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Category Archives: Jesus’ Encounters with Women

Jesus Included Women in His Ministry

Luke 8:1 – 3 “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.”

Although I love every Gospel in God’s word, I especially love reading and continuously learning from the book of Luke. Being a detail-oriented person myself, I notice this characteristic in Luke the physician, and I am not surprised at all that God chose to inspire him to pen Books in His Word.

Luke includes five events involving women that are not mentioned in the other Gospels. In doing this, he shows the special care that Jesus has for women, and how Jesus overcame the roadblocks women faced in His days and still does today. Men looked upon them as second-class citizens with hardly any of the rights that they had, and women most certainly were not allowed to learn from rabbis. Jesus, our rabbi, lifts women from the state of degradation and servitude to one of fellowship and service. He considers all people, men and women, as equal reflectors of God’s image and of great value to Him.

I find it interesting that God led Luke to include that “certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities,” traveled with Him, letting us know that Jesus did not look down his nose at these women. He considered them lost and dying souls who needed healing and salvation. But He did not just deliver them and say, “Well there ya go…” He allowed them to go with Him and get to know Him, and as a result they grew into strong, Godly women.

We read that Jesus delivered Mary Magdalene of seven demons. As I reflect on my past and where I was when Jesus found me, I believe that she and the other women felt that they owed Jesus a great debt of gratitude for the unconditional love, healing and deliverance that He freely gave them. I know that there would be nothing of this earth that could stop me from hanging out with such a profound teacher as the Son of God. I would feel honored and elated to do whatever possible to walk beside Him in His teaching journey, with a burning desire to know Him more.

They “ministered unto him of their substance.” This tells me that they were in a position to substantially support Jesus and His disciples in their work by providing food and lodging, as well as clothing for the group. They saw a need, had the resources to fulfill that need, and were happy to do so, much the same as we give to the mission field today.

These women disciples most probably did not preach as Jesus and the men did, but I feel certain that Jesus lovingly included them in His group of disciples. They were followers of Jesus who believed in and helped to spread His doctrine. How did they do this? There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that where ever they went, there were throngs of women, suffering the same infirmities as they had, and crying out for help. They were able to reach out to those hurting souls and genuinely say, “I understand; Jesus helped me, He can help you…” in a way that the male disciples could not. I believe it was their God-given appointment to encourage, counsel, and instruct lost and wounded women.

God gives us all opportunities to do His work for the growth of His kingdom. It makes no difference to Him about our past once we have come to Him by placing our faith in Jesus. I have experienced the most healing in my life through others who have gone through the same kinds of trials as my own. I also find it very therapeutic for me to reach out and share what God has done in my life, with certain ones He leads me to.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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Jesus Pardons an Adulteress

I chose to use the word pardon here because I believe it is important for us to realize that when God forgives our sin, we are completely exonerated of our wrong-doing and made innocent through what Jesus did on the cross. It is as if we never sinned.

Satan knows that our human nature is to think back on forgiven sins and feel guilty and worthless because of them. He will bring the sins of the past to our remembrance in his attempts to hinder the work God wishes to do through us, but we must come against him. God assures us that not only does He forgive us of our sin, but he casts it as far away as the east is from the west – they never meet. When we listen to that stinking old devil and try to remind God, “Remember when I did that, I am so sorry.” God remembers it not. We must realize that when He forgave us we began anew and we now look forward, not backward.

Today’s Scripture – John 8:1-11

The book of John is my very favorite of the gospels. I will re-read it continuously while I have breath in me. I love that John shows how Jesus always won the great debates that he had with the Scribes and Pharisees. They were constantly attempting to trip Jesus up or trick him into stumbling, to no avail. They hated that he, as the Light of the World, revealed their Godless behavior. Re-reading this during times of attacks in my own life, gives me the peace of knowing that God is always in control and will always win over evil. Since my strongest spiritual gift is that of prophet, I strongly detest injustice.

