In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony with their Heavenly Father. There was Peace, Love, Joy, and Truth between God, them, and nature. But then the enemy deceived Eve. One of the results of their sin of disobedience was the Earth was now cursed. Mankind would suffer spiritual separation from his Heavenly Father, and was enslaved to the father of lies. Their once perfect union with each other and God would be split, and now life would be marked by strife, confusion, and abuse. Women would especially suffer under the power and dominion of ungodly men.
You can still see the effects of the curse in many nations where women are treated as sexual objects, and sometimes as property to be used and/or destroyed at the whim of men. Even religion sometimes relegates women to a lower status. At the time of Jesus, the Pharisees would thank God that they weren’t born a woman. You can find similar negative attitudes and behavior towards women even in Christian churches to this day.
Jesus does not view women as sexual objects, or second class citizens in his Kingdom. They are living, speaking spirits, that have the same need of Salvation as men. And they have the same capacity to be Believers, imitators of Jesus, and valuable parts of the Body of Christ. Never judge Christianity by people who claim to be Christians. Evaluate Christianity by the highest standard – Jesus Christ. Jesus is a revelation of God’s will. When you look at the life of Jesus, you see the ideal Christian life. What was his attitude towards women? How did he treat them? What place did he give them in his Body – the Church?
Satan has attempted to divide folks along gender lines, and push women down, if not out, of God’s family. This is contrary to God’s plan of a Glorious Church made up of many parts working to bring to maturity the entire Body of Christ. As Paul writes, there can be no male and female; for all are one man in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) They are one “man” because they make up the Body of Christ.
This post explores the way Jesus treats and values women in the Bible, and in his Church.
Why did you come to me? My time has not yet come.
Whatever He says to you, do it.
Any exploration of Jesus and women has to start with Mary, his mother. It had to require tremendous faith for this teenage girl to believe she would miraculously be the mother of the promised Messiah. She heard the promise from Gabriel and received it with joy. And continued to trust God even as Joseph, her promised husband, struggled with news of her pregnancy. But once Joseph understood the plan and purpose of Jesus, the two made sure he was protected and loved throughout his early years, trusting God to watch over them.
Now the time came for Jesus to step out into a public ministry. He was anointed by the Holy Spirit and tested by the devil in the wilderness. He returned and began gathering his disciples. It was at this time there was a wedding at Cana. Mary was there, and Jesus and his disciples were invited as well. Mary may have been related to the couple because she discovered that they were running out of wine. This would be quite an embarrassment to the family.
Determined to do something, Mary brought the problem to Jesus. Jesus seemingly pushes back by asking her why did she come to him, it wasn’t his time. The statement seems so out of character for Jesus, that you have to stop and meditate on what was really happening here. The best way to understand the moment was that Mary brought Jesus the problem. But its faith that gets results. Jesus already had the solution from the Father. (Isaiah 65:24) He needed Mary’s faith to produce the results.
Mary tells the servants, “Whatever he (Jesus) tells you to do, do it!” – Good advice for all Christians.
Note the boldness of her request. This was not complaining or whining about the problem anymore. This was an absolute confidence that Jesus would change the circumstances. Jesus immediately got up without further comment, and told the servants what to do. They filled pots with water, and when they took some of it out, it had changed to wine. Not just ordinary wine, but the very best wine. God always gives His very best! (John 2:1-11)
Also note that even though Jesus had said that his time had not yet come, he immediately responded to Mary’s faith. There is always time for bold faith, something you will see throughout his ministry.
Starting with the Water to Wine story, you see a changing relationship between Jesus and Mary. Jesus loves Mary, there can be no doubt on this matter. But Mary needed to see Jesus as her Savior, not just a son. He is the Way (the only way), and all must believe in him to be saved. (John 3:16, 10:7-18, 14:1-7, Acts 4:7-12, Romans 3:21-28, 5:1-21, Ephesians 1:3-14, 1 Timothy 2:1-6, 1 Peter 1:17-25) As Jesus said, “Whoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” And its God’s will that all be saved by faith in Jesus. (Mark 3:31-35, Luke 11:27-28, 1 Timothy 2:1-6)
For additional Water To Wine resources
I know that the Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything.
