Revive Our Hearts Radio

Giving Like God Has Given to You

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth asks you to take a minute and think about God's generosity to you.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: What’s in your past? What has Jesus done for you? What has He forgiven you of? What has He released you from? As you remember back, as you think about what He’s done for you, doesn’t that make you want to be with Him?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for Monday, February 11, 2019.

Nancy’s beginning a series called “The Beauty of a Generous Heart.”

Nancy: There are lots and lots of things I love about the Lord Jesus. But one of them is His tender heart toward women. His understanding heart toward women. The way He received and welcomed women in His days here on earth.

The gospel that tell us that more than any other is the gospel of Luke. So let me ask you to turn in the book of Luke to chapter 8. We’re going to look at one glimpse of some women who knew Jesus. But as you think about Jesus connecting with women, He loved all kinds of women—the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, widows, women who were not valued, who were not cherished, who were excluded in their culture rather than being included.

And these women were drawn to Jesus. They loved Him. And He loved them. They displayed their heart for Him in a variety of significant and meaningful ways.

Now, we’re going to be looking at Luke 8, the first paragraph there, but if we were to look at Luke 7, we would see another woman, not the one we’re going to talk about today, but a woman who’s not even named. She’s just named as a woman who was a sinner in that town.

She had been forgiven and came to express her devotion to Jesus in a humble way and a lavish way. And we read how Jesus received that and other people thought she was crazy and there was something wrong with Him. “Doesn’t He know what kind of woman she is?” You see here this tender exchange between Jesus and this sinful woman.

And now we come to Luke 8, and we see not as detailed an account but something that also gives us a glimpse of the relationship that Jesus enjoyed with women and how we may enter into a similar relationship with Him.

Now, the context here is that Jesus is traveling. He’s on His second preaching tour of Galilee, the northern region of Israel. And verse one tells us of Luke 8:

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means” (vv. 1–3).

Now, sometimes on Revive Our Hearts we do long series, we take longer passages of Scripture and we spend a long time on it. I want to take just these three verses and share with you some meditations I’ve been doing on this passage.

So, let’s look at verse one of Luke 8: "He went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God."

Now, that word “proclaiming” in some of your translations is the word “preaching.” He was proclaiming or preaching. This speaks to us about the method of Jesus’ ministry. The word there means “to proclaim publicly as in a herald who would represent a king.” The king would say, “I’ve got a message I want to get out to the people. So, you have my authority. You’re the herald. You take the message. You proclaim it. You preach it. You keruso it.” That’s what the word is there.

And when that message is proclaimed, it comes with the authority of the king. So if you don’t like the herald, so what? Too bad. He represents the king.

So Jesus came preaching, proclaiming as a herald proclaiming the message from His Father who is the King of the universe. That message carries authority, and it must be obeyed. So He was proclaiming, and He was bringing the good news. That’s the word that has to do with evangelizing. This is not just the method of His ministry, but it’s the content of the preaching.

What was He doing as He was proclaiming and preaching? He was announcing the good news of the kingdom of God. The good news of the gospel. The great news that God reigns and rules and that His kingdom is coming to this fallen prodigal planet. God has provided a means by which we can be a part of His kingdom.

Jesus was proclaiming this good news, doing this evangelizing, from city to city and village to village. He knew that He Himself was the means by which people could be reconciled to God. So, He was bringing the good news, but He also was the good news of the kingdom of God.

And for those who had ears to hear, those who would humble themselves to accept it, this was amazing, wonderful, liberating news. The whole world was lost in darkness and sin, pining in the ravages of sin, and God sent the Light of the world, the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, to tell people that they could be free from the kingdom of darkness, and they could be transferred to the kingdom of light—the kingdom of God.

So this was great news to those who had ears to hear it and were willing to receive it, which some were. But this was also bad news to some. It was threatening news to those who wanted to be their own king, to those who didn’t want to submit to the reign and rule of God.

As Jesus proclaimed this news of the kingdom of God, people had two choices. They could reject the good news, or they could accept it. They could turn it down. They could refuse it, or they could receive it. There’s no in-between. There was no in-between then. There’s not in-between now.

The good news is still available. Some hear it. Some say, “Yes, I believe.” Some say, “No way! I’ll be my own god. I’ll have my own kingdom. I like it just fine.”

