tell you about her. She was a friend of Jesus, most importantly. Sister of Martha, who liked to serve, and also the sister of a guy named Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. She lived in a small village called Bethany, which was located on the Eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives, very close to Jerusalem. We don’t know how Jesus and this family met, but we can tell by his multiple visits with them – including a visit that took place just days before His death – that Jesus viewed Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany as very close friends. Today we are going to look at TWO episodes in the life of Mary of Bethany, and they both will help us answer today’s deep question, which is – what is the ONE THING that Jesus says is necessary.
We humans are finite and mortal creatures, at least in the flesh we are. We have a beginning, and one day our bodies will die, which tells us we have a limited time on the Earth to accomplish things and make an impact. Not only are we mortal – vulnurable to sickness, injury, and various kinds of breakdowns – we are also needful of rest -humans have to sleep. I was listening to a great podcast today on the human pursuit of running a sub-four minute mile. The guy who finally ran the first ever four minute mile was a junior medical doctor named Roger Bannister, who would go on to become a neurologist and scientist who studied the autonomic nervous system. When he was pursuing becoming the first human to run a sub four minute mile, he studied the human body and its performance capabilities like a scientist, finally concluding that it was possible for a highly trained athlete to run at near maximum effort for only about six minutes before they would collapse, and basically pass out. Perhaps today’s athletes have surpassed that figure, but the fact is that we finite humans can, “try out best,” as it were, for a period of only about six minutes or so, and then all systems shut down. We’re not designed to go at 100% of capability for very long. We can’t go without sleep, water, rest, or a break for very long. In other words – WE ARE FINITE ourselves – and we have a FINITE amount of time to accomplish things. This means that we will not be able to do or accomplish everything we want to do or accomplish. In other words – of all the things we want to do with our lives, we probably won’t be able to do all of them. For instance I’m a husband, a father of five kids and a full time pastor. In addition, I love to write, and from 2017 until 2019 I wrote and published a total of eight books. In 2020, right before the pandemic broke out, I began a daily Bible podcast, sensing God’s call to do so, and did that for 731 straight days. You know how many books I wrote in those two years? ZERO. And not because I didn’t want to, but because I DIDN’T HAVE THE TIME! The point is quite simple: with limited resources, limited time, and a body that is limited by various weaknesses, we humans should be quite choosy about what we do with our time, because we can’t do everything. Saying “yes” to one activity often means saying “no,” to a different activity, and we humans who follow Jesus as Christians should be even more choosy with our time, because He is going to call us to follow Him and adopt HIS priorities as our own priorities.
And that brings us to a massive question: What is the most important thing God wants us to do? We could phrase that question in a more biblical way by asking, “what is the single most important command in Scripture,” or, simply, what are the most important commands in the Bible?
If you ask some Christians and some denominations that question, you might get some interesting answers. Have you seen the John 3:16 memes floating around lately? Look, if you aren’t into Christian Meme’s online, then you are missing out. Let’s poke a little light-hearted fun at ourselves, shall we?
In a very similar way to that, you have different Christians and groups that will answer our most important question in different ways. If you ask a Methodist, or progressive church member what God’s most important command is, they might say – FEED THE POOR, or something like that. And you know what – that’s pretty darn important, and COMMANDED! Ask a Charismatic, and they might say to speak in tongues – important- Paul spoke and tongues and said don’t forbid others speaking in tongues. Ask a Presbyterian, and they might say something about having a high view of Scripture, or election or right theology, and those are important things. Ask a Southern Baptist, and they will almost certainly mention the GREAT Commission as the most important thing – and it is SUPER important, right?
BUT WHAT DOES JESUS SAY? I’ll wager you know the answer to that question, but like me – you don’t always live your life in a way that lines up with the priorities of what Jesus says is the single most important and greatest command. Let’s read about it.
Matthew 22: 35 An expert in the law, asked a question to test him: 36 “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
So, Jesus – what’s the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT COMMAND? Wholehearted love for God. That’s it. That’s Number one. More important than the Great Commission, more important than feeding the poor, more important than loving each other. Wow. Kind of mind, blowing, right?