I who speak to you am he.
If you have any doubts about what Jesus thinks about women, study the story of his meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. (John 4)
I always wondered why the Samaritan woman has such a bad reputation. There is nothing in the text to indicate she was some notorious sinner, or prostitute. You must look at this story through the lens of life in 1st Century Samaria, not modern standards and customs. She had five husbands, and was now living with a sixth man. Her husbands could have divorced her, which was done easily in her day for the slightest offense, they could have died, or they simply could have abandoned her. An unmarried woman in this age was very vulnerable, so having a man willing to support her was quite important. By the reaction of her village towards her testimony of Jesus, it is clear that there was no obvious animosity towards her by her neighbors. It would seem she was simply someone that had endured much hardship, and was no more, or less, a sinner than any other person in Sychar, her village in Samaria.
And even if she was a prostitute, or a woman with a bad reputation, that would not matter to Jesus one bit. Everyone needs Jesus as a Savior. Until people are Born Again, they are all slaves to sin. This woman was desperate for love. And most importantly, she needed Love that she could really believe in and trust.
John begins by telling his readers that Jesus had to travel through Samaria. He stopped at the well knowing that this Samaritan woman would be coming to draw water. It was a divine appointment. Why?
Before answering the question, let’s examine what transpired that afternoon. Jesus was resting by the well when the woman arrived to draw water. This was Jacob’s well, which had much symbolic and historical significance to Jews and Samaritans. Jesus breaks the ice by asking her for a drink. This was breaking both cultural and religious barriers since Jews avoided Samaritans, and religious leaders did not address women in public. None of that mattered to Jesus. And besides, he only did his Father’s will, and this often ruffled religious feathers.
The woman was surprised by the request. She asked why he was asking her for a drink. Jesus responds by telling her that she should be asking him for a drink, because he could provide Living Water. This was an interesting concept, although the part about an internal perpetual spring was misunderstood as physical water, not Spiritual.
The dialogue had been an interesting diversion until Jesus probed a little deeper and told her to go and get her husband. She shrewdly answered that she had no husband. Jesus commended her honesty, revealing that he knew she had been through five husbands, and was now living with a sixth man that was not her husband. This was not condemnation. It was Jesus leading her to realize that he loved and cared for her, and that she could be honest with him. Why else would he have offered Living Water to her knowing her past?
Now note the next few lines. She realizes that Jesus is a prophet and immediately wants to have a religious debate on where to worship – Jerusalem, as the Jews, or Mount Gerizim, as the Samaritans. Jesus guides her back to the Truth – God is Spirit. And it was time to worship in Spirit and Truth. The physical place would no longer matter.
The woman confessed that, “I know the Messiah is coming. And he will explain everything.”
This is exactly why Jesus was there that day. This woman believed in, and was expecting the Messiah. And she knew he would resolve any religious disputes, and answer all questions. This was a confidence, an expectant faith in the Messiah promised in God’s Word. And her faith got a quick response when Jesus confirmed, “I who speak to you, am he.” Search the Gospels and you will notice how few times he openly admitted who he really was. Very few people outside his inner circle heard this Truth, and many of them doubted, or did not understand the significance of this confession until after he was resurrected. Only reluctantly, as at his trial, did he confirm his true identity to most folks. Its noteworthy that he revealed his true identity to this “notorious” woman. She is certainly not someone that you would expect to receive such a wonderful revelation. But God sees what we often can’t see, what is in someone’s heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
She immediately left her water jar and ran throughout her village announcing to everyone, “Come see the man who knows everything about my life. Is he not the Messiah?”
