Women in the Ministry of Jesus

Scripture: Galatians 3:26-28, Luke 1:39-55, Romans 10:17
Date: 05/09/2015 
Lesson: 6
"Luke's Gospel is sometimes called "the Gospel of Women" because, more than any other one, it makes special mention of how caring Jesus was to the needs of women and also of how involved women were in His ministry."
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Hello friends, this is Pastor Doug Batchelor and we want to welcome you to the Sabbath School Study Hour. And we're very glad today for any who might be here worshiping and studying with us; we're looking forward to getting into today's lesson. It's going to be, I think, a timely and an interesting one. We've been going through the book of Luke and today's lesson, in particular, is talking about a number of women in the life of Jesus. Women, in particular, in the ministry of Jesus.

And we have a free offer that we'd like to make available to anyone - all you have to do is call and ask for it - and it's called God's role for women in ministry - God's role for women in ministry. The number is 866-788-3966 and when you call, it's number - ask for #769. By the way, you can also just go to the Amazing Facts website and that's amazingfacts.org and I think you can download and read the free offer for today - for free. If you send for it, after you read it, please share it with somebody else. As we often do, we're going to begin our Sabbath school time by singing together, so I'd like to invite debbie and jolyne to come out and we're going to sing a few songs.

Thank you Pastor Doug. Those of you who are at home, across the country, and around the world, and those of you here, let's pull out our hymnals and we're going to start singing a song that ties in with our lesson study today on the women in the ministry of Jesus, rise up o church of God - you'll find it on #615 - and the second verse, "let women all rise up" - #615 - all four stanzas. Rise up, o men of God! His kingdom tarries long bring in the day of brotherhood and end the night of wrong. Let women all rise up! Have done with lesser things. Give heart and mind and soul and strength to serve the King of Kings.

Rise up, courageous youth! The church for you doth wait, her strength unequal to her task; rise up, and make her great! Lift high the cross of Christ! Tread where his feet have trod. Disciples of The Son of man, rise up, o church of God! We know many of you love to sing your favorite songs with us and that has not changed. And those of you who did send in your songs prior to September , I still have that list of 20,000-plus song requests and we will be singing those on an upcoming program. But you can send in your song requests and we will sing those and add them to the list. Our opening song is #633 - when we all get to heaven - and we're going to do the first and last stanzas.

Join with us - #633. Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, sing his mercy and his grace; in the mansions bright and blessed he'll prepare for us a place. When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory! Onward to the prize before us! Soon his beauty we'll behold; soon the pearly gates will open; we shall tread the streets of gold. When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory! And thank you. Let's begin our study with a word of prayer.

Father in Heaven, we are so thankful for the things that we're learning from this Gospel of Luke and, once again, today, Lord, we just pray for the Holy Spirit to be present. Guide us in our study and we ask that truths will be made clear that we can put into practice in our lives. That, as a result, we're always transformed to be more like Jesus and to share him more effectively. And so, please, bless in our study today. We thank you and pray this in Jesus' Name, amen.

Thank you very much, debbie, jolyne, handerson, hafdis - appreciate that. Well, friends, we have a very interesting lesson today that's dealing with the subject of women in the - the life and the ministry of Jesus and we have a memory verse. The memory verse is based on Galatians chapter 3, verses 26 through 28. I think there was an abbreviated version of that in your lesson, but if it's okay with you, I want to read the whole thing - it's not that much. Galatians 6 - I'm sorry, Galatians 3:26-28 and here it's from the new king James version, if you'd like to say that with me.

You ready? "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." That's a beautiful verse - very important verse - and an often misunderstood verse. This verse is really very encouraging because it's a verse that is telling us that through Christ, everybody has free and equal access to Jesus. God makes no distinction.

It doesn't matter whether - what your status is, it doesn't matter whether you're a slave or free, it doesn't matter whether you're a male or female, it doesn't matter what your race might be, whether you're a jew or a Greek - everybody can be saved because of Jesus. Now, what it doesn't mean - and sometimes it's applied this way, I think, inaccurately - it's not saying that God has removed all distinctions that are named there. Let me just illustrate this for a second. Is there a difference between a jew and a Greek? And when you say 'Greek' in the - this context, it's talking about gentile. So much of the gentile world spoke Greek and so the jews classified everybody as either jew or gentile.

Sometimes, for gentile, they use the word 'Greek.' It's the same thing. But notice what Paul says: Romans 1:16, "for I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the jew first and also for the Greek." Now you can read Romans 2:8-10, "but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness - indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the jew first and also to the Greek." And then Paul says, 'is there any advantage in being a jew? Much in every way.' It's not that a jew is more valuable than a Greek, it's in the sequence of how they receive the Gospel. The jews were called and raised up to be the protectors of the oracles of truth and they were to introduce the Messiah to the world. Alright, let's look at another part. Once Jesus comes, was Jesus encouraging slaves to revolt? No, you can read in 1 Timothy 6:1, "let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and his doctrine may not be blasphemed.