So – I think you can imagine what a life devoted to the Great Commission as the SINGLE most important command looks like. I think you can imagine what a life devoted to feeding the poor as the SINGLE most important command looks like. Can you imagine what a life devoted to WHOLEHEARTED love for God as the SINGLE most important command looks like? Well – good news! We have a wonderful example in Scripture. That of Mary of Bethany – one of my favorite Bible heroes.
Luke 10: 38 While they were traveling, he entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” 41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”
3 things we need to see here:
- Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, LISTENING to Him. Martha was distracted by her many tasks. The Greek word there means drawn or DRAGGED all around. It’s kind of a figure of speech, meaning you are drawn one way, then another, then another, then another. It’s very distracting to flit around doing one task after another, after another. Martha was distracted with much serving Scripture calls us to serve much and to help to meet humanitarian needs in a practical way BUT NOT FIRST AND FOREMOST. Martha was doing a good thing – the Greek word there for serving – the thing that distracted Martha – is the word we get “deacon” from. Martha was ministering, deaconing – a great thing, but not the GREATEST thing, nor the highest priority. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus – LOVING Him by LISTENING to Him. That was her priority.
On a related tangent, It is a truth that you become what you consume. Literally, spiritually and emotionally – you are what you consume. Matt 6:22-23 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness! And Mark 4:24- Pay attention to what you hear!
Have you heard of Tik Tok Tics? No, I’m not an old person messing up the name of a new social network. Tik Tok is a video based social app that will basically feed you one video, after another, after another, after another, dragging you around and distracting you from life. Some of the videos are funny, some are interesting. Since March 2020, specialists in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have seen a dramatic spike in young patients seeking treatment for tics, according to The Wall Street Journal. Doctors say most of the young people watched content from TikTok creators who say they have Tourette syndrome, one type of tic disorder. Top TikTokers film themselves involuntarily cursing, slapping themselves, making clapping sounds, and more. Cumulatively, #tourettes videos have been viewed more than 5 billion times. (THE VERGE) DO NOT LOOK UP THESE VIDEOS.
Tourettes is NOT contagious, but apparently watching people who have tics – involuntary movements, words, sounds, spasms, etc – is contagious. Because the majority of this dramatic spike in young patients coming into ERs and hospitals to get treated have been watching these videos. Whatever else this illustrates, it ALSO illustrates Matt 6:22-23 – you become what you consume. What you see and listen to has great impact on you. If you listen to and watch good and Godly things, it is like good light in your body. Fill your body with garbage – either through your mouth, your eyes, or ears – and you will be in trouble.
Martha was dragged around and distracted; Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and LISTENED. Jesus commended her for that.
2. Martha has the boldness to sort of correct the Lord. Jesus – DON’T YOU CARE THAT MY SISTER HAS LEFT ME TO SERVE ALONE? Serving is important, and Martha knows this. Jesus has taught His disciples that the greatest among them will be a SERVANT. Martha is modeling this, and Mary is just sitting there listening to Jesus. Martha expects MARY to be scolded, but something surprising happens. Instead, Jesus – gently – instructs Martha and gives her a different perspective. Martha – you are worried and upset about MANY things. That’s important – keep that in the back of your mind. Martha is doing a good thing – a GREAT thing…but Jesus sees into her with beyond X-ray vision and sees that she is living a life of aggravation, and irritation. She’s task oriented and ACCOMPLISHING a lot – but WHY is she so worried and upset about so many things? (We will address that in a moment)
3. Martha is worried and upset about many things, but Mary, on the other hand – has made a RIGHT CHOICE. What choice did she make? Hear these words, because Luke 10:42 is one of the most profound teachings in the Bible. “ONE thing is necessary.” Let that sentence wash over you, remembering who said it.
But Jesus – only one thing is necessary…what do you mean? We’re supposed to love each other, right? We’re supposed to pray, right? We’re supposed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take care of the poor, serve each other, wash each other’s feet, share the Gospel, right? Of course we are – but Jesus is telling Martha here – AND US – that, BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE – ONE THING IS NECESSARY. And you and I need to assess our lives today in light of these Words of Jesus. Do we live in light of that ONE THING. That ONE NECESSARY THING.
