A Christian Journey

Archive for January, 2015

Respond To The Call

“Also, while he was seated on the judgment bench, his wife sent him a message saying, Have nothing to do with that just and upright Man, for I have had a painful experience today in a dream because of Him.”   Matthew 27:19

Our woman of the Bible today is Pilate’s wife. When the Jewish leaders brought Jesus before Pilate for judgment, his wife sent him a message which is our verse for today.

You have to wonder what prompted her to do that. The verse says Pilate was seated on the judgment bench, when he got her message. Couldn’t she have sent the message sooner? He was a busy man, after all he was the governor of Judea, maybe he was just getting the message. Maybe that’s the point of this verse, he was at a critical juncture, about to decide the fate of Jesus. It was at this time that Pilate remembered the annual practice of letting one prisoner go free. He left it up to the Jewish people to decide if it would be Jesus or Barabbas. This exonerated him and placed the guilt squarely on the Jewish people. As we know they chose to free Barabbas, a well-known criminal and Pilate washed his hands of the whole ordeal.

Let’s look back though at Pilate’s wife. Her message said she had a painful experience in a dream about Jesus. We don’t know anything more about the dream, but it was powerful enough to move her to action. The rich often seek fulfillment in other things when they have all the money and possessions they want. Some gravitate to spirituality, Pilate’s wife may have been one of those. The Lord used her to help direct Pilate’s actions. God could have given the dream directly to Pilate, but we’re often moved more by a loved ones request rather than our own thoughts. Also, we must remember that Pilate was first and foremost a soldier who surely had to deaden his feelings to some extent to rise through the ranks and become governor.

Some believe that Pilate and his wife later became christian’s, though this isn’t a fact, it’s surely a possibility. The scriptures don’t tell us if she ever saw or heard Jesus before this terrible day. We can suppose that she may have heard of Him and managed to sneak out to hear Him speak. There are a few things we can say about her, she was brave and steadfast, we might even compare her to Esther in getting a message to Pilate she was doing so for such a time as this.

Finally though, let’s follow her example and be sensitive to God’s call and respond accordingly.

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What Is Your Alabastar Jar

“Truly I tell you, wherever this good news , the Gospel, is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will be told also, in memory of her.”  Matthew 26:13  Amplified

Our woman of the Bible for today is the woman with the alabaster jar. Jesus had just told His disciples that He is about to be crucified and He’s visiting Simon the leper, who was healed.

This anonymous woman appears and pours a fine perfume mixture over Jesus head as He is reclined at the table. It sounds so loving the way she did it and Jesus told His disciples that she was doing it to prepare His body for burial. The disciples only saw someone pouring out an expensive item as if it was nothing, complaining that the money could have been used to take care of the poor. Jesus told them that what she was doing was a praise-worthy thing. They would always have the poor among them, but they would not always have Him.

When you think about this in human terms that sounds a bit selfish. Like someone saying, I’m more important than the poor. Let’s unpack that a little more. Did He not care about the poor? Of course He did. Did He think He was more important? Of course He didn’t.

Maybe like the disciples we shouldn’t question motives. The disciples questioned the woman and Jesus told them what she was doing was good. Sometimes we do that, we think people should act the way WE think they should act. God always looks at the intent of the heart. The woman did what she did because she was led by God to do it. I think the same is true for Jesus, He knew where He would be going. We need to seek God’s guidance in what WE should do and the key word here is do. Help me Lord to be about doing what is pleasing to You, like the woman with the alabaster jar.

What Do You Wish

“And He asked her, What do you wish? She answered him, Give orders that these two sons of mine may sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left in Your kingdom.”  Matthew 20:21

Zebedee’s wife is the women of the Bible we look at today. Just like any other mother, she wanted the best for her sons, only she didn’t know that there was a requirement to her request. Jesus asked the sons, after hearing the mother speak, if they would be able to drink the cup that He was about to. Of course they said they could, not really knowing what He meant. Now He had just told the disciples that the chief priests and scribes were going to deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked, whipped, and crucified. Then He told these two men that they would drink the cup, but it was not up to Him to appoint seats, that was up to the Father. Of course the other ten disciples got upset that Zebedee’s sons even asked about such a thing.

As a mother I understand this woman wanting the best for her boys, it says she kneeled and worshipped Jesus before asking Him that favor. So it appears all the way around that she had a good heart. We have to be careful though that good intentions don’t lead us to something we can’t handle. Always make all your requests known to God and ask for His direction. Jesus also told the disciples in this story that He came to serve not to be served and they needed to do the same thing. Our flesh wants to lift us up and make us well-known, but the spirit just wants us to be obedient.