In this passage, the Jewish leaders brought a woman “caught in adultery” without bringing the man she was caught with, as set forth in their own Law, to Jesus with the purpose of trapping him. If Jesus said the woman should not be stoned, they would have accused him of violating Moses’ Law. On the other hand, if he encouraged them to execute her, they would turn him in to the Romans who did not allow the Jews to perform their own death penalties.

Note in verse 2 that Jesus was sitting down as he was teaching. He “stooped down and wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.” It appears that Jesus was trying to ignore them, and he really did not want to get involved in this issue, but they continued to press him until he had to address it.

Go Jesus! “he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.” I do not believe that he meant if they were totally sinless in general; nor that if they had never broken the 7th Commandment that they could cast the first stone. It makes more sense that he may have been saying, “if there is one of you who is innocent of this sin, then let him cast the first stone at her.”

Then Jesus stooped again and continued to write on the ground. The thought has come to my mind that it is possible that he was writing the names of those men who had committed adultery themselves, perhaps with her. Rather, knowing Jesus’ compassion for all, he was more likely giving them the chance to slink away without having to face the all-knowing look in his eyes.

When Jesus stood again, the accusers were nowhere to be found. Their plot had backfired on them. They were the ones caught in their own trap! This is usually what happens when hypocrites impudently strive to point their fingers at others.

After asking her where her accusers were and seeing that they had fled, he said to the woman, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” She had watched as Jesus craftily sent her accusers creeping off in the opposite direction, as she awaited her fate.

The door to salvation was opened when Jesus showed her unimaginable grace and gentleness instead of condemning her. This must have begun a burning desire to hang around and reverently learn more from the Master. I find it ironic also that the Pharisees’ intentions to trip Jesus up not only backfired on them, but if they had not brought her to Jesus this day, she probably would have continued in her sin until her heart was so hardened that she would not have been able to be saved.

GOD ALWAYS KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING! PRAISE HIM!

1   Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2   And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3   And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4   They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5   Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6   This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7   So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8   And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9   And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10   When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11   She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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The Alabaster Box

“A sinful woman anoints Jesus’ feet” Luke 7:36-50

Luke had quite a knack for ticking the Pharisees off whenever he compared them with sinners – the sinners always came out ahead. Here we have Simon a well-known and respected religious leader who had invited Jesus to his home for dinner. It is obvious that his intentions were not genuine, as he did not offer Jesus the common courtesies that were readily available to his other guests. It was not by accident that he neglected to: 1. wash Jesus’ feet (because people wore sandals, their feet got very dirty); 2. anoint his head with oil; 3. offer him the kiss of greeting (this was a normal way of greeting one another).

So what were Simon’s true motives for inviting Jesus to his home and disgracefully disrespecting Him so? Maybe he felt that he was too good for Jesus. Was he trying to put him down in front of his elitist friends and make himself look good to them? Was he lording it over Jesus that he, Simon, was a “Godly” person who never mingled with “sinners?” Hmmm. Whatever the case, the contrast could not be more clear.

We still see this kind of hypocrisy in our churches today. I have witnessed much too much damage by those who believe they were so good all of their lives that they had little to ask forgiveness for, and therefore consider themselves better than others. Although they may have realized that “being good” will not get them to Heaven, and asked Jesus to be their Savior, they do not show evidence of having asked Him to be their Lord. They put on a good show, just as the religious leaders of Jesus’ time did, by involving themselves in different ministries just so they can say, “Look at me and how important and Godly I am.” But in God’s good time, their true hearts and motives are revealed.

I have noticed a much more forgiving and Christ-like spirit in those whom God has brought out of the battle-torn trenches of a sin-ridden-life. They are those who are appreciative of having been forgiven at all.

“He who is forgiven of much, LOVES much. He who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Enter: “a certain woman in the city, which was a sinner” (she was probably a prostitute) “when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,” (fragrant oil) “and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” (It was customary for them to recline while they ate. They laid on couches with their heads near the table, propping themselves up on one elbow and stretching their feet out behind them. This woman could easily anoint Jesus’ feet without intruding near the table.)

