Images of Christ: Christ in the House of Martha and Mary

Rowena Loverance reflects on a painting by Johannes Vermeer

Close-up of ‘Christ in the House of Martha and Mary’. The full image can be found at the bottom of this article. | Photo: Scottish National Gallery via Wikimedia Commons.

Before Christmas I was lucky enough to see, in Edinburgh, Johannes Vermeer’s Christ in the House of Martha and Mary in the Scottish National Gallery. It confirmed to me the idea of this series. My choices, in selecting twelve images of Christ, are bound to be personal, so where better to start than with Jesus’ encounter with two women – and two strong-minded women at that. The story of Martha and Mary, the sisters of Bethany, appears in Luke’s gospel (10:38-42) immediately after the parable of the Good Samaritan. Maybe this, too, is part of the answer to the question that was posed to Jesus: ‘Who is my neighbour?’ Is the more neighbourly act to sit and listen to this visiting preacher, who has unexpectedly dropped by, or to set about putting a meal on the table?

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