Serving is not wrong. WE NEED PEOPLE TO SERVE. Serving is the key to greatness, according to Jesus. Don’t strive to be a person of incredible power and wealth – strive to be a servant. Martha was serving, and Jesus loved Martha, and Martha loved Jesus. And Martha was doing a good thing, so what was the problem?
Here it is: Martha was serving disconnected from the heart of Jesus. And Mary was not – Mary was directly connected to the heart of Jesus, sitting at His feet listening to His Words. Serving was NOT the problem. DISCONNECTION WAS THE PROBLEM with Martha. You and I are NOT meant to be disconnected.
We see this clearly in Jesus’ teaching in John 15:4 John 15:4 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
Mary of Bethany was a living embodiment of that – she was plugged in to Jesus. She was abiding. She was connected. She was remaining in Jesus, and Jesus commended her for that, because it is THE ONLY WAY FOR A CHRISTIAN TO BEAR FRUIT. Martha was doing good things, but she was disconnected from the power source of Jesus and His Words and His Spirit.
One more peek into Mary of Bethany’s life, and this happened during the week that Jesus died. Think of all the people Jesus could have invested in right before His death. Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Silas, Barnabas – so many important people in Jerusalem at that time, and yet Jesus went to Mary, Martha and Lazarus to eat with them, and stay with them and hang out with them. Please allow me to introduce this episode in Jesus’ life with a Bible trivia question: WHO IN ALL OF THE BIBLE SMELLED THE MOST LIKE JESUS? If you said Mary of Bethany, then you nailed it. Let’s read about it:
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of perfume, pure and expensive nard, anointed Jesus’s feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the money-bag and would steal part of what was put in it. 7 Jesus answered, “Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial. 8 For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12:1-7
A few things to see in this passage:
A. One Year’s Wages: Mary poured out her most precious earthly treasure all over Jesus – who was most certainly her greatest overall treasure. This perfume may well have been Mary’s inheritance – her financial hope for the future – her savings account, in modern parlance. It was worth probably the equivalent of about $50000 American dollars – one year’s average wages in the first century, vs. now – and it could have lasted for years and years, yet Mary used it up in the space of a few minutes. I imagine that Mary smelled like that perfume for WEEKS, and so did Jesus. Mary smelled the most like Jesus.
Let me briefly shift into a metaphorical question: What do you smell like today? What do you smell like to other people? What does your attitude smell like? (You’ve probably heard somebody say to somebody else, “your attitude stinks,” right?) How does our attitude currently smell? If you are a Christian – do you smell like Christ to your worldly friends – or do you smell like them – indistinguishable. Paul uses the smell metaphor to powerful effect in 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. Who is adequate for these things?
Christians – we are to be the FRAGRANCE of Christ, and I think that few lost people in the Western world would say that Christians are living up to that standard right now.
B. Mary Was Attacked and Criticized: Unfortunately, All too often, we modern Christians can have stinky attitudes. A lot like the disciples in this passage. When Mary does this incredibly expensive act of devotion for Jesus, the disciples – (not just Judas, according to Matthew 26) complain about how Mary just blew a ton of money by anointing Jesus with her costly perfume. What a waste! Mary, on the other hand – she smelled like Jesus. The disciples appealed to serving the poor as their reason to criticize her extravagance; they appealed to a scriptural mandate to serve the needs of the poor. The thing is that many people who love and adore Jesus like Mary will receive criticism from others – real believers in Jesus like Martha and the disciples – those who live a First Commandment First kind of lifestyle will receive criticism from saved, fruitful believers. The disciples were indignant – extremely angry. Often displays of love and God’s call to focus on love will stir up anger in even truly saved believers, because we VALUE LOVE TOO LITTLE and other things too much.