" Let me give you one more thing. In the time of Jesus, as in some cultures today, women were deemed of little worth. Some Jewish men in that day thanked God - now, notice their prayer - they thanked God they were not created a slave, a gentile, or a woman. So can you understand why Paul is saying there's neither male nor female, slave or bond, jew or gentile, because it was the exact opposite of what was in that Jewish prayer. And so he wasn't saying there aren't biblical differences between the two and that's - that verse has been abused.

By the way, if you're going to understand a verse in the Bible, how do you interpret the Bible? With the Bible. Who says the most in the new testament about the differences between the roles of men and women? What Bible writer? Paul, by far. So to put those words in Paul's mouth, you need to say, 'okay, wait, what else does he say about distinctions between the roles of men and women?' And, you know, some people say, 'well, you know, the things that Paul says other places in the Bible about - for instance, Ephesians 5:23 and 24 - "for the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church;" - who wrote that? You all with me? Paul. Paul. Okay, "and he is the Savior of the body.

" - And look at all the other verses that Paul makes statements about God designed differences between men and women that go back to Genesis. Some read Galatians chapter 3, verse 28 and they say, 'well, this is the Paul speaking after he was enlightened and liberated from the old cultural bondage. And what they're saying is, 'the other statements of Paul are to be disregarded as not scriptural.' That's a pretty dangerous road to go down. You start picking and choosing which verses of Paul you think were the enlightened Paul and the old traditional Paul. But these are some of the theological arguments that are being made today.

Anyway, alright. You know, it's hard to study this lesson without bringing up waht is obviously an important issue in the church these days. There's a quote from the book evangelism that I think is important. "the Lord has a work for women as well as for men. They may take their places in this work at this crisis and he will work through them.

They can do in families, a work that men cannot do, that reaches the inner life. They can come close to the hearts of those who men cannot reach. Their labor is needed. Now, the Bible is clear that God has called men and women to ministry. Every believer should be involved in ministry.

Men and women are given - one of the gifts is pastoral - that has nothing to do with the office of being a pastor, there is a pastoral gift. Did Jacob have daughters? I'm sorry, did laban have daughters that took care of sheep? Did Moses - no, jethro - Moses married one of them - did jethro have daughters that took care of sheep? That is a pastoral work. There is a gift. Some people have pastoral hearts. They shepherd others.

They know how to care. Men and women have those gifts. That's completely different from the offices of the church. You see what I'm saying? God needs more men and women involved in ministry, in evangelism, in preaching and teaching and mission work and Bible work. I just came back - you've heard me say it - from the Philippines, where we've also got an afcoe program there except we call it pafcoe - it's the Philippines Amazing Facts center of evangelism and we had a great crop of students there - probably 60 percent were women - training for ministry.

And so, I - this has nothing to do with just men being involved in ministry. Jesus called women into ministry. There's a difference. Of course, did he ever ask a woman to be an apostle? You see, there's distinctions there. So, while we're talking about the women in the ministry of Jesus, we want to just understand the distinctions that Jesus makes.

Alright, let's go to the first section there, women who welcomed Jesus' first advent. We're going to talk about three - we've got mary, elizabeth, and anna in the temple. Let's look at Luke 1:39 through 55, "now mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste," - this is after the angel told her that she was going to have a child - "to a city of judah, and entered the house of zacharias and greeted elizabeth." - With whom she was, evidently, related - "and it happened, when elizabeth heard the greeting of mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke with a loud voice and said, 'blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.

" - Okay, when you think of elizabeth, was she a prophetess? She was at this moment. Was this a prophecy? Was this a spirit-filled utterance? Her husband, when his tongue is loosed, after he names John and he utters that beautiful prayer, was he prophesying? He was at that time. Have you ever thought of mary, the mother of Jesus, as a prophetess? But was she? Notice what happens next: "and mary said, 'my soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For he has regarded" - now I'm trying to remember what this is called - this is called the magnificat - this statement is prayer - it is often repeated and highlighted, especially in the catholic faith, but it's a - it's an inspired statement - "'my soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For he has regarded the lowly state of his maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.'" Now that whole statement there - by the way, that's a prophecy. She has a gift of prophecy at that moment, anyway. So I don't know if you've ever thought of mary as a prophetess. Something else is - read that prayer of mary and then go to 1 Samuel and read the prayer of hannah when God answers her prayer about having a son - when she was barren. You're going to see many similarities in those two prayers.

