Archive for March, 2014

Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd. Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. (Luke 7:11-17)


Have you even known anyone who has outlived her children? It is really tragic. We normally expect to go and be with the Lord long before our children do. It is very sad in our day, but it was devastating to a widow in Jesus’ day. We have social security and welfare and maybe even a caring church family. In the first century, a widow who lost her only son was destitute. There would be no one to provide for her.

As Jesus was approaching the city of Nain He saw the funeral procession. No one widow of Naincame up to Him and asked for help. Jesus saw what was happening and immediately had compassion on the widow as He did for so many women.

Jesus walked up to the widow and said, “Do not weep.” When He touched the funeral bier, the bearers stopped. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” Everyone who was watching was amazed to see the young man sit up and talk. This miracle reminds us of others that Jesus did when He raised someone from the dead. When the person was raised they immediately were able to carry on as if they had not died. When Jesus healed a person, or raised them from the dead, they were completely healed.

This young man was the first person that we read about in the Gospels that Jesus raised from the dead. Jesus’ compassion was very personal and touching – He gave the young man back to His mother. We can only imagine how happy and how grateful this widow was to the Lord Jesus.

The crowd was no less thankful. Luke goes on to tell us that those who saw the young man raised from the dead “glorified God”. This widow was probably their neighbor or friend. They were no doubt very happy for her. They may also have realized that Jesus was the promised Messiah. They said, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” The people then went around telling everyone about this miracle.


And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44)


This story is one of the most famous in the Gospels. Everyone loves the story of this special woman. She was just another poor widow, but Jesus made her special by singling her out from among all of the thousands of people who were streaming into the temple just before Passover.

widow with two mitesWe all know the story – very many rich people were there putting in large amounts of money. Not only that, but they made a big show of putting their large bags of coins in the money box hoping that people would applaud them for their generosity. The disciples were there too and Jesus took this opportunity to teach them a lesson about real giving. The widow had only put in two coins, but they were her whole living. She wanted to honor God so much that she gave Him everything. She must have had great faith. She left the temple destitute, but she knew that God would provide for her. Jesus honored her greatly for this.

This humble old woman did not come to the temple thinking that anyone would notice her. But the Lord of glory did notice. We should learn from this modest woman that we do not do deeds of charity just to get noticed, but Jesus does notice. All acts of kindness, no matter how small, will be rewarded when we see Jesus.


And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)


The very first widow that Jesus encountered was Anna the prophetess. Of course He was a tiny baby at the time and did not interact with her the way He did when He grew up and helped widows during His ministry.

This story takes place when Jesus was about forty days old. His mother, Mary had toAnnaProphetess go to the temple for her purification as commanded by Moses. Mary and Joseph had Jesus with them. On this occasion the prophet Simeon blessed the child. He spoke to Mary and told her about all of the things that would happen to Jesus.

While Simeon was blessing the Child, Anna walked up.

In our last two stories we saw that widows could be very poor. Anna’s story is a bit different. We are told that Anna was a widow, and very aged. Widows had a very tough time in Israel. They were virtually guaranteed a life of poverty. So Anna must have been living just on charity or perhaps very frugally on the remnants of her family’s inheritance. Either way, she led a chaste and sober life, praying and fasting day and night.

Luke tells us that Anna “never left the temple” (Luke 2:37) Apparently she lived right on the temple grounds. There were apartments in the outer courts, sometimes used as temporary housing for priests who were doing their annual service. Perhaps Anna was permitted to live there because of her lifetime of faithfulness and her steadfast devotion to the Lord. The people had also recognized her spiritual gifts and seen how she had been using them in the Lord’s service.

God graciously answered her prayer that the salvation of God’s people would come. When she was walking in the temple and overheard “at that very instant” Simeon blessing the child, she knew at once that the baby in Simeon’s arms was the promised Messiah. She began praising God. She did not stop there. Her message for the rest of her life would be that the Messiah has come! She thus became one of the first witnesses for Christ!

We really don’t know what became of Anna after this. She probably did not live long enough to see Jesus during His ministry. But we can be sure that this elderly, dignified, quiet, devoted woman proclaimed Christ for as long as she lived


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And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.

