Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Losing Her Life and Finding It

August 27, 2015
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The disciple Joanna was the topic of a post here a few months ago. I’ve learned so much more about her since then, and I’m excited to share with you the rest of the story. All the credit for this background goes to scholar Richard Baukham.*

First, let’s review what Luke 8:1-3 says:

“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”

To first century readers, this passage would have read like a neon sign flashing “This is a situation loaded with meaning!” To people living within memory of the rule of Herod Antipas, here in a nutshell is what they might have ascertained about Joanna:

She was Jewish, probably from a wealthy Galilean family. She was married to a prominent official in Herod’s administration, lived in Tiberias—Herod’s capital city—and enjoyed a life of luxury, at least until she began following Jesus. Then, she probably lost her social standing but also would have struggled for acceptance traveling with people who were accustomed to viewing “Herodians” with contempt. (Read More)

The Women Disciples — There’s More!

August 7, 2015
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In this post we will look in more depth at the presence of the women disciples toward the end of Luke’s Gospel and consider their significance. We’re following up on a previous post, “Jesus and His Traveling Disciplettes,” which explored the way Luke’s Gospel places women as a regular presence among Jesus’ disciples throughout his ministry (beginning in Luke 8:1).

Here’s a rundown of what happened beginning in Luke 23:

  • The women who had followed Jesus from Galilee watched their Savior’s crucifixion at a distance (Luke 23:49). They are singled out because they about to become major actors in this plotline.
  • These same “women who had come with Jesus from Galilee” followed Jesus’ body, saw the tomb, and saw his body laid in it. (Luke 23:55) They became the only witnesses among the disciple group of the exact location where Jesus was buried.
  • “The women” then became the first witnesses of the empty tomb on Sunday morning, when they arrived with burial spices. Instead of the body of Jesus, they found two gleaming men who explained the absence of Jesus. (Luke 24:1-5)
  • The men remind the women what Jesus had told them back in Galilee (Luke 24:6-7). The women then remembered that, yes, Jesus had told them that (Luke 24:8).
  • They ran back and reported their discovery to “the Eleven and to all the others.” The guys were unwilling to believe the news, because “their words seemed to them like nonsense.” (Luke 24:9-10)
  • “The women” were finally identified as “Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them.” (Luke 24:9)
  • The resurrected Jesus walks along with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. These two report to Jesus that “some of our women amazed us.”Some of the guys, including Peter, went to check out their story “and found it just as the women had said.” Imagine that. (Luke 24:23-24)
  • The Emmaus pair returned to Jerusalem and found “the Eleven and those with them,” who said, essentially, “What the women said was true!” (Luke 24:33-34)
  • Jesus suddenly appeared to this same group. (Luke 24:36) He explained the scriptures about himself and told them, “The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” He reminded them that they were “witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:38-48)
  • Jesus told them he would send what his Father had promised and that they should stay in Jerusalem until they had “been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:38-49)
  • After he ascended, they (still the same group) returned to Jerusalem, and “they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” (Luke 24:50-53)
  • In Jerusalem the Eleven joined “together constantly in prayer,along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts 1:14).
  • On the day of Pentecost “all of them” were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:1). As part of his sermon Peter reminded the audience that what they were currently experiencing was prophesied in Joel:

(Read More)

Looking Like Jesus

March 5, 2014
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I’m a little off topic this week, but I’m excited about something new I learned and wanted to share it!

This may not be a new story to you, but I recently learned it about in vivid detail when my daughter shared with me her copy of The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark. It’s a fascinating a book written back in 1996, which I hungrily consumed in a single day of cross-country travel.

I loved the details about the early church and how it fit into the pagan world of the Roman Empire. The best example occurred during a devastating epidemic of infectious disease in the third century. (Everything I’m writing about here comes from chapter 4 “Epidemic Networks and Conversion.”) There’s one report that at its height the epidemic killed 5,000 people per day in Rome. Across the empire the death rates were unimaginably large. (Read More)

Sisters in Christ – Part 4

March 6, 2013
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So Much More than Friends

Fifth grade will always live in infamy in my memory as a year of friendship failure. The teacher had handpicked seven of us from his fourth-grade class to return as fifth graders in an experimental split-grade classroom: four boys and three girls off in a circle in one corner of the room. 

When he selected us, he obviously didn’t consider whether the three of us girls even liked each other. But there we were, three 10-year-old females stuck with each other every school day for an entire year. We each independently decided that the only way to make this situation palatable was to have an exclusive relationship with one of the other two. Naturally, our alliances changed semi-weekly, and the whole school year was an endless cycle of two-against-one clashes. One day our teacher became so frustrated with our bickering that he threatened to paddle us all.  (Read More)

Sisters in Christ – Part 3

February 2, 2013
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WWJD and Our Sister Relationships

WWJDFor the past decade or so I have worked with a professor who greatly admires Jim, a former dean of our school. When this professor finds himself in a complex professional situation, he tells me he asks himself, “What would Jim do?” There’s an ornery little place inside me that always wants to buy him one of those little WWJD bracelets whenever he says that, but he probably wouldn’t get the joke.