Mary, actually, is thinking - or at least referencing the prayer of hannah when she was told by the Lord she was going to have a promised son. So here you have two - you know, of course, the life of Jesus in the book of Luke - it begins in the context of these spirit-filled women, as well as The Father of John the baptist. Now when they go to the temple - we know, we talked already in a former lesson, about when Simon, he takes up the baby Jesus in his arms and says, 'Lord, now let your servant depart in peace because I've seen your salvation.' But then there's a woman who comes in - her name is anna. Luke chapter 2, verse 36, "now there was one, anna, a prophetess," - no question about her - "the daughter of phanuel, of the tribe of asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about 84 years.

" - Now, depending on from the time she got married, she was married seven years, and then her husband died and she went 84 years from that point - she could have been well over a hundred - "who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day." - I want to pause. Any of you remember reading about jephthah's daughter? You remember jephthah made a vow that whatever came through the gates after he came back victorious from fighting - I think it was the amorites - that he would offer as a burnt offering to the Lord and, lo and behold, his daughter came out and people are horrified by the idea that God somehow endorsed this judge of Israel in offering his daughter as a burnt offering. It doesn't say he did that. He said that whatever came through his gates he planned on offering as a burnt offering. He was assuming it would be the family goat or ox or cow or whatever it was - sheep - and it was his daughter.

Well, they didn't offer human sacrifice, but you could offer your children. The way you did that was not a burnt offering, you gave them to the Lord the way that hannah did Samuel and here you could see anna consecrated herself to the Lord and she stayed in the temple. There were women that consecrated themselves to the service of God in the sanctuary. That's why, with jephthah's daughter, she asked her father, 'let me go for 30 days and bewail my virginity.' She would never marry. And that's why it says, 'the daughters of Israel went to the house of the Lord once a year, because they would see her there, the same way that hannah came once a year and she'd bring a little coat for Samuel.

You see the parallel? And so no, he did not offer her as a burnt offering but she, like anna, served God - she served in the sanctuary. She comes in at that very instant when Jesus is being dedicated. She gives thanks to the Lord - she's been shown by the Holy Spirit this is the Messiah - and she spoke to all of those who looked for redemption in Israel. She was telling everybody 'the Savior has come - he's alive now.' And that it was - it was happening then. Alright, let's go to the next section: women and Jesus' healing ministry.

Alright, so let's start with the widow of nain. If you turn to Luke 7 - we'll start with verse 11 - Luke 7:11 - that's sort of poetic - and it says, "now it happened, the day after, that he went into a city called nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and a large crowd. And when he came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow." - There's no one else in the family - he is her last support - "and a large crowd from the city was with her." - Now you have the picture - first of all, the word 'nain' means 'beauty' or 'pleasantness.' It's on the northwest slope of what they called little hermon - little mount hermon - about four miles from mount tabor, 25 miles south of capernaum. Here you've got - two parades collide. Jesus and many believers are walking one way towards the city and a funeral procession is walking the other way out of the city.

They usually had their funerals near sunset in the afternoon. They would bear the deceased on their shoulders in a, you know, primitive coffin, but the face would be exposed. Last thing they did is they said their farewells, they put the lid on when the person was lowered in the ground, but they saved that until the very end. Today, sometimes, you'll go to a funeral where they have a viewing before they have the burial and this is how they did it in that culture. And then they'd have their rite and they'd bury the person.

So he's already been placed in the coffin. He's a young man, according to the language there, he's not a child. And he's - her whole life is bound up in this son. It's her - her name is going to go on through this son. He's a reminder of The Father.

He, young and strong, would help with support - they often did, you know, hard sustenance work and not having your son, it could be very hard for a widow. They didn't have social security or medicaid or any of those government programs back then. If you didn't have family to take care of you, it was really tough. You can read a number of things that Luke says about widows. And when the two processions collide, one is in mourning and one is rejoicing.

One has a son of death and one has a son of life. And so, these are very polar opposite parades that collide during this time. And when Jesus gets there, both processions stop. Jesus saw her. He had compassion on her.

He read, in an instant, what was going on, and he said, "'do not weep.' Then he came and" - you know how often, before Jesus worked a miracle, he said, 'don't cry?' Does the Lord want us to cry? When Jesus rose from the dead and he saw the disciples on the road to emmaus, you know what he said to them? 'What manner of communication is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?' Does God want Christians to advertise the Gospel? What does the word 'Gospel' mean? Good news. Do you promote that you believe the Gospel by looking sad? 'Hey, I want to tell you some really good news. Come. Listen.' But, you know, let's face it, don't we all know that some people share the good news as though it's not really good? It's very sad news. It's good news.

He said, 'don't weep.' the Lord, Jesus, came to wipe away all our tears, ultimately, right? "'Do not weep.' Then he came and he touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still." - They were moving and they stopped - "and he said, 'young man, I say to you, arise.' So he who was dead sat up and began to speak." - And you wonder what he said - probably something like, 'what's going on? What am I doing here? Who are all these people?' But you see, sometimes you wake up in a dream and you don't know how you got there. He - I mean, just to prove he's alive, he began to speak. And Jesus, "he presented him to his mother. Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, 'a great prophet has risen up among us'; and, 'God has visited his people.'" - So here's one healing that he does, in particular - a miracle - resurrection - for this woman. We actually talked about the - the resurrection of the boy of nain, a few weeks ago.

