Text: Luke: 10: 38-42 January 25, 2009.
1) A modern day special seat: Many years ago on my way from Singapore to Hong Kong, the flight was over booked and I barely made it to the fight. The seat on my ticket was already occupied by another passenger and I didn’t know what to do. A flight attendant saw me standing, she came over to find out that I was in a no win situation. She said to me: “Follow me. I have a special seat for you.” She led me to the first class section of the cabin and pointed me to an empty seat. That was the only time in my life I sat in the first class section of an airplane. With all the privileges of a first class passenger, I felt very special the whole time of the flight.
2) An ancient time special seat: Some 2,000 years ago, when Jesus traveled to a small town named Bethany in Judea, He was welcome to the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Being a hospitable hostess and the older sister of the house, Martha was very busy preparing food for her guests. Her younger sister Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to his teaching on the Kingdom of God while Martha was doing cooking. Overwhelmed by the busyness of cooking and preparation for Jesus and his twelve disciples, Martha became a little impatient. So she came to ask Jesus why he didn’t mind that Mary didn’t come to her help in the kitchen. Jesus answered her question by pointing out that the seat Mary was taking at his feet was a special one because she had chosen something more important than food.
SEATS IN THE BIBLE: There are many kinds of seats.
1) The seat of God: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne high and exalted.” (Isaiah 6:1) This may be the most remembered verse in the Bible about God was seated on His seat or throne. There are about 100 times described God was seated on His seat or throne. Each time when this is mentioned, it usually refers to the glory and power of His Majesty. In Revelation, God again was seated on His throne or seat. In Revelation alone, there are over 40 times God was mentioned seated on his seat to signify the final power and honor of God.
2) The seat of Satan: “To the angel of the church in Pergamum: I know where you live—where Satan has his seat.” (Rev. 2:12-13)This is a terrifying situation: Satan set his seat in the city where this early church was located. From the very early days of Christian faith. Satan always tries to exalt his position to compete with the Most High God. In some churches and denominations, Satan has exalted his power and position to compete with that of God or to eliminate the teaching and honor of God. These are agents of Satan, setting their seats in the churches.
3) The seat of mockers: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the path of sinners or sit in the seat of the mockers.” (Psalm 1:1)Mockers are those who do not honor God nor obey God and His commands. They are those who despise the name and honor of God. All those who follow the practice of the mockers are sitting in their seats against God. King David warned his people not to listen to the wicked, not to follow the path of the sinners and not to gang up with those who show no respect to God.
4) The seat of the faithful: “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west and will take their seat at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 8:11)God has prepared seats for those who remain faithful even in difficult time. Jesus was talking to the scribes and the Pharisees who believed that they are the only chosen people in the kingdom of God. Jesus corrected their wrong belief and foretold the salvation of many who are not from the Jewish nation. Seats in the Kingdom of Heaven are for those who are chosen and remain faithful, not for those who claim to have special privilege but never fulfill their duties.
MANY MEANING OF SEATS:
1) Seat means position: Taking a seat mans taking a position, be it at a banquet, a meeting, an organization or a dinner. Since ancient times, people arrange seats on position of people: higher seats are for more important people. James accused bias practices in the assembly, giving high seats to the rich and well dressed. (James 2:1-3)Seat and position are focus of pursuit in the world. Many so called Christians also covet or pursue position in the world or the church. Seats or position may not all bad if we following God’s way and desires.
2) Seat means authority: The word “seat” in the Bible has been translated “throne” in some places and thrones means power and authority. This is also what God deserves to have because He is the creator and sustainer of the universe. Satan also wanted to exalt his seat to as high as God. Satan wants to control the souls of mankind ever since the first couple in the Bible. Today, there are many people who seek seats of power and authority. Most of those who run for high office in the political arena claim for the purpose to serve the people but in fact they are seeking seats of power and authority.
