Women in the proclamation.
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of all or hearts be acceptable in thy sight, Our Lord, our King,
our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.
[Please be seated]
Today we celebrate the third Sunday after Trinity, and the gospel reading is Luke 7 verse 36 to Luke 8 verse 3
The gospels, especially the gospel of Luke are a treasure-trove of information on how women were involved in proclaiming the good news alongside the men in Jesus' entourage.
In the first part of today's reading we see a woman' attitude being used by Jesus to illustrate the love and honour that those who appreciate what Jesus has done for them might show.
As the scene opens we see Jesus sitting at table as a guest in the house of a Pharisee named Simon.
A woman comes in uninvited and proceeds to use her tears to wash Jesus' feet and anoints them with an expensive perfume, and wipes his feet with her hair.
We are told that she was known as one who lived a sinful life, but again we are not told what the sins might have been. Jesus, however understands her motives and emotions. She is pouring out her love for God with a passion, the Pharisee can hardly guess at. Jesus tenderly accept her generosity, and assures her of God's forgiveness.
The writer, Luke emphasised, that we are all sinners, but not everyone, reacts the same when we are forgiven by Jesus.
Some think that they have nothing much for which to thank Jesus. They were so good anyway that perhaps if anything Jesus should be grateful to have them! On the contrary, Jesus commends all converts who appreciate that they have been saved from a fate worse than death and who therefore love God with their whole heart. All who believe in Jesus sacrifice and confess to Him can be saved from all sin.
In the second part of the gospel reading in Luke, Chapter 8 we learn that women played a prominent part in supporting the work of proclaiming the gospel. Women have always played a major role in outreach and Luke highlights three women in this passage.
Notice, however, that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna were only three of the women, and presumably men also, who supported Jesus' ministry out of their means! ….these disciples of Jesus were bringing the good news of the kingdom of God.!, and these women gave of their funds because of their love for Jesus and because they wanted to see the Church progress and grow. This could be part of the explanation as to why Jesus' ministry needed a treasurer [Judas] and why it expanded so quickly. People came even from Syria and across the Jordan to be healed and Jesus healed them all.
Jesus was the head evangelist in those days and He is above us as the head of the Church and head evangelist today. He commissioned all of us to spread the gospel and His work still needs support to expand. And, we are the people of our age whom Jesus has helped and saved and who can support His work of outreach and evangelism, according to our desire.
Just as in Jesus' day we have the opportunity, because of our love for Jesus and gratitude towards Him, to support God's work, as we are able, according to the blessings God has put in our lives.
Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna are specifically mentioned in the bible as contributing to the success of Jesus' ministry by supporting His embryo Church out of their means.
It still amazes me that some churches don't let women have leadership roles in the church. In direct contradiction to the action of Jesus- they refuse to let women preach or speak from the lectern/ pulpit- or take other leadership roles in the church. So like the Pharisees they fail to give Jesus a warm welcome and they despise the true devotion of those who anoint Jesus' feet.
We contribute when we show our love and honour for Jesus in our speech or in our conduct or in how we carry out the duties we have in the church; We also contribute when we give out of our means without expecting to get something back, in order to bless those in the Church or those we help in the Church's outreach ministries.
In various ways, women today, and men also, as those women did in Jesus' day, are part of the continuing band of Saints who have played their part in furthering the work of God.
My brothers and sisters, as we leave Church today let us take with us the pertinent points you received in today's sermon / gospel for to aid us in our walk with Christ,:-
1. This level of a person's devotion to God corresponds to the level of forgiveness.
2. Women travelled with Jesus and aided His ministry.
3. Women and men can be fully devoted to Jesus, because they are truly thankful, and are not to be despised.
4. Sin must be admitted to receive forgiveness.
5. Jesus grants forgiveness to all who truly repent.
6. Our faith saves us and Jesus forgives because He loves us.
7. Christ has the power to forgive because He paid the price for sin. He does not justify the sin; He justifies the sinner!
And so. fulfil the great commission of preaching the good news of the Kingdom and making disciples of all men and women!