Manna for Today

 

Women Funded Jesus’ Ministry (Luke 8:1-3)

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, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.  (Luke 8:1-3)

Learn it:

            In this short passage, we get a brief glimpse into other people that were with Jesus as he was traveling around Galilee.  We learn that Jesus was not just with his 12 disciples.  Jesus actually had some women that were traveling around with him.  This would have been so countercultural back then because women were to be primarily housekeepers.  It also would have been very scandalous for a Jewish teacher to even be talking with a woman.  Look at how the disciples acted when Jesus was talking with the woman at the well in John 4:27, the marveled at what Jesus was doing!  These women were right in the middle of the action and learning all about what Jesus was doing. 

            Not only were these women learning but they were also financially supporting his ministry!  Women did not make a lot of money so the fact that they were willing to give what they had was astonishing.  We also learn just a little bit of their background.  Mary Magdalene was healed by Jesus when he cast several demons out of her.  Joanna comes from a high social class because her husband worked for King Herod.  We see that even in the women associated with Jesus they come very different social backgrounds and they are living and working together.  These few verses were so radical back then and should really challenge us in how we view women’s role in the church.

Live it: 

            Today, a lot of critics of Christianity have often thought that the church does not empower women enough.  They look at it as a male-dominated religion and women must be submissive.  While there are plenty of examples of churches throughout history doing that, it’s not entirely biblical.  Women played an important role in Jesus’ ministry.  They were traveling around with him and learning from him.  In churches today we need to understand that women play a vital role in the success of the church.  We need women stepping into different leadership roles.  While I do believe there are certain roles that are specified just for men, we cannot neglect the importance of their contributions to serving the local church. 

 

            Do you see women serving at your church?  Women, do you feel like there is a place for you serving in your church?  If not, talk with the leaders and see if there are opportunities for you to serve.  Women have often been encouraged to serve as over the children’s ministry or planning events.  These are very important roles, but women can also serve as worship leaders, leading missions, spiritual care or in finances.  Men, we need to make sure we are including women in playing a role in the church.  


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Jesus Love Sinners (Luke 7:36-50)

36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Learn it:

            This is a powerful story about a woman humbly displaying love for her Savior in front of people who look down on her.  She knew of Jesus and his teachings and was compelled to come and worship him.  Her act of worship was to clean his feet with perfume and her tears.  This was a scandalous scene which the Pharisee’s were shocked Jesus was allowing this to take place.  For them it would be unheard of for a sinful person to touch them.  That was not allowed.  

            Jesus display’s his authority by reading their thoughts and teaching a parable.  This parable is easy to understand and Simon, the Pharisee, was able to answer Jesus’ question easily.  When he answered the question he knew that he was also condemning his own actions.  The sinful woman is more aware of her great debt that has been forgiven, compared to Simon who thought he sinned little.  Of course, she is going to display more thankfulness than Simon.  Jesus brings the point home by publicly declaring her sins have been forgiven because of her faith, not her works. 

Live it: 

 

            Jesus is not afraid of sinners.  He graciously welcomes them into his presence.  This is something we need to remember when we do wander from God.  That he is there waiting for us to return to him.  We then in turn, should display the same love toward unbelievers.  Christians should not be afraid of them but graciously love them in hope that they would repent of their ways and turn to Jesus.  We want others to fall down at the feet of Jesus like this woman and worship Christ for who he has.  He has done so much for us!  Think about how his blood has covered ALL of your sins.  Worship and give thanks to God today.  Then think about ways you can live out that freedom.


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Different Ministry Styles (Luke 7:18-35)

And when the men had come to him [Jesus], they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ ” 21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”   (Luke 7:20-23)

33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” (Luke 7:33-35)

Learn it:

            John the Baptist sends some me to Jesus to find out if he is the promised Messiah.  John the Baptist is having doubts about who Jesus is!   He was expecting this powerful leader coming to liberate the Jews.  This is the image of a leader the John was proclaiming in the wilderness.  What he has heard so far of Jesus’ ministry does not line up with what he had thought of.  When Jesus responds to the man’s question, he does not answer it directly.  He points to the works of his ministry and what has been done so far.  He lets his work speak for its self. 

            Jesus then turns his attention to the people and challenges their reasonings for going to see John the Baptist in the wilderness.  His ministry style was very different than Jesus’, yet it still pointed to God.  People were responding to his message as well, some positive and some negative.  Some were baptized and others rejected his message.  Jesus ends this section by pointing out that John did ministry one way and people called him a demon.  Jesus is doing his ministry the completely opposite way and people call him a sinner.  No matter how they did their work for God people were upset with them. 

Live it:      

            This passage has many implications for how we do ministry today.  There are many types of ways to do ministry and no one way is better than the other.  Just as there are many types of ministries there are just as many people who will respond differently to the message of God.  Some need old fire and brimstone message and they will respond immediately.  Others need to hear the message of grace and they will respond in three years.  Different ministries can reach different people and it’s good to have a variety in your church. 

 

            John the Baptist was the more fire and brimstone kind of ministry, whereas Jesus used a wide variety of practices.  John was confused by Jesus’ ministry style and had to have faith that Jesus was the promised Messiah and there was a purpose to his strategy.  We need to have the same faith when we are proclaiming the gospel to people.  We have to have faith that when we do something, whether as an individual or a church, that God will use it to bring people to him.  


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See a Need, Then Respond (Luke 7:11-17)

11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

14 Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.  (Luke 7:11-17)

Learn it:

            After spending time in Capernaum ministering there Jesus heads south down toward Nain.  When he gets close to the town gates, he sees a funeral procession.  It’s a heart-breaking scene because it’s a widow going to bury her one and only son.  She is alone in the world and in a society where women do not have power, she is without hope.  Jesus sees this, and his “heart went out to her.”  He then tells her, “don’t cry.”  If anyone but Jesus said that, you would think they were insensitive and heartless.  I am sure his words grabbed everyone’s attention. 

            He then goes and touches the coffin!  This is BIG social no, no!  Jesus would now be considered unclean and Jesus’ action even caused those carrying the coffin to stand still.  They are weirded out a little.  Then Jesus says something else that again if anyone else said it would be run out of town.  He tells the dead person to “get up!” But Jesus has power over death, which then lead to everyone to be filled with amazement and begin to recognize who Jesus was.  They do not fully know who Jesus is, but they know he is a prophet of God.  He has not fully revealed himself to them as the Son of God.  Jesus has a plan.   

Live it:   

            The big take away from this passage is verse 13, “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.””  We need to have our eyes open to see people who are hurting.  I believe we live in a time where there is so much hurting going on in our lives and the lives of others that we have tuned a lot of it out.  We need to first have our own relationship with Jesus strong enough that he is carrying our own burdens and struggles.  Once we do that, we need to ask Jesus to open our eyes, so that we can see the people around us that are hurting.

 

            For Jesus, it was not enough to just see this woman hurting.  His heart went out to her and it led him to do something for her.  When we someone hurting, we should be filled with the same compassion that Jesus had.  It should affect our hearts and then lead us to do something.  The greatest thing we can offer someone is our time and a listening ear.  Once we listen to them, we should encourage them and if the timing is appropriate, we tell them about Jesus.  Also, if there is a physical need we can meet for them at the moment we should do it!  We want to help people out both spiritually and physically if we can.  Pray today that God would give you a soft heart.  That we would also be obedient to showing his love to the people around us.  


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Pastor’s Corner