“Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.” Luke 8:1-3 NLT
Recently, I came down with some sort of virus. I was sick for a week and a half – draining, coughing, aching, and having no energy. During that time, I was confined to the couch…mostly because I had no energy to do anything else. Normally, if I am sitting on the couch, I watch a lot of TV. It passes the time. This time, I felt really convicted to not watch the junk that I am normally drawn to. So instead, I decided to re-watch The Chosen. If you don’t know what The Chosen is, it’s a series of episodes on the life of Christ. You can download the app and watch it for free. I love it.
As I watched, I noticed how Jesus included the women in his ministry. He took them with him on trips. He included them in teachings and the experiences. They were frequently there, serving and joining in. As I thought about this, two thoughts popped into my mind.
First, Jesus was always surrounded by people. He went to weddings, dinners, crowds followed him everywhere. He was always surrounded by both men and women. During those times, custom would dictate that the women would hang with the women and the men with the men. How ingenious! If the women weren’t part of the group, who would minister to and disciple the other women in these gatherings? Jesus needed the women in his group to continue to share the gospel to places that He or the men in his group couldn’t normally go. And, some of these women had tremendous influence. Not only did they minister during these functions, then they went home and ministered in their homes and communities.
Next, including women in his teaching was complete out of the box thinking. It was unheard of in Jesus’ day for women to be disciples. Women were frequently not educated unless it was in their home. Jesus encouraged them to join in and learn of God. He included them on purpose. He stepped out of the cultural box to bring the change that needed to happen.
Jesus said “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.” Mark 2:22 NLT
This was new wine — everyone is a disciple, no matter what their social standing, race, or gender. Trying to fit that into the customs of the day would have definitely caused cracks in the old wineskins. He didn’t try to force this new wine into the current system. He did what He knew needed to be done so that His Father’s Kingdom could flourish. He created new wineskins.
How many times do I look at what I can see with my eyes and make decisions on “what is normal?” How many times do I try to do what Jesus is telling me to do (new wine) by cramming it into the old way of doing it? It’s not going to work. When I try to take the “new” that Jesus is giving me and put it in the “old” that I am comfortable with, I dilute the new and water down the Message. I water down Jesus.
Oh Jesus, I know this is my tendency. My humanness wants to feel safe and not take risks. Please help me to step into the “new” that you call me to, no matter what the outcome. Please help us all. Pour out your Holy Spirit on us so we follow your lead. We love you, Amen
–Elaine Kapetanakis (thought4theday.com)