By this one woman’s testimony, her entire village met Jesus. After spending time with Jesus, they asked him to stay and teach. He stayed with them for two whole days! These people were eager to receive God’s Word. Such was the impact of the Samaritan woman. Compare Jesus’ reception in this Samaritan village to many other stops, including in his own country, where they begged him to leave, or tried to toss him off a cliff.
John ends the story with a remarkable statement.
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42 <NIV>)
Some Reading Suggestions For The Samaritan Woman At The well:
Jesus And The Woman At The Well – Bible paraphrase with commentary
Do You Believe In Love? – My blog post comparing the world’s concept of love, to God, who is Love
For additional Samaritan Woman At The Well resources
Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table.
O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.
Few things are as traumatic for a parent as having a child who is sick. And if a child is “cruelly tormented” by a demon, and you have no way of casting it out, it would be torture. This was the case of a Syrophoenician woman, a Gentile mother that came to Jesus. He and his disciples were staying in a house in the area of Tyre. The woman came to Jesus and begged him to heal her daughter. Jesus said nothing.
The crying started to annoy his disciples who asked Jesus to send her way. Instead, Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman threw herself at Jesus’ feet worshiping him and said, “Lord, help me!”
Jesus answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Now that jerked the slack out of this woman. It was obvious the begging was getting her nowhere. Because crying and begging are emotional responses rooted in fear, doubt, and even unbelief, which is the opposite of faith. Faith is an assurance, a confidence, a boldness that acts on the dominion given by God to mankind in Genesis, and in agreement with God’s Word. Jesus is touched by your emotions. But its your faith that pleases God and gets results!
Faith is trusting God from your heart, and casting down imaginations and conflicting reasoning in your mind. It is your spirit rising up inside and taking charge, and the soul (mind, will, & emotions), and the body, taking their appropriate positions subordinate to the spirit. Faith works by love, and is joined by joy, peace, and patience – all fruits of the spirit. Faith believes in the heart, and then speaks. With faith, nothing is impossible. And of course, faith is NOW. (Genesis 1:26, 2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 40:4, Proverbs 3:5, Isaiah 26:3, Jeremiah 17:7-8, Matthew 21:21-22, Mark 11:23-24, Luke 17:5-6, Romans 10:5-13, 15:13, 1 Corinthians 2:5, Galatians 5:13-26, Ephesians 6:10-17, Hebrews 4:15-16, 11:1-6)
She replied, “Yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the children’s table.”
With her emotions in check, and her faith now released, Jesus said, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that very moment. (Matthew 15:21-28) (Mark 7:24-30)
Only one other time did Jesus refer to someone as having great faith, the Centurion (Matthew 8, Luke 7), also a Gentile. Just as Jesus had responded oddly with Mary at the wedding feast at Cana, here he seemingly ignores the woman, and then it would appear at first blush he even insults her. But remember, God is love. So let’s dig a little deeper and see what is happening.
The people in the house were Jesus, the woman, the disciples, and possibly others. The disciples needed to learn a lesson on love. They were annoyed by the woman and wanted to send her away. There may have been a little religious snobbery in play. The woman knew that as a Gentile, she was outside the Covenant, but was desperate for a solution for her daughter. The statement by Jesus was accurate, he was sent first to the Children of Israel, but there is more than enough of God’s Grace for the Gentile world.
The words of Jesus may have briefly stung her pride, but she immediately, and boldly, said she would take whatever she could get, even if it was a crumb. God does not deal in crumbs, so don’t get the wrong idea. This was the woman showing that she was there to get her daughter healed. And nothing, was going to stop her from receiving her miracle. Once the begging stopped, and a confidence in Jesus was released by her words, her daughter was healed. And we know she had faith because Jesus declares that she had “great faith.”
Note that Jesus was not anywhere near the daughter. He did not speak to the daughter, or touch her in anyway. This miracle was solely the result of her mother’s faith. There is no time or distance in faith and prayer. You can release your faith for someone on another continent, or at their bedside, and get the same results.
It seems appropriate to end this story with a portion of Psalm 103.