And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. (Luke 8:41-44)

In the meanwhile during the time that Jesus took to care for this woman with the hemorrhage, Jairus’ daughter died. While Jesus was still blessing the woman whom He healed someone “came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, ‘Your daughter has died: do not trouble the Teacher anymore.’ But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, ‘Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.'” (Luke 8:49,50)

When Jesus came to Jairus’ house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl’s father and mother. Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, ‘Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.’

jesus-raises-jairus-daughterAnd they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. He however, took her by the hand and called, saying, ‘Child, arise!’ And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat. Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.” (Luke 8:45-56)

Jairus was an important official of the synagogue. He and his wife were probably wealthy, and lived privileged lives. Jairus went to find Jesus when his little girl became deathly ill. As usual, there were large crowds around Jesus. Many had heard of His reputation and sought healing.

Just when Jairus thought that Jesus would follow him to his house there was an interruption. A desperate woman came for help. Jesus had compassion and healed this woman who had had the hemorrhage for twelve years and restored her to her family, friends, and community.

Only the little girl’s father, Jairus, is named. Perhaps that is because he was such an important official at the synagogue. But we know that someone else was present who loved her little girl just as much and believed that Jesus could heal her.

The little girl’s mother must have been anxiously waiting at home when Jairus said he would go and get Jesus. How her heart must have broken as she watched her daughter die before her husband and Jesus arrived.

We can only imagine what joy the mother must have felt when her daughter “got up immediately” (Luke 8:55). The little girl was healed completely! She must have been so weak from her illness before that this surprised her parents. Jesus had to tell them to give the little girl something to eat!

Jesus never minded when people asked for help. Rich or poor, Jew or Gentile, He was always willing to help.

In this next story, we will see that Jesus helped a woman from a foreign country. The Gospel is for everyone no matter where they are from.

Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice. But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syro-Phoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.

And He was saying to her, ‘Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’

But she answered and said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.’ And He said to her, ‘Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.’ And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left. (Mark 7:24-30)

This wonderful story is sandwiched between two events where Jesus blesses thousands of people. A couple of months before this, Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish! A few days after this story, Jesus will feed 4000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. One of the amazing things to note is that the 5000 people were Jews, and the 4000 people are Gentiles in the region of Tyre. These stories show that Jesus had compassion for large groups of people and for individuals. Jesus could work miracles for thousands of people at a time, but He would also take out time for individuals. In this story, He not only took out time for an individual, but for a Gentile woman.

This mother who was of the Syro-Phoenician race had two strikes against her as far as syrophoenician womanJesus’ disciples were concerned. She was a woman and she was a Gentile. Remember the story of the woman at the well? She was a Samaritan. The disciples were surprised to see Jesus talking to her. Apparently they haven’t learned enough. Jesus will make it very clear that He came to save all sinners, Jew and Gentile alike.

At the beginning of the story it seems that Jesus is giving the woman a hard time. He says He won’t give the children’s food to others. When He refers to the “children” in verse 27, He is referring to the Jews – the children of God. This woman is so humble that she responds, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” This answer is very ironic. You see, the Jews referred to Gentiles as dogs. The woman knows this and shows how much faith she has in Jesus with this response. She doesn’t care if she is as lowly as a dog. She loves her daughter so much that she is willing to come and beg for Jesus to heal her not matter how humiliating it might be.

Jesus honors her faith by casting the demon out of her daughter on the spot. He doesn’t even go to her house, like He did when He healed Jairus’ daughter. The woman went home and found her daughter freed from the demon.

What can we learn from this? Why did Jesus test her? I think He knew she had great faith. It is possible that because the disciples were standing around and getting irritated, that Jesus wanted to teach them a lesson. Jesus was showing the way that all women should be treated. It’s as if He was saying to them, “Yes, I came for the Jews first. But you need to know that I also came for the whole world. Yes, I know that the Pharisees don’t allow men to speak to women in public. But I want to show that they are wrong.”

The Lord Jesus was kind and compassionate with women. This woman had great faith. The mother in our first story also trusted Jesus to take care of her daughter. We can look to Jesus to meet our needs.