C. Consider Mary’s INVESTMENT – she blew her life savings in five minutes. WHAT A WASTE, they said, but the real truth is: WHAT AN INVESTMENT! She made this investment 2 thousand years ago, and it thunderstruck the creator of the world and the redeemer of mankind. Jesus said that what Mary of Bethany did for him will be forever remembered, and thus, here we are almost 2000 years later, thousands of miles away from Bethany, talking about her. For almost two thousand years, Christians all around the globe have been discussing Mary of Bethany and her extravagent love for God. Mary captured the attention of the King of the Universe and will be remembered forever, and all it cost her was a measly one year’s salary worth of perfume. This, my friends, is the single greatest investment in the history of the entire world, and it’s not even close. Others saw her as wasting her life, wasting her money, wasting her future, wasting her one bit of financial security, but the King of Kings saw it quite differently. Mary lived her life in the greatest way possible. We know more about her than all but a handful of the Disciples, and many other heroes of the Bible. What she has done will be remembered – I will say something provocative. When we get to Heaven, as Jesus mentions, there will be some who are first and some who are last. I’m not sure exactly how that works, but I would bet all of my money on this: Every single Pope that ever lived will be behind Mary of Bethany in the Kingdom of Heaven. Most pastors, church leaders, missionaries too and Christian famous people will also be behind her in terms of firstness. Whatever Jesus meant when He mentioned being “greatest” in the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 18:4, I believe that Mary of Bethany will be a shining example of that greatness, and she will outshine almost every other famous Christian you and I have ever heard of.
D. Mary understood what Jesus meant about His death – She likely understood what was about to happen when the disciples were still clueless. At least THREE times, Jesus told His disciples He was going to die, and let’s look at how the sometimes meat-headed disciples responded:
21 From then on Jesus began to point out to his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.” Matthew 16:21-23
30 Then they left that place and made their way through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know it. 31 For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later.” 32 But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him. 33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest. Mark 9:30-34
17 While going up to Jerusalem, Jesus took the twelve disciples aside privately and said to them on the way, 18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death. 19 They will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked, flogged, and crucified, and on the third day he will be raised.”20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons approached him with her sons. She knelt down to ask him for something. 21 “What do you want?” he asked her.“Promise,” she said to him, “that these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right and the other on your left, in your kingdom.” Matthew 20:17-21
Do you see this? THREE times Jesus tells the disciples that He is going to be crucified. The first time, Peter rebukes Him and corrects Him. That’s pretty brassy, Peter, to try and correct Jesus, right? The second time, the disciples don’t really understand, so instead of thinking about it, they get into an ARGUMENT about which one of them was the most awesome. Head-shaking emoji. 😉 The third time, James and John’s mom picks this as the best time to come and ask Jesus for a special favor so that her sons will be the most exalted when Jesus comes into His full power. WOW – can you believe these people? NO COMPASSION for Jesus, at least in these three episodes. Mary, on the other hand – she somehow, someway gets it, and she prepares Jesus for what He is about to face. Let me restate that, so you can understand the hugeness of what I’m saying. Jesus is a few days away from facing the most horrible trial any being has ever faced in history. What He is facing is so utterly horrifying and catastrophically terrible that Jesus prays literal drops of blood out of His face when He thinks about facing the cross and paying the penalty for my sin and your sin. Of ALL of the human beings on the entire Earth ONLY ONE does something to comfort Jesus and prepare Him for the cross. ONLY ONE! (I guess you could argue that Peter TRIED to comfort Jesus, when he said – “even if everybody else abandons you Master, I NEVER will,” but the thing about that comfort is that it was a LIE – Peter fled like everybody else. Mary alone of all of the friends, companions and disciples of Jesus tried to minister to HIM.
How could she have known to do this? How could she see where literally EVERYBODY else failed to see? I submit to you that Mary saw what was happening and Mary alone ministered to Jesus because Mary lived a lifestyle of LOVING Jesus and was extravagantly devoted t0 Him. Putting the first commandment first, like Mary did, has a tendency to sharpen our vision and enable us to discern the real priorities of life.
December of 2021 I was driving our kids to church, and all of the sudden our van lost power, and I pulled off of the road, and it was dead. Initially it appeared that there was no oil in the engine, and that maybe a leak had happened, but it turns out that the head gasket exploded. Anyway, we were without a vehicle for MONTHS while we looked for a replacement engine. A lovely family in our church loaned us their vehicle in an act of incredible kindness, and that vehicle was awesome. It was big, roomy and fun to drive. The only thing wrong with it was that people who wear glasses like me and have astigmatism couldn’t see the fuel level light on a bright and sunny day, but that wasn’t a big deal because I didn’t know you couldn’t see the fuel level light and mostly my wife Janet drove it. One day, however, we switched up, and I drove our daughter Kassidy to a school thing, driving that vehicle. I dropped her off in Monterey, and then pulled out, made it about 100 feet down the road, and the car died. I was mortified. I thought I had killed our friend’s car, and that I was cursed – having killed two vehicles in the space of three months. It actually turns out that it just ran out of gas. Cars need gas. That’s a lifehack. (First time that has happened to me in decades.)