3) Seat means association: When King David urged his people not to sit in the seats of the mockers in Psalm 1:1, he urged them to stay away from those who despised God and His authority. Guilty of association is a reasonable accusation. You are whom you befriended with. The Chinese saying that people becomes good or evil because of the peer they stay with is the maxim of observation through thousands of years. In the early chapter in the Book of Proverbs, King Solomon asked his children not to go along with wicked people or they will suffer terrible consequences. (Prov. 1:7-18)
4) Seat means learning: When Jesus went to Jerusalem for the first time with his mother and her family, he took seat at the temple court among the teachers, listening to them and asking them question. His interest in learning and wisdom of asking and answering questions amazed everyone. Taking seats to learn from the wise is one of the most effective ways of learning. It is also a sign of being humble and eager to learn. This is true in education. It is also true in our spiritual growth. If you don’t want to learn, you won’t grow. We have provided many forms of learning opportunities in this church for all age and language groups. These were designed for your spiritual, mental and emotional health. Do not waste your opportunity to grow.
THAT SPECIAL SEAT: At the feet of Jesus. (Luke 10:38-42)
1) An opportunity arises: “As Jesus and his disciples were on the way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.” (10:38) In the three and a half years of earthly ministry, Jesus often traveled from place to place to preach the message of God’s Kingdom. Now he came to this village where he was entertained by Martha, a devout follower of Jesus. It was at this special opportunity Mary found a seat at the feet of Jesus to listen to Him. Opportunities of learning and growing may come to us in some special way and we are not going to let them slip thro our fingers. Seizing opportunity to learn is an act of wisdom.
2) A desire of learning met: “She had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” (10:39)Mere opportunity won’t materialize unless it is met with the desire to learn. Mary must have a strong desire to learn about the messages Jesus had to say, she seized this special opportunity to take the seat at the feet of Jesus. Cultivating desire to learn and to grow is a noble desire. Seizing the opportunity to learn is a sure step to grow and become fruitful.
3) Unexpected interruption: “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.” (10:40)While there are many lessons in this verse, I see an interruption to disturb Mary from listening and learning that was essential to her spiritual growth. This is always the case: just as we have the desire to learn and grow, there will be interruptions to stop us from doing so. Some times they come from those close to us with seemingly good reasons.
4) Being worried and upset: “Martha, Martha, Jesus answered, you are worried and upset about many things.” (10:41)Jesus went straight to the core of Martha’s complaint: she was worried and upset because of all the preparation to entertain Jesus and his disciples. She become impatient and irritated because she felt that she was the only one doing something important to Jesus. This led her to complain against her sister and blamed the Lord. Fulfilling duties serving people or God can become burdens that may cause us worry and upset if we do not have correct attitude. Daily duties and responsibilities often times rob away our opportunity of sitting at the feet of the Lord or teachers to feed our souls. Are you worried and upset in your spiritual life?
5) Choose the better seat: “But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” (10:42)Some may misinterpret that Jesus loved those who sit and listen to Him more than those who get busy in serving Him. In fact Jesus set example for his disciple on the importance of serving others. (John 13:4-15)What He did point out was the wisdom of choosing a better seat: a seat at a table to satisfy the stomach or a seat at his feet to nourish the soul. He went further that we need to spend our time, energy and resource for things that are of lasting value for our soul, not on temporal things for the needs of the body.
1) Seats are important: Anyone who is serious about life knows that seats represent status and achievement. Jesus encouraged His disciples to do their best, be the most fruitful and useful. Paul also encouraged all Christians to live their life worthy of the calling they had received. (Ephesians 4:1)Jesus loved to see fervent Christians. He will spit out the lukewarm ones. (Rev. 3:16)If you don’t have much a seat in this world, you certainly may have a better seat in God’s Kingdom.
2) Choose your seat: Unlike worldly seats which you have to be rich and famous, the seats with God are given to those who are willing to receive. It is a matter of your choice. Worldly seats are only for fleeting glory, but the seats that God offers are for your soul and will last to eternity. Invest your time and energy for seats in heaven which are far more important than that of this world.
3) Accept a free seat: This is the seat of salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. No one may pay any price to buy such a seat. They are given for free to all who will believe in Jesus and ask Him to be their Lord and Savior. Come to Him, ask for His forgiveness and invite Him into your heart. God has promised a seat for you as His children in His Kingdom.