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits-who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5 <NIV>)
Some Reading Suggestions For The Syrophoenician Mother:
Lord, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table – My blog post on this miracle
For additional Jesus Heals The Syrophoenician Woman’s Daughter resources
Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?
Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.
Jesus was teaching in the Temple when the Pharisees and religious leaders brought in a woman caught in the very act of adultery. The Law of Moses required that she should be stoned. The Romans did not permit the Jews to execute people, although this rarely stopped their demonic actions – see Stephen’s martyrdom. (John 18:28-32, Acts 7)
This was a clever trap to accuse Jesus. If he said stone her, he would be at odds with Roman Law, God’s nature (Grace, Love, and Mercy). (Psalm 103, Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:7-8, Matthew 9:9-13, 12:1-8, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 11:25-37, John 13:34-35, 18:28-32, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5:16-26, Ephesians 2:1-10, 1 John 4) If he said let her go, they could accuse him of violating the Mosaic Law, and being a false prophet. (Leviticus 20:10, Numbers 5, Deuteronomy 22:22) Jesus said nothing. Instead, he stooped down and began writing with his finger on the ground. Scripture does not say exactly what was written, so it is unsafe to speculate. I doubt he was playing Tic-tac-toe though, as I saw one time in a comedy sketch.
After a few moments, he stood up and said, “He who is sinless may throw the first stone.” And immediately he returned to his writing.
The mob began to retire, starting with oldest first, and then the younger ones. They could not live up to this standard of perfection. Conviction was heavy from their very actions – attempting to frame Jesus, wanting to kill him, wanting to execute the woman, ignoring the man that was caught with the woman, guilt for other sins they had done in secret, and fear that they might be publicly exposed. Their trap had failed. (John 8)
The woman was left alone with Jesus. He tenderly asks, “Is there nobody left to condemn you?”
She said that there was nobody.
Jesus answered, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save it. (John 3:16-17, 12:44-50) Under other circumstances, he might have ministered to this woman very differently. Jesus was well aware of the circumstances and motivation of the woman’s accusers. It was not his time to be arrested, so he handled the situation with Godly wisdom, showing mercy to the woman, and teaching those that had ears to hear a valuable lesson in love, and man’s need for Salvation. For nobody can live up to God’s standard of perfection without faith in Jesus. (Romans 3-8) As Jesus had told his followers earlier, don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. (Matthew 7)
I mentioned this earlier, but its good to bring it up one more time. Note that these religious leaders caught this woman in the act of adultery. The Law required both the man and woman to be stoned. Why did they bring just the woman? Historically, why are women seemingly singled out when it comes to promiscuity? It would seem to take two people to commit the majority of sexual sins. But somehow, men seem to get a pass more often than not.
Women have been abused for not pleasing kings, mutilated to prevent sexual pleasure, and executed under accusations of everything from adultery to heresy to witchcraft. During the 200 years of the witch burning craze in Europe, thousands, if not more, women were burned at the stake, often sanctioned or tried by the church. In the modern era, people sometimes abort female babies in preference of males. It seems the devil is particularly fond of attacking women. And it all goes back to the beginning.
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 <NLT>)
This prophecy is primarily about Jesus’ victory over the devil. But note also the hostility between the devil and women. You can see him at work today – breaking up families, pushing abortion, sexual immorality, violence, and strife between men and women even in churches. The devil has a long memory. He remembers Eve’s accusation against him in the Garden. He is jealous of God’s love for mankind, their dominion on the Earth, and their ability to create life. His purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) If he can kill in the womb, all the better. Because he knows the love of a mother and father for a child is a powerful reminder of God’s love for mankind. He eagerly works to undermine the marriage covenant, because two Born Again parents, trusting God, loving each other and God, presents a hedge of protection not easily removed. And the faith of two people agreeing is ten times more powerful than one. (Deuteronomy 32:30, Matthew 18:19-20)
For far too long, the Word was hidden from people by ignorance, and religious tradition. Knowledge has increased, along with technology, where everyone can now study the Word in multiple translations, and in every language. There are more churches, ministries, and Spirit-filled Believers than at any time in history. There are teachers, preachers, evangelists, prayer warriors, and men and women of great faith on TV, radio, and on the Internet. There is no excuse not to get in the Word, build your faith, and get connected to God. It is obvious from scripture that Jesus loves women, and has a perfect plan and place for everyone on this planet.