Now you go to Luke chapter 8, there's another healing. Now in this passage, this is two women - this is really a story in Luke that talks about two different women that are healed in one story. It begins in Luke 8 and it goes from verse 41 to 56. Let's look at this together. It says, "and behold, there came a man named jairus," - and the word - jairus - jarius or jairus - it means 'jehovah will enlighten.

' He was very sad and jehovah enlightened him that day - "a man named jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at Jesus' feet and begged him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter" - you notice, the other story was about an only son - "he had an only daughter about twelve years of age," - make note of that. She could have been any age - I guess, in order to be a daughter, a young daughter, she had to be, you know, maybe 15 or younger, but the number 12 is significant in the Bible - and she was dying. But as he went," - Jesus said, 'I'll go with you. I'll heal her' - "but as he went, the multitudes thronged him.

" - Just on every side they were stopping them and they wanted to talk to him and plead about something and maybe get some healing, but he was just being absolutely swarmed. The twelve apostles were serving with their spiritual gift of bodyguard at that time, because sometimes when Jesus traveled in crowds like this, they literally had to protect them from the mobs - "but as he went, the multitudes thronged him. Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years" - is it coincidence that you've got two women in the story and one is twelve years old and the other one has been bleeding for twelve years, which means the same time that one girl was born, the other woman began having a medical problem. Both problems begin at the same time and both of the problems are resolved at the same time. So not only are there two twelve-year periods of time mentioned here, they overlap.

Isn't that interesting? I'll tell you what I think that means in a moment - "now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who has spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any," - now who wrote that? What did Luke do for a living? Do you know, it's interesting, when you read this in Mark, it says she spent everything on physicians and didn't get better but she got worse. Luke leaves that out. He doesn't say that. But he does say she spent everything on physicians and could not be healed. 'There was a difficult case' is how Luke worded it.

Mark said, 'she only got worse after the doctor saw her. She spent all of her livelihood. She's got nothing left. You know there's another widow in the story of Luke, who gives all of her livelihood - it's at the end of our study. Just notice that.

"And could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of his garment." And then a number of jews, what color did they have on the border of their garment? God had instructed them to put a hem or a border of blue as a sign of loyalty to God - a symbol of the law of God - on the hem. Do you all remember what I'm talking about? She "touched the border of his garment and immediately her flow of blood stopped." Now, you know, I don't want to take this too far, but I think it's important to remember, according to the biblical law, if a woman had that particular health problem, it rendered her unclean. She was separated from the sanctuary and its services and if it was chronic like that, that meant there was a chronic separation, for years, from God. And she'd done everything she could humanly do but didn't get better but only got worse, but she touches Jesus. She didn't talk to Jesus.

You can understand she maybe thought that this is delicate or awkward and did not want to go into detail. She'd already spent everything she had. She was at the very end. How often do we see that God works miracles when you just sort of reach the end of your human means? When there's no other way to go and you're up against the red sea then he works a miracle. She touched his border believing and Jesus then makes this announcement, "who touched me?" Now you can understand why Peter was beginning to worry about the strain of it all on what was happening to the Lord because he thought maybe he had sunstroke or something.

Here he's being thronged by people on every side and he says, 'who touched me?' It's not like he was saying, 'please don't anyone touch me.' He was saying, 'someone, in particular, touched me.' And it was a different kind of touch. Now that also tells me that you could - Jesus was surrounded by people that were jostling and bumping him on every side. They weren't getting anything out of it because it wasn't a touch of faith. She was reaching out with a specific purpose and she experienced a miracle. You know, a lot of people pray every day and they never experience any change because they're not really touching the Lord in their prayer.

They're not really reaching out in faith and desperation. They're sort of doing it as a religious obligation. All these people were around Jesus - they were bumping and jostling him and thronging him. They - it doesn't record that they felt a miracle, but this woman was a different kind of touch. Some prayers are different.

"'Who touched me?' ...Peter and those with him" - meaning the other apostles - they said, "master, the multitudes throng and press you, and you say, 'who touched me?'" I mean, Jesus stops - "somebody touched me, for I perceived power going out of me.'" - I feel someone made a withdrawal from my bank of power. "Now when the woman saw that she was not hidden," - I mean, it probably happened in short order - she touches Jesus and immediately she feels just vitality surging through her frame and she starts to slink away happy, but then Jesus stops and when he stops the crowd stops because they're following him. Everyone starts to bump into each other and Jesus says, 'who touched me?' And she hears it and she thinks, 'oh no, I've been caught. I reached out and touched without permission.' "Now when the woman saw she was not hidden," - Jesus probably turned and looked at her - "she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared to him in the presence of all the people the reason she had touched him and how she was healed immediately. And he said to her, 'daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well.