Notice first that she sought Jesus. I believe that God set a divine appointment for her with Him that day to receive salvation. The Spirit convicted her of her sin and drove her to the feet of Jesus for redemption at all costs.

It was a very brave act that she, a sinner and a woman, entered a Pharisee’s house uninvited. To be so bold says that she must have felt an extraordinary sense of gratitude that God would forgive such a one as she, along with overwhelming feelings of unworthiness. There was obviously deep remorse for her sin, as she wept tears of thankfulness bathing Jesus’ feet and drying them with her hair. I imagine that she laid every sin that she had ever committed at Jesus feet as she cried from within for forgiveness, understanding that she did not deserve it, but grateful to receive it.

“Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.” I get a mental vision of Simon’s face contorting as he recoiled at the sight of the woman touching Jesus. Not long ago, it shocked me to have heard similar words from one who claims to be a child of God: “I have to wonder if she is really saved. She always seems to be attracted to the kind of people like that woman who has divorced so many times. Can’t she find more Godly friends?”

And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have something what to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.” (Jesus heard Simon’s thoughts and interrupted them.)

“There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”

“Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee; Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.” (Jesus honored the woman.)

When we fail to be honest with ourselves and overlook our own sins, we  lose our appreciation for what Christ has done in working forgiveness in our lives. Our pride hardens our hearts, and we begin to experience a lack of Christian love for others as we hold ourselves in too high esteem. Over time, our ears and our hearts grow deaf to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and we are in need of His reminding that “Pride cometh before a fall.”

Luke 7:36-50 “36. And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
37.  And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38. And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
39. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43. Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50. And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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Jesus Cares for Widows

Ronald Rae Widow Woman 1992. Ragley Hall

Ronald Rae Widow Woman 1992. Ragley Hall (Photo credit: amandabhslater)

 

Jesus raises a widow‘s son from the dead”

Luke 7:11-17 “11. And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him,and much people. 12. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  14. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about.”

As we see in the passage, there was “much people” with this widow, making much ado, grieving the death of her son. Though it is human to grieve for those who pass, I should think it would have been more of a solace to the widow if someone had stepped up and offered to take her in or give her aid. Instead, the crowd of mourners would go home, having accomplished their all-important ritual, and she would be left destitute and alone.

Back in those days there was no such thing as Medicare or Social Security. Women, especially elderly, were dependent upon their husbands and their sons to take care of them. Not only did Jesus care that this woman was in pain over her loss, I believe that He felt her pain. He also knew that her situation was dire, and that it required drastic measures. She had lost her husband, and now her last avenue of support through her only son. She was most probably past the age of childbearing and would never marry again. I would guess that the widow found Jesus’ words, “Weep not,” much more consoling than the raucous commotion that the crowd was causing. He knew that He was her only hope, and “he had compassion” on her and immediately brought her son back to life.

The Jews had many traditions they were bound to and their display at funerals was an important one to them. The family of the dead person followed the body as it made its way through town.  There were hired mourners who cried out drawing bystanders to the procession as well. The family then continued their mourning for 30 days. One thing the scribes and pharisees hated about Jesus’ ministry was that he chastised them for their many traditions and laws that were too hard on the people. Instead of seeking to know God and have a relationship with Him, they made stringent rules that only burdened the people. Jesus taught that those rules and traditions will not secure our home in eternity. He is the only Way.

Jesus also never missed an opportunity to glorify His heavenly Father. He used this event to illustrate salvation to a world that is lost in sin, just as the widow’s son was dead. We, like the dead, can do nothing to help ourselves. But God had compassion on us, while we were yet sinners, and sent His only Son to raise us to newness of life in Him. As the woman’s son could not earn a second chance at life, so we cannot earn our new life in Christ. We can, however, accept God’s gift of eternal life, praise Him for it, and live our lives to do His will.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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The Samaritan Woman

English: Christ and the woman of Samaria at Ja...