And getting back to the original story, the woman caught in adultery, it should be obvious to Believers that condemnation is not the job of Christians. You should be a follower of Christ, and the Word clearly teaches that there is now NO condemnation in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) Jesus came to save, not condemn. Your job is to love. If you step out of love, you repent, receive your forgiveness, and continue your love walk. (1 John 1:9) If religious folks are constantly condemning you, falsely or otherwise, they are stepping out of love. (1 Corinthians 13)
This is one of my favorite comments on this subject from a great man of God.
“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” – Billy Graham
Some Reading Suggestions For The Woman Caught In Adultery:
Jesus And The Woman Caught In Adultery – A short devotion on this story
Thou Shalt Not Wear Short Skirts – My blog post about condemnation in modern churches
Woman, Thou Art Loosed From Thine Infirmity!
You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?
One day Jesus was teaching in the Synagogue. In the back of the room there was a woman who had been bent over, and unable to raise herself up for 18 years. When Jesus saw her, he stopped teaching and called her to come to him.
He said, “Woman, thou art loosed!”
Then he placed his hands on her as a point of contact. She immediately stood straight and began praising God, along with many others in the Synagogue.
But unfortunately, this was the wrong day to heal folks. The leader of the Synagogue was upset that Jesus “worked” on the Sabbath.
He said, not to Jesus, but to the crowd, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
Jesus answered, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath water your ox or donkey? Should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day? (Luke 13)
This is a perfect example of how religious attitudes can chase people away. This woman presumably attended this Synagogue, lived in the village, and was known by everyone in this community. She had suffered in this state for 18 years. Religion did nothing for her. The religious leaders had over 5,000 days in which they could have ministered to this woman, but nothing was done.
I wonder how this leader would have responded had Jesus healed him of this condition, or his wife, mother, or daughter. Healing this woman was an act of love, and God IS Love. (1 John 4:8)
Note that Jesus, as soon as he saw this woman, ministered healing to her. He spoke a Word of faith to her so she would have something to believe – because faith comes from hearing the Word. (Romans 10:17) His touch allowed her to release her faith and receive her healing immediately. And mark this truth well, Satan bound this woman. Sickness does not come from God, nor does He get any glory from it. The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus came to give life in abundance, to the full, until it overflows! (John 10:10)
Jesus could have waited one more day to heal her and not caused any ruckus. But why should she wait? She was a Daughter of Abraham, a servant of the Most High God. She should not have to wait one more day!
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) You have an even better Covenant than this woman bowed by Satan. You are no longer a servant, but a Child of the Most High God. By the stripes on his back, Jesus bore the entire curse of sickness for you. (Psalm 103:1-5, Isaiah 53:4-5, Matthew 8:17, 1 Peter 2:24) You have the name of Jesus, a name above all names. (Ephesians 1, Philippians 2:9) You are the Temple of the Living God. (2 Corinthians 6:16) If you love Jesus, God lives in you. (John 14) Do you think Almighty God wants to live in a broken down shack? No! He doesn’t even want a hangnail on the pinky toe of the Body of Christ.
Don’t wait another day. Study the Word and learn your rights as a child of God. Take ownership over your body, God’s Temple, and dedicate it to your Heavenly Father. Don’t wait 18 years to get better. Every promise in the Bible belongs to you. Take them all NOW by faith!
Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords. (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 19:16) But who are these kings and lords under him? See below for details, and notice the tense. Also note God has given you Grace, or His Favor, and Peace, which is all inclusive – spiritual, mental, and physical. Jesus has done everything for YOU.