What Does Jesus Have For You

“Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you wish. And her daughter was cured from that moment.”  Matthew 15:28  Amplified

Today’s woman of the Bible is an unnamed Canaanite, a non-Jew, pleading with Jesus to heal her daughter possessed by a demon. Jesus had told His disciples early on that they were to go to the Jewish people only and in this story He tells them again. The woman was hounding them as they walked through her town and the disciples go to Jesus asking Him to do something. His reply is that He was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Not knowing what else to do the woman kneeled down in front of Jesus, worshiped Him and kept praying, Lord, help me! His reply to her was that it was not right to give the children’s bread to the dogs. She wisely replied, even the little pups eat the crumbs that fall from the masters table. At that Jesus answered her our verse today, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you wish.”

You would think if someone called you a dog you would be offended and not want anything to do with them. She may have heard what He said to His disciples about being sent to the house of Israel. Whatever the reason, this woman was able to look past her pride to see the miracle Worker standing in front of her.

God loves a humble heart, that’s evident in this story. Jesus came to earth to save God’s chosen people, the Jews, yet the gospels are sprinkled with examples of gentiles exhibiting faith that received miracles too.

May we have as great a faith as this woman did, to humble ourselves, get out of our comfort zone and seek what Jesus has for us.

Where Is Jesus

“But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst, before the company, and pleased and fascinated Herod.”  Matthew 14:6   Amplified

Our woman of the Bible for today is actually two women, Herodias and her daughter.  As a little back story, Herodias was the divorced wife of Herod’s brother Phillip, thus the reason John the Baptist condemned them. It was against the mosaic law for a man to take a brother’s wife while the brother was still alive. Of course none of the participants in their sin wanted to hear that, including the daughter of Herodias. As far as she was evidently concerned John the Baptist was slandering her mother. It might be surprising to some that Herod was a converted Jew and he knew the law. That may be why he didn’t want to kill John, he knew he was in sin, but wouldn’t repent. If he repented he would have left Herodias, and her pull on him was too great, as sin often is. In reading the scripture it sounds like Herod may have allowed himself into a further sin as he was pleased and fascinated by his step daughters dance. He was so pleased that he promised her in an oath whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Though Herod didn’t want to do it, he had made an oath and for the sake of pride, another sinful action, he relented.

What this story speaks to me about is self, other than John the Baptist, all the participants put themselves before God. When we do what we want before what God wants, we have made an idol of our self.

My pastor said recently that we either see Jesus on the cross and see our self on the throne of our life, or we see Jesus on the throne of our life and our self on the cross.  Where is Jesus in your life?

Touch His Garment

“For she kept saying to herself, if I only touch His garment, I will be restored to health.”  Matthew 9:21

In our study on the women of the Bible, today’s verse is another example of a nameless woman we can learn from.  She is simply known as the woman with the issue of blood. In the book of Mark, 5:25-34,  there are more details about her. It tells us that she suffered for 12 years and spent all that she had on doctors but was no better. When she heard Jesus was in town she pressed through the crowd believing that if she just touched His garment she would be healed. It was faith that healed her, and Jesus told her that in verse 22, “Jesus turned around and seeing her said, take courage, daughter! Your faith has made you well.” The verse goes on to say at once she was healed.

For me the key to her faith was our verse today, she kept saying to herself, if I only touch His garment I will be restored to health.  We participate in self talk all the time, discussing with ourselves our plans for the day, conversations we’ve had or will have. It’s so important when we do this that we tell ourselves affirming statements as well, that is faith.

Let us reach for His garment today knowing that we will be healed.

Waiting On The Lord

“And when Jesus went into Peter’s house, He saw his mother-in-law lying ill with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her; and she got up and began waiting on Him.”   Matthew 8:14-15  Amplified

Our woman of the Bible for today is Peter’s mother-in-law, another woman who is not named in the story. In fact her entire story takes up two verses, those above.  We can learn a great deal from her though. There were no women called to be apostles by Jesus, but we know they were in the background.  I believe their faith was stronger and Jesus appreciated that. In the Jewish culture of that day women couldn’t lead, which I always find interesting since the old testament tells us of a woman judge, Deborah.

Peter’s mother-in-law did what she could, she began waiting on Jesus. While we often thing of waiting as sitting and looking for something to happen, here in this story waiting is serving. That’s an important lesson for me. The Lord is at work all the time, but we may not see it, so while we wait on a request, let’s wait, on Him.