“But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me’.”
The way that Martha asks this question reveals her attitude in coming to this meal of grace with Jesus. When she says, Lord do you not care? She is expecting a positive response. We can catch this sense of irritation in her question, “It’s obvious that I’m justified in how I feel and how I’m viewing this situation! You do care, don’t you?” In Greek, the way the word ‘not’ is placed in the sentence gives us this clue, “Do you not care?!”
That’s a tough one to answer. When an irritated woman is about to serve a meal and asks me, “Do you not care…?!” I don’t think I would answer like Jesus did. I strive not to have fear of man issues, but I haven’t gotten so far with fear of woman issues. My immediate reaction would be, “Why yes, I do care!” Then, I would stand up, move toward the kitchen, look at the other guys sitting around and say, “Don’t you care? Look at you just sitting there… pathetic.” Or something similar.
Darrell Bock in his commentary on this passage says, “As is often the case when Jesus is asked to settle a dispute, he refuses to side with the one who asks that things be decided in a particular way (compare Lk. 12:13, Jn. 8:4-7).” [Luke, pg. 201] So, Jesus himself does not get up, neither does he tell Mary to rise up and help.
Instead, Jesus warmly says, “Martha, Martha…” because he is training his disciple and friend to eat the greater meal. Martha will always have this “service chip” in her attitude unless Jesus saves her from it. People will not see Jesus or the Gospel through her hard work, because it will always go back to her. Her hospitality has to be trained to point to the greater host. It would literally be better if they didn’t eat (temporarily, until the host was ready). There was a better meal to be had.
See? Jesus does care.