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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 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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