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Jesus was never too busy to take time out to show love for even the humblest of God’s people by responding to their needs. Here are the stories of three women to whom Christ showed compassion. In the first story, the healing of Peter’s wife’s mother, Jesus is gracious to a godly, hospitable woman. In the second story, Jesus goes against the customs of His day by interacting with an “unclean” woman. Then in the last story, we see Jesus even go so far as to chastise the religious leaders of His day for their coldness towards women.

  –  Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her. And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them. (Luke 4: 38, 39)

Jesus Heals Peter's Mother-in-Law Luke 4:38-39One time when Jesus was ministering in Capernaum, he stayed at Simon (Peter’s) home. Peter’s mother-in-law was there and was so sick that she could not even get out of bed. This godly woman was no doubt suffering emotionally as well because she was used to ministering to the disciples and would have felt distress that she could not serve them when they came on this visit.

Peter must have had great affection for his kindly mother-in-law and asked Jesus to heal her. We are used to seeing Jesus heal people. Of course it is a wonderful, miraculous blessing. But the most amazing part of this story is that the woman got up and immediately began waiting on Jesus and Peter and his friends.

Her response is a good example for us. When Jesus comes into our lives, cleansing and healing us from our sins, the first thing we should be is grateful. Then immediately we should find ways to serve Him.

 – And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.  (Matthew 9:20 – 22)

In Luke’s version of this story we see that Jesus is on His way to heal the daughter of a synagogue official named Jairus. The little girl was dying and Jairus was urging Jesus to come quickly.

As He was following Jairus, a woman came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe on the bottom of His cloak. The woman had spent all the money she had. (Mark 5:25-34) She had been to many doctors but not a single one had healed her. She was desperate to try and get near Jesus.

Why did she approach Jesus from behind and try to not let anyone see her? In Woman-Touch-Jesus-CloakJewish society anyone who had an issue of blood was considered unclean. Perhaps she did not want to shame herself or Jesus by going near to Him in public. We are not sure why she just tried to touch Him rather than talk to Him, but we know that it was not because of lack of faith. She had enough faith to believe that even if she just touched Jesus she would be healed.

After the woman touched Him, Jesus turned and said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” The disciples were surprised at Jesus’ words. There was a large crowd pressing all around them. Jesus knew that some power had gone out of HIm. When the woman saw that she was discovered she fell down before Jesus and told Him what she had done and how she had immediately been healed.

Jesus said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” It was important that Jesus spoke to this woman. He was telling her and everybody else in the crowd that she was now clean. Jesus not only restored this woman’s physical health, but He also restored her standing in her community. Now no one would need to keep shunning her. Now she could live a joyful life.

This woman’s private faith turned to a public testimony of the greatness and loving kindness of Jesus.

In the meantime, someone came to tell Jairus not to bother Jesus anymore. The little girl was dead. Jesus must have known that the child would die. How kind of Jesus to take out time to speak to this woman who had been sick for twelve years and assure her of physical and spiritual salvation. We’ll find out what happened to the little girl in next week’s post.

 – And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.” And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. (Luke 13:10 – 13)

In the last story we saw that Jesus defied the rules of the religious leaders when He interacted with an unclean woman. We saw that Jesus takes time out for those in need no matter who they are.

Jesus & woman bent doubleIn this story Jesus takes time to heal a crippled elderly woman even though “the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, ‘There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.'”  But Jesus pointed out the official’s hypocrisy. “Ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound; think of it; for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:16)

The official was putting his rules above the welfare of human beings. He did not care that the woman had been suffering for eighteen years or that she was an object of God’s love.

Jesus set them straight. The officials were “put to shame” (Luke 13:17). This phrase does not mean ashamed because they were sorry. It means that they were shamed in front of the others in the temple when Jesus pointed out to them that they were not obeying God’s command to them to love their neighbors (Leviticus 19:18). They were supposedly the teachers of the law; they should have known better.

They are the ones who broke the law, not Jesus. It was not wrong to heal on the Sabbath.

Like all three of these women we have been blessed. We have been shown much grace by our Savior. Let us be thankful and show our gratitude by being kind and compassionate to others as Jesus was.

