Day 1 - February 14, 2018

ASH WEDNESDAY - Living at the Feet of Jesus

Matthew 10:45

Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 10:45 NIV)

There are several important people in the gospels named Mary. Naturally we think of the mother of Jesus, and then there is Mary Magdalene, a strong disciple of Jesus (a subject of earlier Lenten Devotionals). But a third Mary is the sister of Martha and Lazarus. An interesting fact about this Mary is that she is mentioned three times in the gospels and in each instance, she is at the feet of Jesus, learning, grieving and serving. The three instances sum up what the life of a disciple is all about.
We are called to learn from Jesus and put into practice what the Lord shares with us. Few of us reading this devotion have received the calling to live a quiet and secluded life. As a result, we must find time to step out of our busyness and take advantage of a “teaching” moment. Mary shows us how to do this as she leaves her sister Martha, who is preparing dinner, and discovers her place at the feet of Jesus, taking in all he has to say and surely asking questions about this and that (Luke 10:38-42).
In the process of following Christ, we are not promised to be spared the trials of living out our discipleship in this world and all its brokenness and sorrow. We next find Mary at the feet of Jesus, stating that her dear brother Lazarus would still be living if Jesus had arrived earlier. She is simply implying what we often ask when a loved one dies, “God, why didn’t you heal my loved one?” The same person who marveled and relished her Master’s attention now is bewildered in her grief at the lack of attention of her Teacher (John 11:28-37).
Despite her grief, we next find Mary serving Jesus as she anoints his feet prior to his death (John 12:1-8). The lessons learned in listening to Jesus and coming to him in grief have all shaped her to be one of the few who understood that Jesus would die on the cross. Our Lord affirms that Mary is on to something that the rest of the disciples are not. This amazing and complex meshing of the several aspects of the Christian life can lead us to offer our lives in gratitude and humility to Christ. Despite her “standing in the shadows” of the other Mary’s, she offers a powerful model of how to learn, both in listening to Jesus, and then meeting him throughout her life.
With all this in mind, I invite you to follow me on a journey of “Living at the Feet of Jesus,” as in four subsequent devotions we will examine the three concepts (learning, grieving and serving) and then conclude with a devotion on how to apply Mary’s example to our lives. My prayer is that this lesser known Mary will become a living example of how to live our lives in Christ.
Lord, teach us to learn from what the gospels tell us about Mary, so that we will live a victorious life at your feet. In your Name, amen.

submitted by Dr. Richard Menninger, Retired Andrew B. Martin Professor of Religion

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