Christ in Bethany

Luke: 10:38-42 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.”

Jesus visited the village home of Martha and Mary more than once. It was while here that he later raised their brother, Lazarus, from the dead (John 11). The columns and roof edge in the right panel suggest a portico. A tree grows alongside it and other stone buildings are visible in the distance over the low portico wall.

A table on the left is being set for a meal. Next to the table stands Martha, a pitcher in her right hand and a large bowl of fruit and bread in the other. After asking her question, she looks at Mary and Jesus, waiting for a reply.

The central figure here is Mary, wrapped in royal blue and sitting on a bench. She looks up toward Jesus, captivated, her hands folded in her lap.

Dressed in white and purple, Jesus (with a halo) is seated on the right. His left hand is positioned near his chest, while he gestures downward toward Mary with his right. Instead of glancing at Martha in reproach, Jesus looks away. He does not condemn her or her efforts of hospitality, but wants her to understand that Mary’s choice is favored.