Go in peace." Now how often, when Jesus healed people, did Jesus say, 'my faith has made you well?' How many times did Jesus heal a person and faith was connected? Just about every time, unless they were dead. You can't say they had faith and that's why they were raised, but everybody that Jesus healed, he often said faith was connected. You know, Jesus never ever said - not once - 'my faith made you whole.' The Bible says God has dealt to all men a measure of faith. Everybody has faith. You've got to just direct your faith to him.

He says, 'you've got faith' - and sometimes people came to Jesus and said, 'Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief. I don't have enough faith.' And he still worked a miracle for them. And so he said to her, 'your faith has made you well.' Sometimes we hear about faith healers and so people go to this dubious evangelist and they make a donation and his faith heals them. Is that how the Bible teaches it happened? Jesus never said the evangelist's faith did it. Even Paul, one time, when he healed a man - it says, 'seeing that he had faith to be healed.

' Paul detected this man had faith to be healed. The person being healed had faith. That's why sometimes Jesus would go to, like, the pool of bethesda and he didn't heal everyone there but he healed one man who had the faith to be healed. And so, without faith, it's impossible to please God. Jesus said to her, "'your faith has made you well.

Go in peace.' While he was still speaking," - now we go to the other girl in the story. Remember, he's on his way to raise the daughter of jairus and this whole thing happens en route - it comes up - "while he was still speaking," - he's talking to the lady saying, 'go in peace. Your faith has made you well.' Someone comes and they whisper in the ear of the ruler of the synagogue and they say, "'your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the teacher.'" - One Gospel says, 'don't trouble Jesus, when he heard it, he was concerned - 'oh no, jairus is going to lose faith' - he said, "do not be afraid; only" - only what? - "Believe" - you see how important faith is? Don't stop believing - "when he came into the house" - he finally got to the house of jairus; you're going to hear me go back and forth between jarius and jairus - I can't help it - "when he came into the house, he permitted no one to go in except Peter, James, and John, and The Father and mother of the girl. Now all wept and mourned" - they'd already hired mourners so it took them awhile to get there, but he said - you know, probably, she was near death when jairus went to find Jesus and mourners would be hired and get paid for playing their instruments, for wailing - they actually paid people to cry and wail.

They were probably lingering around the house just waiting for the girl to die, like vultures, trying to get a contract so they could mourn. So by the time he got there, they were already hard at it. And they used to make these doleful sounds and they'd play these, you know, minor notes on their flutes and they'd cry and it was a lot of weeping and wailing. And Jesus - it says "they all wept and mourned for her; but he said, 'do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.' And they ridiculed him," - now these are probably some of the contract mourners - they're saying 'don't tell us that because we'll be out of a job.' You understand what's happening? "They ridiculed him, knowing that she was dead. But he put them all outside," - why did he put them outside? But he kept The Father, mother, Peter, James, and John.

Because they didn't believe. 'Do not weep; she is sleeping.' Puts them out, puts his hand on the girl - does he touch her? He takes her "by the hand and called, saying, 'little girl, arise.' Then her spirit returned" - I could just see the picture - her eyes flicker and the parents see movement and they just gasp and she opens her eyes and she sits up - she not only opened her eyes, she gets up immediately - "and he commanded that she be given something to eat." - She was probably weak from the fever that took her life - "and her parents were astonished, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened." He knew that it was - these resurrections gave Jesus so much visibility it made it difficult for him to minister. So, take a step back. Let's look at the panorama of these two women. Two women - twelve years.

One young - one older. One with a continual flow of blood. They both touch Jesus and are healed that day. In the Bible you have two principle churches. You've - I'm talking about saved churches - you've got the old testament church before Christ.

They were given the sacrificial system. There was a continual flow of blood that went from the sanctuary, but the blood of goats and bulls and lambs cannot wash away our sin. Matter of fact, they didn't get better, they got worse. By the time Christ came, they had gotten so wrapped up in the forms of religion that they were worshiping the religion instead of God. And then you've got a young girl.

A girl wasn't considered a woman until she was twelve years of age. Now I don't know where it changed. You know, I'm half Jewish and my friends - boys have bar mitzvahs, girls have bat mitzvahs - they do it at thirteen. Somewhere it changed. It used to be twelve.

I don't know where in history it changed, but she's at the transition point of becoming a woman and he raises her to life. How old was Jesus when he went to the temple? Twelve. It's a very interesting number. What does the number twelve represent? The church. You've got a woman in Revelation 12 - not that the chapter means anything - twelve stars above her head - a symbol of leadership.