Cars need gas. Can’t run without gas. Christians need…connection to Jesus. Can’t serve without it. Martha was trying to serve without connection to Jesus – it made her irritable. Angry. Judgy. Anxious. Worried. SERVING WITHOUT CONNECTION TO JESUS WILL DO THAT FOR US. Irritability in serving, anger in serving, being judgmental in serving. Being anxious in serving, Being worried in serving – they are all warning lights that we are about to run out of our fuel -which is connection to Jesus. The disciples were irritable too, and occassionaly clueless. They didn’t get it yet, because they didn’t get connection to Jesus yet. But Mary of Bethany did.
Once more: John 15:4 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
Jesus says that ONE thing is necessary. We’ve seen today that the ONE thing Jesus was talking about was a life that focuses on listening and loving Jesus.
How do we respond? How can we live like Mary of Bethany? We have to be a people of THAT SAME ONE THING. That One thing, again, is a Great Commandment lifestyle that prioritizes loving God and loving Jesus – It prioritizes our relationship with Him. It prioritizes sitting at His Feet and listening to His Word. It prioritizes ABIDING. CONNECTING. BEING FUELED BY JESUS.
John 7: 37 Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” 39 He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
You and I are like Christian Cars and Jesus and His Words and His Spirit are our fuel. THE ONE THING NECESSARY FOR YOU AND I TO MINISTER AND SERVE AND LIVE IS FOR YOU AND I TO CONTINUALLY COME TO JESUS AND DRINK THAT LIVING WATER. APART FROM HIM WE CAN DO NOTHING.
I love how old school evangelist D. L. Moody talked about this reality:
[We see the Holy Spirit come on the disciples powerfully in Acts 2.] Turn to Acts 4:31, and you will find He came a second time, and at a place where they were, so that the earth was shaken, and they were filled with this power. That is, we are leaky vessels, and we have to keep right under the fountain all the time to keep full of Christ, and so have a fresh supply. I believe this is a mistake a great many of us are making; we are trying to do God’s work with the grace God gave us ten years ago….Now, what we [NEED] is a fresh supply, a fresh anointing and fresh power, and if we seek it, and seek it with all our hearts, we will obtain it… In Acts 19 we read of twelve men at Ephesus, who, when the inquiry was made if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believe, answered: “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit.” I venture to say there are very many, who, if you were to ask them, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” would reply, “I don’t know what you mean by that.” I firmly believe that the Church has just laid this knowledge aside, mislaid it somewhere, and so Christians are without power. When I was out in California, I was surprised to find on one farm that everything about it was green – all the trees and flowers, everything was blooming, and everything was green and beautiful, and just across the hedge everything was dried up, and there was not a green thing there, and I could not understand it; I made inquiries, and I found that the man that had everything green, irrigated; he just poured the water right on, and he kept everything green, while the fields that were next to his were as dry as Gideon’s fleece without a drop of dew; and so it is with a great many in the Church today. They are like these farms in California – a dreary desert, everything parched and desolate, and apparently no life in them. They can sit next to a man who is full of the Spirit of God, who is like a green bay tree, and who is bringing forth fruit, and yet they will not seek a similar blessing. Well, why this difference? Because God has poured water on him that was thirsty; that is the difference. One has been seeking this anointing, and he has received it; and when we want this above everything else God will surely give it to us. The great question before us now is, Do we want it? SOURCE: D. L. Moody, Secret Power, or The Secret of Success in Christian Life and Christian Work (New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell, 1881), 46-47.
Well – are you thirsty? Are you tired of serving on an empty tank? Are you irritable? Judgy? Angry? Fussing? Weary? Anxious? Worried? Distracted? It is time to come to the well and drink. Jesus is the well.
Revelation 22: 17 Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let anyone who hears, say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who desires take the water of life freely.