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Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”  (John 4:26)

One day during His ministry Jesus decided to go to Galilee from Judea. He had to pass through Samaria or go around it. The Samaritans and the Jews did not get along, and many travelers just went around it. Jesus was led by the Spirit to go through Samaria. In order to avoid the hated Samaritans the Jews would actually cross the Jordan River to the east side and travel through Perea and then cross back when they got opposite Jerusalem. (See map)


On this occasion Jesus would deliberately go through Samaria in order to have an encounter with a woman that would show not only His love and care about the other nations of the world but also for women. Jesus brought salvation to the whole world, not just Israel.

The disciples were with Jesus on this journey. After a long trek in a dry land they were tired and thirsty and stopped to rest at Jacob’s well near Sychar. It was about the “sixth hour” or around noon.

Samaritan woman:JesusJesus’ disciples went to the nearby town to get some food, and while they were gone a woman came to draw water. Our Lord opened up the conversation, “Give Me a drink.” This is an important point. We know that men were not allowed to speak to women in public. And besides, she was a Samaritan. And so, this woman was honestly surprised, “How is it that you ask me for a drink?”

But our Lord had a purpose in mind to bring this woman to belief in Him as Messiah and so He steers the conversation in the direction that He wants it to go. “If you knew the gift of God, and who was asking you, you would ask for living water.” The woman knows by His dress and speech who He is, that He is Jewish, but she really does not get His point yet. But Jesus has at least aroused curiosity in her, and she reacts as if she thinks He means the water in the well. “Sir, you don’t have anything to draw water with, and where will you get that living water?” The woman is still thinking on a physical level. After all, she has the water jug and the means to draw water. Jesus is the one who is thirsty and tired. Here He is by a well and He can’t get any water without her help. How is He supposed to help her?

At this point, Jesus gives her an unexpected answer, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Jesus had asked her, “If you knew the gift of God,” Jesus is the gift of God. He is the One who offers us eternal life. The water in Jacob’s well can only satisfy a temporary thirst; the living water that He gives will last eternally.

The Samaritan woman is still thinking literally, and asks Jesus to give her that living water so that she, “will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” Again, Our Lord responds in an unexpected manner with, “Go call your husband, and come here.” She responds, “I have no husband.” Jesus commends her honesty, but proceeds to startle her by telling her something only a prophet, or the Son of God, could know. She has had five husbands, and the one she was living with was not her husband. We do not know exactly what her status was, but Jesus’ answer makes the woman realize that Jesus must be a prophet, and so she shifts the conversation to religion. She points up a major difference between the Jewish worship and Samaritan worship. Perhaps she points to Mount Gerizim, seen in the background from where they are sitting. “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain.”

Jesus refuses to be drawn into that discussion. He is the living and true Temple; He is the focus of worship, not a certain mountain. The Messiah does come from the Jews, but an hour is coming when worship will be, “in spirit and truth;” The woman recalls that Messiah will come and declare all things to them. Jesus very plainly tells her, “I who speak to you am He.”

She now knows that the man to whom she was speaking is indeed the Messiah! She left her water pot and ran to the town to tell everyone about Him. “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” They must have been amazed that she would approach them so openly with her story! They believed her because of her testimony and later many would come to belief in Jesus.

And so, on an ordinary day, an unremarkable, lowly, nameless woman came to meet her Savior. Not only that, but her courage, and the enthusiasm of her testimony led many others to belief in Jesus as Messiah. The woman left her water pot and ran to tell others of her new freedom in Christ. Many of the villagers went to see Jesus for themselves. Unlike the unbelieving Jewish leaders who wanted to get rid of Jesus, these grateful Samaritans begged Jesus to stay and teach them. Jesus did stay with them for two days.

The woman at the well was forgiven, cleansed, and moved to tell others of the goodness of her Savior. Jesus cared more about her than the false rules of the Pharisees. God never intended for women to be abused in Israel the way they were by the time of the first century. Jesus restored women to their original place as children of God. Jesus invited women to be His disciples.  Jesus confirmed the worth and value of women when this woman from Samaria became one of the first evangelists! We can follow her example as we serve our Savior.



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