You've got the twelve patriarchs in the old testament. There were twelve princes of Israel. There were twelve Judges. People argue for twelve Judges - it depends on if you count Samuel as a judge - most do. You've got twelve apostles in the new testament.

In the new Jerusalem, God's people are going to be in a city with twelve gates, twelve foundations - it has a tree with twelve - twelve thousand furlongs, twelve kinds of fruit, twelve times a year - I mean, all these things in the context of the church, you see the number twelve. It's not an accident to me that you've got these two women. It's almost like you've got elizabeth and mary. In the old testament you've got naomi and Ruth - a younger and an older - and here you've got this 12-year-old girl and you've got this woman - they both touched Jesus that day and are raised. He raises the girl - or healed - he raises the girl that day and he says 'give her something to eat.

' What did Jesus do after he rose from the dead? He asked the disciples, 'do you have anything to eat?' And then he fed them the bread of life. When he meets them at the sea, 'you got anything to eat?' Meets them in the upper room, 'you got anything to eat?' And he fed them with the bread of life. Everywhere he met them after the resurrection, he fed them. He opened to them the Scriptures. I think this is - it's a true story, but I think the story is kind of analogous of the old and the new testament church and how, in Christ - in the cross - the old testament church met its fulfillment when it touched Jesus.

The new testament church came to life when it touched Jesus. They both touched Jesus that day and they came to life. Well, that was more than you paid for, but I love that story and it didn't cost any more so I shared it with you. Alright, we're going to go to the next woman: women of gratitude and faith. And if you look in - now we're going to have to turn in the Bible - these are the stories of - and I might have to rush through this.

You've got Luke chapter 7 - a woman who washes Jesus' feet and I believe this woman is mary and I think I've got good arguments for that. I worked on a study on this I put into a book called at Jesus' feet. And you can read in Luke 7, verse 36, "then one of the pharisees asked him to eat with him. And he went to the pharisee's house, and sat down to eat." And then it says, "and behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at his feet behind him weeping; and she began to wash his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed his feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil." - Another Gospel says after she anointed his feet and washed them, she also poured the remainder of the oil on his head. What does the word 'Christ' mean? What does 'Messiah' mean? Messiah is Hebrew for anointed, Christ is 'Christos' - that's where we get the word 'Christen' - when you Christen a ship you anoint it.

Christ means 'anointed.' Here you've got mary anointing Jesus and Jesus said, 'she did it for my burial.' She is also something of a type of the church here and she's worshiping him. She's at his feet kissing his feet. You know, there's two people in the Bible that are recorded kissing Jesus. You know who they were? Judas kissed his face and betrayed him, mary kissed his feet - two opposite ends - and served him. One wanted the highest place, and one was willing to take the lowest place.

And the one who was willing to take the lowest place, mary, kissed and washed his feet - who gets honored at the resurrection? Not Judas - Judas hangs himself, mary has the good news to tell the world. I mean, it's very interesting the opposites. So and at this dinner, who do you think begins to complain that mary has spent all this money on this gift? Judas, because it rebuked the selfishness in his heart. And Simon is saying in himself - verse 39 - "now when the pharisee who had invited him" - and he's called 'Simon the leper' because he probably had leprosy and Jesus healed him - he has this dinner to honor the Lord. It's probably the same dinner where you read about where mary washed the feet of Jesus in bethany.

I think it's the same story he says, "'this man, if he were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.'" And at the very time he's thinking that Jesus is realizing what Simon is thinking, proving he's a prophet. And Jesus then gives him a parable - I'll paraphrase: 'Simon, I've got a question. There was a man that had two debtors. One owed five hundred dollars, and the other one owed ten. They couldn't pay so he forgave him both.

Which do you think will love him more? And he says, 'the one who was forgiven more.' He said, 'you judge rightly. I came into your house, you didn't kiss me. This woman is kissing my feet. You didn't wash my feet; she's washing my feet with her tears. Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loves much.

For to whom he has forgiven much, loves much.' That's a very important Gospel principle. He who is forgiven much, loves much. Now what was Jesus saying? This is very important. Was Jesus saying that because mary was a big sinner and she had been forgiven so many sins - I mean, you know, the Bible says that 'don't let her touch you, she's a sinner.' Mary may have been that woman caught in a adultery in John chapter 8 - it doesn't name her - but in another place it calls this woman 'a woman' - it uses the same terminology that you find in John 8. Is God saying in order to love the Lord a lot you must be forgiven much, so you've got to go out and just commit all these terrible immoral sins, then repent, and when you're forgiven much then you'll really want to love and serve the Lord? I met someone once, they said, 'Pastor Doug, you know, I read these stories about great testimonies - these people are out in the world and they've committed all these terrible crimes and they've just gone out there and lived these awful, immoral lives and then they're converted and then they're so on fire for the Lord and here I've been born and raised in the church all my life and I've never done anything like that and I feel like I just don't love the Lord enough and maybe if I get out there in the world and I just really, you know, get down there in the gutter and then God forgives me, then I'll really love and appreciate the Lord.