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:3-6 <KJV>)
Some Reading Suggestions For The Woman Bowed By Satan:
Woman, Thou Art Loosed From Thine Infirmity! – Bible paraphrase with commentary
Jesus Heals A Bent Over Woman – Luke 13 – My blog post on this miracle
For additional Healing the Woman Bowed By Satan resources
I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection.
I am the resurrection, and the life. He that believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.
In the village of Bethany lived a man named Lazarus, and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. Martha invited Jesus and his disciples into their home and served them. Mary sat at Jesus feet and listened to him teach. After a short time, Martha became anxious because she was so busy trying to prepare things for her guests, and Mary was not helping her.
She asked Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that I am doing all the work? Tell my sister to help me.”
It seemed like a reasonable request. Serving at least 13 guests would be a lot of work for one person. Having Mary help sure would make the job easier. Plus, there was probably a little sibling rivalry in play. Here was Martha working away, while Mary was just enjoying the fellowship.
Jesus responded, “Martha, you are anxious about a lot of things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Have you ever known any Christians that are so involved in activities, secular and Christian, that they push themselves to the point that they have no time for the Word? Martha was so overwhelmed with trying to make their stay pleasant, that she was missing out on quality time with the Son of God! Jesus had made it clear that man lives by God’s Word. And that you should cast ALL your care on him because he cares for you. Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God, God’s way of doing things, and all your needs would be supplied. God is Good, and He will not let any of His children lack anything. That was exactly what Mary was doing by sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to him speak. She put Jesus first. She chose wisely. (Psalm 23; Matthew 4:4, 6; Luke 4:4; John 14; 2 Corinthians 9:7-15; Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 5:6-7)
A short time later after Jesus had left Bethany, Lazarus became very sick. His sisters sent for Jesus. It took the messenger one day to reach Jesus. He told Jesus, “The one you love is sick.”
Jesus said, “This is not a sickness to death. For the sake of the glory of God, the Son of God will be glorified by the final result.”
There is no doubt that Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters. You must be very careful with John 11:4, or as some folks have done and taught, you will come to the conclusion that God gets glory from sickness. This is NOT what is happening. The resuscitation of Lazarus will bring much glory to God, because many would believe in Jesus because of this miracle.
Jesus waited two days before heading back to Bethany. His disciples argued with him that he should not go – they were using human reasoning in an attempt to dissuade Jesus from following God’s plan. Jesus was the light of the world. While he was in the world, darkness was not a problem for him. Then, Jesus said that Lazarus was sleeping, and he was going to wake him. Note that Jesus did not want to confess death. The disciples reasoned that Lazarus would get better if he was sleeping. Jesus then told them plainly that Lazarus had died. But He was going to bring him back.
By the time Jesus was just outside of Bethany, Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. According to superstition, the spirit remained near the body of a dead person three days. But after the third day, death was final. Now you can start to see the reason for the delay.
Bethany was near Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to mourn with the two sisters. They were a family of some importance and means as you will see later, so there was a large crowd at their home. Martha heard that Jesus had come, so she went out to meet him. Pay close attention to their exchange.
Martha said, “My Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. I know that whatever you ask of God, he will give you.”
Note her initial confidence. She knows without a doubt that Jesus would have healed Lazarus had he arrived earlier. And she believes that Jesus will receive whatever he asks of his Father even now.
Jesus said, “Your brother will rise.”
Jesus confirms her faith with a simple answer. But then she begins to reason her faith away.
“I know he will rise up in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus never even mentioned the last day, or a future resurrection. He responds by saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, even though he die, he shall live. And whoever is alive and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
You can almost see the wheels spinning in her head as she is trying to get her spirit and mind in agreement with Jesus’ words. Note that she does not argue any further. She confesses what she believes – Jesus is the anointed one, the Son of God. In no way does she contradict Lazarus’ imminent return.
Martha runs to tell Mary that Jesus was there. Mary runs out to Jesus and falls at his feet. Many of the mourners followed her to Jesus.
