Learner- Mary of Bethany (Heroes of the Faith)
Learner: People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
Learner is my #2. The things I want to learn often drive my intentions. Being in situations where I have to learn many things at once is where I want to be!
In Jesus' day, girls did not have formal education, like Jewish boys did. Boys had rigorous studies and many opportunities to learn new things. So, I can imagine how excited Mary of Bethany was when Jesus came into town and He allowed her to sit at His feet and learn from Him! I can just picture her taking in every moment and being completely engrossed in the lessons.
Mary lived with her sister, Martha, and brother, Lazarus (whom Jesus raised from the dead). We see Mary three times in scripture. All three times she is sitting at Jesus' feet.
1) Jesus (and His disciples) had come to Martha and Mary's home. Martha was busy with much serving and was frustrated that her sister, Mary, wasn't helping...she was sitting at Jesus' feet, learning from the Master Teacher. Jesus said that she was "choosing the better"- not that preparing the meal wasn't important, but that Mary's desire to be near to her Lord and hang onto His every word was far more beneficial than running herself ragged with preparations for a meal.
2) In John 11 Lazarus, Mary and Martha's brother had died. Jesus felt their great sorrow and wept with the sisters. In vs. 34 Mary sees Jesus and fell at His feet. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.
3) Just before Christ's crucifixion a meal had been prepared for Jesus and His followers. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were there, listening to Jesus speak. At some point, Mary broke open an alabaster jar and poured a pint of very expensive perfume on Jesus' head and feet, and wiped them with her hair. She was chastised for this showing of love, but she said nothing. How could you help but see your brother, who was once dead and now at a dinner party, and not show great love to the One who showed great love to your family?
As a parent, I want my children to learn many things: how to read, write, do math, care for themselves, how to be good citizens...but the most important thing I can teach them is to learn at the feet of Jesus. These are the lessons that will get them through rough times, build them up when they feel week, and give them hope, joy and courage.
But if we are going to look at a Learner, we also need to look at the Ultimate Learner: Jesus!
Luke gives us the only story of Jesus' childhood. There must be something important for him to select this story out of all the stories there could have been.
As you may know, after Jesus was born, King Herod was paranoid with jealousy that a baby boy could have been born as the Messiah. He had all the boys 2-years old and younger slaughtered. However, an angel warned Joseph and Mary and they fled to Egypt. When Herod died, the angel again appeared and let them know it was safe to return home. They settled in Mary's hometown of Nazareth.
Mary and Joseph raised Jesus according to the law of the Lord. "And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." (41)
Every year they went to the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem. When he was 12 years old he went with them.
Jesus had voluntarily laid aside his godhood when He took human form. Philippians 2:6-8 says, "who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
Luke 2:46 "Now so it was that after 3 days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to hem and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers."
Even as a young boy, Jesus' ability to learn and grasp concepts amazed his teachers! As a young boy of 12 years old, he was drawn to the temple, a place of learning and instruction!
What are you learning now that can make an eternal difference in the life of someone close to you?