I say, 'oh, God forbid!' Jesus is not saying that in order to love much you must go out there in the world and become a real prodigal and then repent and then you'll really appreciate the Gospel. He's saying you need to appreciate how big a sinner you already are. It doesn't matter if you've been in the church all your life, all sin puts Jesus on the cross. Whatever your sins happen to be, they are adequate to put Jesus on the cross. You don't have to go out there and do something extraordinary and try and be a really good sinner to love the Lord more.

'A good sinner' - that's an oxymoron isn't it? He's saying, 'those who are aware of how much they have been forgiven, love much.' The problem with the scribes and the pharisees, like Simon, they had a self-righteousness. They were not aware of how much they had been forgiven. They weren't aware of how much pride offends God. And so there you have Jesus defending this woman who, again, is mary. Alright, go to Luke chapter 10.

You've got another example of these two women that you find. And you can read in verse 38, "now it happened as they went that he entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His Word." - Now, I believe that mary of bethany and mary magdalene are the same mary. It's very common in the new testament for one person to be called by a couple of different names. Simon is called 'Peter' - he's even called 'cephas.

' Paul is called Saul. John and James are called boanerges - I mean, they had nicknames for - some of the Kings are king azaiah and ahaziah and in different places they use different words. For her to be mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus and be mary magdalene is very easy. Martha and Lazarus had a home in bethany, not too far from Jerusalem, near the mount of olives. They had a sister who, and if you read in Desire of Ages, by the way, Ellen white supports this - that they had a sister who fell into a very bad lifestyle.

She had actually been mistreated by an uncle named Simon. Do you know what we just read about that feast at Simon's house? Desire of Ages says that Simon was the one who had led mary down the wrong road. I'll let you figure out on your own what that means or how to interpret that. She then, went up to a place called 'magdala.' Magdala was a seacoast city on that inland sea called 'Galilee' where the roman soldiers would r&r - it was like las vegas. So when, in Jesus' time, you said 'mary magdalene,' what you're saying is 'mary of las vegas.

' Now, if I said, 'that's mary of las vegas.' What do you think today? You know what I mean? It's kind of got a scandalous air to it. When you say 'mary magdalene' - you don't hear anyone else called 'magdalene' in the Bible. She had a bad reputation. And she sits at Jesus' feet and hears His Word because she loved the Lord because he'd forgiven her and it tells us that he cast seven devils out of her. Luke also mentions that - 'mary magdalene, out of whom Jesus cast seven devils.

' I think that's in Luke chapter 8. And so Martha is getting ready for this dinner - it could have been the same dinner. These Gospel stories are not all in chronological order. And so Martha is rip-snorting around the kitchen and the yard because she's baking and cooking and getting ready for this dinner and mary is just lollygagging at Jesus' feet, gazing wistfully into his face as he teaches, and Martha was distracted with much serving. Now how many women are in this story? Two.

What does a woman represent? Sometimes a woman can symbolize a church. You've got two of them that ostensibly love the Lord. One is showing her love by continual service. Matter of fact, she's serving so much she's distracted by it. She's not listening to Jesus, but she's serving Jesus.

You ever met anyone like that? I'm so thankful for the Marthas in the church - I'm really, really glad they're there, but the Marthas need to be careful that they get so busy doing their service that they forget about listening to Jesus and this is - this is the point that Jesus is making here. Martha was distracted - I can just see it - she goes back and forth and every time she goes by she makes a little extra noise so her sister will see her - (clears throat) - 'come on, you know, don't you see I'm busy. You're just sitting there listening to him talk.' She maybe even eyes Jesus a little bit. She's thinking, 'Lord, come on, tell her - she's supposed to help me. After all, she's a woman.

This is woman's work. Tell her to come help me. Let the men sit there at your feet.' It might have been the picture of what was going on. Finally she can't stand it anymore. She says, 'I've got to articulate what my concern is.

' She said - she approached him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?' - 'I'm doing all this preparation' - 'therefore, tell her to help me.' You know, whenever people tried to get Jesus engaged in their family feuds, he didn't fall for it. Remember another man said, 'Lord, my brother won't share the inheritance with me. Will you talk to him?' He says, 'man, who made me a judge and a ruler over you?' - 'That's not why I'm here - not going to do it.' And here she says, 'will you talk to mary? She's just always left me to do everything.' Which of the two do Martha. Martha. Usually the older ones are more responsible, right? "And Jesus.

..said to her, 'Martha, Martha,'" - why do you think he said it twice? Not too often does he say something twice. He does, at one point, say, 'Abraham, Abraham.' He says, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and mary has chosen that good part," - if you're going to worry about something, what's the most important thing to worry about? Or to be preoccupied with? Your relationship with the Lord. Mary was preoccupied with her relationship with the Lord. Jesus does not chastise Martha for service.

