Martha (Lk 10:38-10:38)

“Now as they went

On their way,

Jesus entered

A certain village.

A woman

Named Martha

Welcomed him

Into her house.”

 

Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτοὺς αὐτὸς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς κώμην τινά· γυνὴ δέ τις ὀνόματι Μάρθα ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν.

 

Luke uniquely among the synoptics has this story of Martha and Mary.  However, John, chapters 11 and 12 have these two, Martha and Mary, as sisters to Lazarus in Bethany.  Here the story is just between the two sisters and their different roles.  Luke said that as they went on their way (Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτοὺς), Jesus entered a certain unnamed village (εἰσῆλθεν εἰς κώμην τινά).  There a woman named Martha (γυνὴ δέ τις ὀνόματι Μάρθα) welcomed him (ὑπεδέξατο αὐτὸν) into her house (εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν).  There was no indication if any of his disciples or apostles went with him into the house.  Could this unnamed village be Bethany?  Are you afraid to mention the name of your town?

The women followers (Mk 15:40-15:40)

“There were also women

Looking on

From a distance.

Among them were

Mary Magdalene,

Mary,

The mother

Of James the younger,

And of Joseph,

And Salome.”

 

Ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι, ἐν αἷς καὶ Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ καὶ Σαλώμη,

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:55-56.  In Luke, chapter 23:49, there was a mention of the women from Galilee, but without their specific names.  In John, chapter 19:25-27, there was a mention of the mother of Jesus, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, as well as a conversation, but no mention of Galilee.  Mark said that some women were also there (Ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες).  They were looking on from a distance (ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι), which would have been their normal role.  Mark specifically mentioned Mary Magdalene (ἐν αἷς ἦν Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ), Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph (καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ), as well as Salome (καὶ Σαλώμη).  Was Salome the mother of the sons of Zebedee?  Certainly, there were a lot of women called Mary, since it was the most popular name of Palestinian Jewish women at the time of Jesus.  There probably were 8 different women with the name of Mary in the 61 times that the name Mary was mentioned in the New Testament.  First was (1) Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was not mentioned here.  Next there was (2) Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who also was not mentioned here.  (3) Mary of Clopas was mentioned in John, but not here.  Then there was Mary Magdalene (4), who was mentioned here.  Finally, there were the more confusing Marys.  (5) Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph, who was mentioned here.  (6) Perhaps the mother of the Zebedee brothers was also named Mary or Mary Salome.  Finally (7) Mary, the mother of John Mark was mentioned in Acts, chapter 12:12, while (8) Mary in Rome, was mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 16:6.  There was also an English novel by Bruce Marshall (1899-1987) called The Other Mary from 1927, based on the New Testament.

The woman in the house of Simon (Mk 14:3-14:3)

“Jesus was

At Bethany,

In the house of Simon,

The leper.

As he sat

At the table,

A woman came

With an alabaster jar

Of very costly

Ointment

Of nard.

She broke open

The jar.

She poured

The ointment

On his head.”

 

Καὶ ὄντος αὐτοῦ ἐν Βηθανίᾳ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ, κατακειμένου αὐτοῦ ἦλθεν γυνὴ ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτελοῦς· συντρίψασα τὴν ἀλάβαστρον κατέχεεν αὐτοῦ τῆς κεφαλῆς  

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:6-7, and somewhat similar to John, chapter 12:1-3, where Jesus was in Bethany, but at the house of Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, 6 days before the Passover.  John identified this woman as Mary, the sister of Lazarus.  Mark also said that Jesus was in Bethany (Καὶ ὄντος αὐτοῦ ἐν Βηθανίᾳ), a town about a mile and a half east of Jerusalem, but in the house of Simon the leper (ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ).  The identity of this Simon the leper is unknown.  However, it could have been someone whom Jesus had cured from leprosy, who became his disciple.  The people of Bethany may have favored Jesus because of the Lazarus event.  There was also a story of a woman anointing Jesus in Luke, chapter 7:36-50, but within a different context.  Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, when this woman also brought an alabaster jar to anoint the feet of Jesus.  Mark continued that Jesus was reclining at table (κατακειμένου), when an unnamed woman came or approached Jesus (ἦλθεν γυνὴ) with an alabaster jar full of very expensive imported Indian nard ointment (ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτελοῦς).  This was anointing oil or as later Christians would call it holy oil, “Myron (μύρου).”  She broke the alabaster jar of ointment (συντρίψασα τὴν ἀλάβαστρον).  Then she then poured it on his head (κατέχεεν αὐτοῦ τῆς κεφαλῆς).  This may appear a little unusual, but this oil might be a foretaste of the prophetic, royal, or priestly anointing of Jesus as prophet, king, and priest.  In the ancient biblical stories, kings were anointed on the head.

Jesus entered Jerusalem and the Temple (Mk 11:11-11:11)

“Then Jesus

Entered Jerusalem.

He went

Into the Temple.

When he had looked around

At everything,

As it was already late,

He went out

To Bethany

With the twelve.”

 

Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα εἰς τὸ ἱερόν· καὶ περιβλεψάμενος πάντα, ὀψὲ ἤδη οὔσης τῆς ὥρας, ἐξῆλθεν εἰς Βηθανίαν μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα.

 

This generic remark about Jesus entering Jerusalem and the Temple is in stark contrast with Matthew, chapter 21:30, where he said that the whole city was in turmoil or stirred up wondering who was this man entering the city was.  Matthew emphasized that Jesus was from Galilee, the north, rather than a Judean or a southerner.  Mark said, in a more descriptive simple manner, that Jesus simply entered Jerusalem (Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα) and the Temple (εἰς τὸ ἱερόν).  He just looked around at everything (καὶ περιβλεψάμενος πάντα).  There was nothing spectacular about the arrival of Jesus and his apostles.  Since it was already a late hour (ὀψὲ ἤδη οὔσης τῆς ὥρας), he went out to Bethany (ἐξῆλθεν εἰς Βηθανίαν) with his twelve apostles (μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα).  There they probably spent the night, since it was only about a mile and a half east of Jerusalem.  This was the same city of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, but there was no mention of them here.

Jesus goes to Bethany (Mt 21:17-21:17)

“Jesus left them.

He went out of the city.

He went to Bethany.

He spent the night there.”

 

Καὶ καταλιπὼν αὐτοὺς ἐξῆλθεν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως εἰς Βηθανίαν, καὶ ηὐλίσθη ἐκεῖ.

 

Mark, chapter 11:11, also talked about Jesus going to Bethany.  Jesus left the chief priests and the Scribes (Καὶ καταλιπὼν αὐτοὺς).  He went out of the city of Jerusalem (ἐξῆλθεν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως).  Thus, he went to Bethany (εἰς Βηθανίαν), where he spent the night (καὶ ηὐλίσθη ἐκεῖ).  This would make sense, as it was about a mile and a half east of Jerusalem.  This was the same city of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha.  However, Matthew never mentioned Mary, Martha, or Lazarus.