Gazing into the Face of Yeshua Part 1
This week I want to begin a new series on a type of prayer that is foreign to the understanding and practice of most of the Body of Messiah on the earth today. This is really an ancient practice, going back, as we shall see to before the time of the book of Acts.
To begin, I want to pose a question to you. In one of the gospels Yeshua said that only “one thing” was really necessary in the life of a believer.
What is that one thing?
Some might answer, “Of course it’s the Great Commission—go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.”
That’s important, but actually that is not what Yeshua was referring to when He spoke about the “one thing.”
“Well, what about the First Commandment: you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?”
No, although we shall see that the First Commandment is related to what Yeshua was talking about.
“What about reading the Word of God?”
That’s important also, but it’s not exactly what Yeshua was saying either.
“I know! Prayer!”
Well, that depends on what you mean by “prayer.” If you mean “asking God for things” or “talking to God”—then no, that is not what Yeshua was speaking about.
Let’s look at what He said in context, in Luke 10: 38-42
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.
But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (New King James Version)
The New American Standard Updated puts it this way:
But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Likewise the NIV says in verse 42, “Only one thing is needed.”
So what is that “one thing”? What is the one thing that Mary was doing when Yeshua commended her?
Verse 39 of the same passage tells us: Mary was listening to Yeshua’s “word.”
As some of you no doubt know, there are several words in ancient Greek which we translate into English as “word.” Two of the Greek words we are most familiar with in this connection are the words logos and rhema.
Now if you are like me, you have probably heard sometime in your Christian training that logos refers to “written word” and rhema refers to “spoken word.”
Unfortunately that is not an accurate rendering of the distinction in the meaning of these two Greek words.
A more helpful way to think about them is that logos means “complete teaching, description or message.” Logos is the description of an entire subject.
Rhema, on the other hand is a “saying” (though it may well be in written form). It is not a complete teaching or description. But many rhemas put together may constitute a logos.
Or we could say that a logos is made up of many rhemas.
When Yeshua is described as the word of God made flesh in John chapter 1, John is literally saying that Yeshua is the “complete teaching,” the complete revelation of what God is like.
In our passage from Luke, Mary was listening to Yeshua’s logos. That means that she sat there a good long time, probably on other occasions also, listening to His complete teaching, not just the particular words He was speaking at the moment Martha came into the scene.
And Mary was sitting at Yeshua’s feet. The Interlinear Greek translation says she was sitting “beside Him at His feet”—very near Him.
Why is this important to note? Certainly sitting at someone’s feet indicates an attitude of respect and humility. And the fact that she sat beside Him means there were others—probably many others sitting there and listening also.
Actually, when you think about it, the fact that there were probably many others present adds to Martha’s dilemma, doesn’t it? She’s trying to feed all those people, including her friend the famous rabbi, and her sister Mary is acting like—one of the disciples!
One of the disciples. That is a key to our understanding what Yeshua means by “one thing.” So next week we will look more closely at this woman, Mary, and why she was sitting at Yeshua’s feet.