He said, 'you're just troubled about many things.' It wasn't necessary for her to be preoccupied and troubled about it. "Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." And so here Jesus, again, you have another story of his relationship in ministry with women. Then you've got the parable - oh, I'm running out of time here - I've got two widows left. Luke 18 - persistent in prayer and sacrificial in giving. Luke 18 is the parable of the persistent widow.

Let me just share it with you very quickly. I think most of you know there was a widow who went to an unrighteous judge that didn't fear God or man and she said, 'avenge me of my adversary.' The word 'adversary' can be translated 'satan.' The word 'satan' means 'adversary.' And he ignored her because she's a poor widow. She can't bribe him. He doesn't fear God or man. He probably gets bribed for his verdicts.

But she keeps coming. Every day, when they line up for judgment, she's in line and she comes and she makes the same speech and he's ignoring her and he dismisses her and he just stalls her. Maybe he's hoping for a bribe. She doesn't offer a bribe but she keeps coming and she keeps coming and she keeps coming. And finally, this unjust ruler - unjust judge - he says, 'look, I don't fear God or man.

' He admits it to himself - 'but I'm going to give her justice because she is going to wear me out.' That's really the literal translation of what Jesus is saying. He's saying, 'when you pray, if an unjust judge will actually finally give justice to a persistent applicant, how much more will a just and loving Heavenly Father answer those who cry unto him day and night? That's the point Christ is making. Be persistent. If persistence works with selfish humans, then how much more will persistence work with a righteous God? Amen? Alright, next and last, the widow's mites. Luke 21, verse 1, "and he looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury.

" Does Jesus talk about the people who blow the trumpet before them, in Matthew? And they make a big spectacle when they make a donation - they want everyone to know and they name a cornerstone in the building after them and they go through all this fanfare and - and that's what he was used to seeing. "And he saw also a certain poor widow" - trying to slink up to the offering box. She didn't have any - she didn't have very much to give and she didn't want any undue attention. She wasn't at all ostentatious about it. She slipped in and she dropped in two mites, which are the two smallest coins that you could give in that economy.

I mean, you couldn't really buy hardly anything with them. I don't even think you could buy a stick of gum. Of course, they didn't have gum back then so I'm sure you couldn't buy a stick of gum with two mites. I mean, I don't know what you'd buy with it. And she drops that in and the amazing thing is Jesus said, 'that's everything she had.

' Have you noticed that sometimes the poor - it's easier for the poor to give away all of almost nothing than the rich to give away a little bit of something. They've proven statistically that poor people often give a higher percentage of their income and more frequently than the rich. I don't know why but they seem to be more empathetic, maybe, with people in similar plights. "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood" - there's that phrase again - "that she had." She put in everything that she had. Now, how much did that poor widow put in the treasury? Billions and billions and trillions of dollars.

You know why? Because Jesus recorded in the Bible her gift and her sacrificial gift has inspired how many other gifts? Think about the absolute river - Ellen white talks about this - the river of influence - she thought, 'nobody will notice what I'm doing today.' And she slipped up - she does love the Lord - and said, 'Lord, I don't have much, but I want to give something and it's all I have.' So she gave everything and she thought nobody would notice. Jesus called attention to her. She didn't want that. How much did she end up giving? There is no widow in the world that gave more than she gave, because her gift inspired a literal river of money and resources and sacrifice that's come into the coffers of God by that sacrifice. I don't know, have you ever thought that you're giving not only the tangible gift that itself makes a difference, but by your influence, you're giving more too? That's what that widow did.

Well, we've looked, today, at a few highlights of some of the women that are involved in the ministry of Jesus. Again, we have a free book we'd like to make available if you would like to order it. All you have to do is call -788-3966. We'll send it to you and if you want to read it, you can read it online. That number, once again, is 866-study-more.

Ask for book #796 - or offer #796 - or you can read it for free online. God bless you, friends, and we'll study together, God willing, next week. (Creaking door throughout recorded history, tales of ghosts and spirits can be found in folklore in nearly every country and culture. The Egyptians built pyramids to help guide the Spirits of their leaders. Rome sanctioned holidays to honor and appease the Spirits of their dead.

Even the Bible tells of a king that used a witch to contact the Spirit of a deceased prophet. Today, ancient folklore of spirits and apparitions have gone from mere superstitions to mainstream entertainment and reality. Scientific organizations investigate stories of hauntings and sightings trying to prove, once and for all, the existence of ghosts. Even with all the new-found technology and centuries of stories all over the world, there is still no clear-cut answer. So how do we know what's true? Why do these stories persist? Does it even matter? We invite you to look inside and find out for yourself.

Visit ghosttruth.com.

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