Luke 10:39-42 gives us a clear example of a woman called to be a disciple. Jesus was invited into to the house of Martha and Mary at the village of Bethany. Martha went right to work in the traditional role of hosting and preparing a meal for Jesus while Mary chose to sit at the Lord’s feet and listen to His words.
Much is lost in our understanding of this passage because we live in a different cultural context and miss the significance of the words “sit at the Lord’s feet.” The phrase “sit at the feet of” was commonly used in the context of a rabbi teaching and it carries the connotation of “being a disciple of.”[i] It had much more significance to first-century culture then it does for us today. The phrase “at the feet of” was used by Paul to describe the rabbinical training he received under his mentor Gamaliel.[ii]
Jewish women were not encouraged to have formal higher education in the law nor allowed to become disciples of rabbis. But, Mary took the posture of a disciple by sitting at the feet of Jesus. Jesus commends Mary for wanting to be a disciple by saying she had chosen “the good part.” By affirming Mary for her choice, Jesus opened the door for women to become taught and trained as disciples.
-An excerpt from chapter 5 of the book UNSilenced.
© 2016 Alan Garrett, alsgarrett.net