Mary said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
There was truth in this statement and it was not condemnation. Jesus saw the weeping of the sisters, and the other mourners, and was moved to tears. He asked them where they placed Lazarus. Mary took him to the tomb. John writes that some of those gathered murmured to themselves about why Jesus had not arrived in time, or healed Lazarus. Note that Jesus had healed folks without being in their presence – the Nobleman’s Son, Syrophoenician Mother’s Daughter, and the Centurion’s Servant. This was a special exception that would reveal God’s Love and Glory to the world. Do not build a doctrine around sickness, suffering, or a delayed healing, being from God. That is NOT the lesson to be learned from this miracle. God gets ABSOLUTELY NO glory from His children suffering.
They reached the tomb and Jesus told them to remove the stone. Martha tells Jesus that its been four days and now the body is beginning to decay and smell. Jesus reminds her that if she believes, she will see the Glory of God. There is an indication that more was said between Jesus and the sisters that was not recorded. But stick with what the Holy Spirit had John to record to be safe.
They took away the stone. Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me, and I know that you always hear me. I say this because of the people who stand around, so that they may believe that you have sent me.”
There could be no doubt that what was about to happen was God’s will, and that Jesus was carrying out God’s instructions. The events at Lazarus’ tomb would be obvious to even the most callous, or spiritually ignorant person, of a tremendous miracle.
Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, come out!”
Bound in grave clothes, Lazarus walked out of the tomb alive. Jesus told Mary and Martha to free their brother.
John writes that many of the mourners, quite a few from Jerusalem which was nearby, witnessed this miracle and believed in Jesus. How could you not? A man in the grave for four days is restored to life. You don’t see that very often. But there were some in the crowd that told the religious leaders, who instead of being moved by religious curiosity to further investigate scripture to see if this was in fact the Messiah, were moved instead to kill Jesus. They were jealous of his popularity, and feared for their own positions and power. (John 11)
Some readers may balk at a person being raised from the dead. Always remember the following verse among many others that nothing is impossible, and everything is possible for those that believe!
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20 <NIV>)
Six days before the Passover, Jesus was back in Bethany. He was reclining at the table with his disciples and Lazarus, while Martha was serving them supper. Mary came and anointed his feet with a pound of ointment, and then wiped his feet with her hair. Such was the love and respect this family had for Jesus. The ointment alone was the equivalent of almost a year of wages for a common laborer. To the average person who knew no better, this was an extravagant waste. It also reveals that Mary, Martha, Lazarus were not poor folks. They were very blessed, and enjoyed sharing God’s goodness with Jesus, and others.
But not everyone appreciated this act of love. Judas Iscariot, who would later betray Jesus, bristled at the waste. “Why wasn’t this ointment sold, and the money given to the poor?”
Judas was the treasurer for the ministry and had been stealing from the funds. He wasn’t concerned about the poor. He was looking for a way to cover the amounts he had taken. The sale of this ointment would have provided more than enough to cover the stolen money, and provided extra as he might require.
Jesus defended Mary’s actions as noble. She gave her very best to Jesus. Believers know that any good gift is not lost, but a seed sown. Giving is worship, and God promises to Bless those that Bless others. (Proverbs 19:17, 14:21, Malachi 3:10-12, Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Philippians 4:19) This was not a waste, but was kept for just such an occasion. He also reminded Judas that the poor would always be around, but he would not remain much longer. (John 12:1-11) Note that two other Gospels record an anointing in a house in Bethany just before the Passover. Each story is very similar to the one in John, and are likely the same event. (Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:1-11)
Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.” (John 12:7-8 <MSG>)
By no means is this intended to cover every interaction between Jesus and women. The takeaway from all of this is whether you are a male or female, God loves you. And He has a perfect plan prepared for your life. Invite Jesus TODAY, to be Lord of your life. You will not regret this decision.
May God Richly Bless You!
Thanks for visiting!
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