English: Christ and the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s Well (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Jewish culture in the first century treated women as second-class citizens. They had very few of the rights that men of that time had. Jesus respected all people equally, but he showed a special care for women. In this category, I will be sharing from God’s word about some of the encounters Jesus had with different women during his ministry on earth.

This first entry will be of the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well. You will find this story in John 4:1-26. It begins with Jesus leaving Judaea and traveling to Galilee because of mounting opposition from the Pharisees. Most Jews of that era hated the Samaritans and avoided them like the plague. Jesus had no use for such cultural limitations, and since the route through Samaria was the fastest one to Galilee, that is the way he chose. I like to think that our Father in Heaven told him something like this, “Hey, Son, since you are going that way, there is this Samaritan woman who needs to know that we love her, and we have a cure for her sin.”

Before, I continue with the story, we must first understand the history behind the Jewish hatred of the Samaritans. Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom before it was conquered by the Assyrians. When they invaded the Northern Kingdom, many Jews were exiled to Assyria and foreigners from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim were brought in to Samaria to settle the land and keep the peace (2 Kings 17:24). Most Jews who remained in Samaria married the foreigners and they became a mixed race.

The Jews from the Southern Kingdom considered themselves to be a pure race of Jews. They became very prejudiced against the spoiled blood line of Samaritans because they felt that they had betrayed their people and their nation by mixing their Jewish blood with foreign blood.

Now at Jacob’s well in Samaria: Jesus was weary from his journey “and it was about the sixth hour” or noon. Usually the women went to fetch water from the well in the morning and in the evening. This woman came at noon to steer clear of others, probably because of her poor reputation.

John 4:7-9 “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”

This woman must have been quite taken aback by Jesus’ (a Jew) request for a drink of water. First of all, she was a woman. Second, she was a hated Samaritan woman who was known to be living in sin, and she was in a public place. No respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman under such circumstances. But Jesus did.

Verse 10 “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”

I believe that Jesus knew full-well who this woman was and what her life was like. I can imagine him resting near the well, watching the woman looking this way and that as she approached with her water pot. His heart must have ached knowing the pain her sin was causing her. He offered her “living water.”

The Old Testament compares thirsting after God to one who thirsts for water (Psalm 42:1; Isaiah 55:1; Jeremiah 2:13; Zechariah 13:1). God is also called the fountain of life in Psalm 36:9, and the fountain of living waters in Jeremiah 17:13. When he told the woman that he could give her living water, he was laying claim to being the Messiah, the only one who could offer this gift that gratifies the very soul.

He also knew that if she accepted his gift, her life would change drastically for the better. He does not wish for any one to hurt or suffer, and a life of sin is very damaging to the human spirit.

Verses 11-15 “The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12. Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13. Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14. but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”

No one had ever talked with her about her spiritual hunger and thirst before. She misunderstood and thought that Jesus could give her an endless supply of water so that she would never have to return to the well. He was teaching her that our souls hunger for spiritual food and water, just as our bodies do for physical food and water.

Verses 16-20 “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18. for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

The woman became uncomfortable when Jesus hit her sin square on the head. She was quick to shift the focus off herself by changing the subject. It was a smokescreen to keep Jesus from her deepest need. It happens to all of us at one time or another, especially when we are under conviction about something. Jesus did not let her get away with that tactic. He brought up the very important point that where we worship is not as important as our attitudes when we worship.

Verses 21-26 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Wow! Can’t you just hear the authority ring from that passage?  When Jesus referenced “salvation is of the Jews” he was saying that only through the Jewish Messiah would the world be saved. Jesus knew that the woman was familiar with the passages in the Old Testament that foretold of the coming Messiah. He finally got through to her.

As we read on we see that the woman was so excited to share what she had found that she left her water pot at the well and told people to “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (Verse 29) Then in verse 39. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.”

As we can see, Jesus spent not a little time with this woman because he cared about her. I know from experience that it does not matter how sinful we are, we are worth Jesus’ time. He stands waiting with open arms to give to each of us “living water.”

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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