If I had an editor, she would have put this article first. As a preface to the introduction of a five week study of who Jesus was with the women he encountered; and who they were because of it. Then would come the clear assertion of who Jesus was and is; then a quick jaunt through history to recall the context in which we find these women. And then we could meet each one individually and examine what scripture teaches us about her relationship with Jesus. And discover what that means for us today.
I’m still a student. As such, I’ve had the spectacular opportunity to really dig into God’s word regarding topics I’m passionate about. A topic that is particularly close to my heart is Jesus’s interactions with women, as found in the gospels. How the living, breathing Lord acted and spoke around living, breathing women in first century Palestine, with all the cultural parameters of that time. And what that means for us, as a body of believers, today. After completing this project, I was surprised, not at what I’d found, but that people outside of school wanted to read my paper. Why?Though, during my research as my spirit was stretching out into this new, wide open space I was discovering, I recall driving home, asking God, “why haven’t I heard this before?” I could feel Him smile. And though I can’t give a precise reason, I have a hunch that this topic drove me deeper into His word than I’d been before; and it had me climbing up onto his lap with my books, pointing out passages and talking excited about them to Him. And I am guessing that He, as I do with my own beloved children, delighted in the time we spent together; relished watching me make discoveries that were not new to Him, nor to many other more mature believers; and thoroughly enjoying my deepening love for Him and His Son. After I was done, I tucked my newfound discoveries away, sure that I had simply uncovered what everyone else already knew.
And yet…As I listen to dear friends and trusted teachers, I find my head cocking to the side. I flip to the passages they are talking about and wonder, “Does scripture really say that; or is that just what we’ve been taught for so long that it’s tradition?” And I felt the certainty I held so close a few semesters ago slipping into the background. I felt a pull to share what I’d learned. To not be stingy and hoard the insights I’d been allowed to discover, but to set these treasures out in front of my friends and family, so each may adorn themselves with the beauty that is the Truth of Scripture.*
Thus, every Tuesday and Thursday for the next four weeks, I’ll provide an article in this series which will examine the interaction of Jesus and a woman found in scripture. We’ll put aside what we’ve heard about her before. We’ll turn off that pastor-in-my-head, and look at the passage with fresh eyes. We’ll listen to what scripture is telling us, through these encounters, about whom Jesus is; and who we are because of it. I welcome, or more accurately, I ask for your comments and questions. Leave them in the comment section below, Facebook them to me, e-mail me, tweet them at me. Drive by my house and leave them taped to my door. But join me in taking a fresh look at stories we’ve heard taught time and again; open your hearts and minds to a new work by the Holy Spirit. Let the accounts of these women draw you closer to Jesus and His Father. And experience the wide-open space in your spirit that is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in you.I know the title for this series is hardly a catchy one:
The Women Who Knew Jesus,but, I’ve heard editors help with that, too.
* And on the off chance that any of this idea gives you pause, let me assure you: I have had more than one set of eyes on this project (one set belonged to a Distinguished Professor of New Testament, and he hasn’t branded me a heretic yet. Though, this coming semester of Greek may provide that opportunity). Thus, let me assure you that what I present is very safely within the bounds of scripture.
Enjoying this study? Here's a link to other articles in this series: The Women Who Knew Jesus