I know the whole WWJD fad is so 90s, but it’s still a valid question to consider—What would Jesus do, that is. It seems weird, I know, to seek out guidance on female relationships from a guy. Really, though, the most important thing we can do is look at what Jesus did, at how he treated women, and then follow his example. (Read More)

Sisters in Christ – Part 2

January 21, 2013
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Jesus and Sisters

Ladies, when is the last time you turned to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for guidance on building stronger connections with Madelyn, Maia, Lakeesha, and Joan?

In the past, I would never have expected to glean anything from the Gospels that would help strengthen my relationships with other women. Then I began a more in-depth study of Jesus. I discovered all the love, compassion, respect, and empowerment he offered to the women he encountered.

My first reaction was to apply it all to myself and just bask in the utter assurance that Jesus (and, by inference, God) valued me, too—even though I’m not a man! That’s awesome!

Right in the middle of feeling all warm and fuzzy and confident, though, a second truth hit me. Just as Jesus was the face of God, putting a human face on the Almighty, I’m supposed to be the face Jesus. (Read More)

Sisters in Christ: New Series Begins Today!

January 1, 2013
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Happy New Year, Dear Readers! 

I hope you each had a very merry Christmas and enjoyed blessed time with family and friends. 

I took a little break from the blog during most of December to prepare for the holidays and devote my time to my family while they were all gathered near. My husband was home from Oregon for 10 days, and it was wonderful to have him with me again. I miss him so much when he’s on the opposite side of the country.  (Read More)

Being Jesus on Facebook

December 10, 2012
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screenshotWhenever I read the Gospels, and especially when I read about the ways Jesus interacted with women, I am challenged to reconsider my own daily interactions with women. They are too often inconsistent with the example Jesus set. 

Today, I reflected on being like Jesus in my presence on Facebook. I thought about the image I might be projecting through my Facebook posts and the impressions I have formed of others through their posts.

I wondered if the people who see my posts can tell what my life priorities are. Or if anyone is attracted to Jesus through my social networking presence?

 I am not suggesting that we set up a false image of ourselves or pretend to be better than we are. I am talking about taking a hard look at our timelines, though, and the messages we are communicating about ourselves and about the God we represent. I know I want to be more intentional about what I post. 

Here’s a little inventory of questions I made up for myself. It’s not a rulebook, of course, just some thoughts to consider. 

– Can people tell that I love my family dearly but that I also make time to care for other people too?

– Have I given the impression that injustice and the suffering of innocent people occupies more of my attention than books, movies, food, purchases, home decorating, hobbies, sports, etc.

– Do people know more about my passion for helping needy people than about my political views?

– As a representative of God, my church, and an area of ministry, do my posts unquestionably communicate that people with political views different from mine are loved and welcomed in our fellowship?

– Have I posted so many proclamations of what I believe is right and wrong that a person caught up in sin would never consider coming to me for help?

– Does the way I express my opinions communicate to others that I am someone who would listen nonjudgmentally when their life feels like it is falling apart?

– Have I been discrete enough on Facebook that people feel they could trust me with their confidences?

– Do I present myself as the kind of person who would speak the truth in love when someone wanted to hear it?

I am going to keep thinking about this list and may add more in future. What are your ideas?

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
(Colossians 4:6)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
(Ephesians 4:29)

Nonprofits Helping Women and Children

December 4, 2012
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“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
(Matthew 25:40)

'happy smiling children' photo (c) 2012, planetlight - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/The end of the year often means that lots of us are thinking about charitable giving, and I wanted to share with you some causes that my husband I have donated to in 2011 or 2012. Each of these organizations benefit women and children in some way:

Locally:

I give to the local food bank to help those with emergency food needs, many of which are single moms.

I also support the local Love in the Name of Christ chapter. This clearinghouse organization matches people in need with churches and individual Christians willing to help. Last year, they matched me with Virginia Watkins, a dear 94-year-old widow living by herself. We became great friends. Nearly deaf and blind, she loved for me to read the Bible to her—loudly and slowly. I miss her very much since her passing earlier this fall. Love INC has 130 chapters across 30 states. (Read More)

Jesus on Women – The Summary

November 24, 2012
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Over the past six weeks, I have been sharing with you a series called Jesus on Women. Considering the things Jesus said about women in his ministry has expanded the understandings of God we had already gained by looking at what Jesus said to women. This final post in the series sums up all we discovered.

As Jesus traveled the region of Palestine and taught about the coming kingdom and his Father’s will, he made sure that women knew he wasn’t running a boys-only club. He featured women in his illustrations and made reference to their familiar experiences, clearly communicating that he both invited and welcomed women’s presence among his public audiences as well as his more intimate circle of disciples. (Read More)