But Jesus took this message to people wherever He went. He didn’t, you know, have a schedule, “Okay, today I’m preaching at this time and that time. But tomorrow I’m off so I won’t preach the good news.” No, wherever Jesus went, He was the good news. And He was going under the authority of His Father proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.

And then it says that He didn’t travel alone. He was preaching. He was the one doing the preaching initially, the only one doing the preaching, but He didn’t travel alone. It says, “And the twelve were with him.”

Now, these were the twelve disciples. And notice that His discipling of these twelve didn’t take place in a classroom with a power point. He didn’t say, “Now, look up at the screen, and let me tell you points one, two, and three.” But the teaching took place in the context of real life, everyday relationships and life and ministry. He poured His life into them.

It says, “the twelve were with Him.” With Him. They watched Him live His message out. He was discipling them. Now, they needed Him. They needed His teaching, His presence, to do life together with Him. But in a sense, as a man, Jesus needed them.

Luke shows Jesus as the model human man. He was demonstrating, I think, by the fact that He took twelve with Him, that we are not lone rangers in life or in ministry. That as we serve, we need others. We need others. It is not good for man to be alone.

Now, marriage is one answer to that. But living and doing life with those that you’re imparting life to—your children, somebody that you’re mentoring or discipling—you need them. They need you. We need others as we serve. I love that Jesus desired and valued the presence of these men that He was discipling.

It says: “And the twelve were with him, and also some women.” So, in addition to the twelve disciples, some women accompanied Him in this itinerant ministry. Now, that doesn’t mean that they all were with Him all the time. They may have come in and out when Jesus was in their area. We don’t know. But we know that they were with Jesus, just like the twelve disciples.

They were with Jesus. They heard Him preach the gospel. These women witnessed His miracles. They witnessed His interaction with people like the woman in Luke 7—the “sinner woman.”

Jesus welcomed these women to be with Him, along with “the twelve.” Now, you say, “So what’s the big deal about that?” Well, in that day, this would have been something very surprising. Something unheard of in that day.

Now, Jewish rabbis often had male disciples who traveled with them. That part was not unusual. But they never would have had women accompany them. In fact, in most cases, they would not even have allowed women to sit under their teaching. That was for the men.

Women had a lowly social status. It was not politically correct for Jesus to have these women in His company. Sitting and listening to Him teach? It’s a scandal. It would have raised eyebrows. But Jesus welcomed these women to come as learners, to come as recipients of His message, to receive the good news which was meant as much for them as for the twelve men and any other men listening.

Women played an important role in the life, the heart, and the ministry of Jesus. He welcomed women as learners, as followers, as disciples. He welcomed them to be with Him. They listened to His teaching. They remembered what He taught.

You say, “How do you know that?” Well, when you come to Luke 24, remember how these same women, we’ll see that in just a few moments, went to the tomb of Jesus. This little group of women who had followed Him all through His earthly ministry, they went to the tomb expecting to have a dead body there.

But instead, they were greeted by two angels who said, “He’s not here. He has risen.” And then the angel said, “Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee . . .” He was telling, “This is what He was saying.” And the angel was saying, “Remember what He said while He was in Galilee. You were there.”

He said “that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified.” That part you saw. "And on the third day rise . . .” And then it says, “And they remembered his words.”

They listened to His words. They remembered His words. When their lives took a twist and turn that they had totally not expected, they went back to His words. And that’s what gave them courage and faith and hope when the other twelve were still back at home depressed because they thought Jesus was still dead. Here were the women remembering, “Ah, yes. He told us this was going to happen.”

Now, verse 2 goes on to say also some women followed, “. . . women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities.” That’s all it tells us about these women’s backgrounds. They had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities.

So what does that tell us about them? It tells us that these are women who had a past—a past that would have made them social rejects, a past that would have ordinarily would have disqualified them from associating with someone like Jesus who was a teacher, a rabbi.

They had a history of “evil spirits and infirmities.” We don’t know the details of that. We don’t know the specifics, but we know that these were spiritual and physical issues. Maybe some had one. Some had the other. Some had both. We don’t know. We know there were a combination of these spiritual and physical issues. We know that they had “baggage.” And chances were that their baggage had ruined their reputations.

Other people probably knew about these things. You say, “Well, you were sick. What’s the big deal?” Under Jewish culture and law, if you were “sick,” there’s a good chance you had to stay separated from the rest of society because you didn’t want to pass it on to anybody else.

So they may have had to be quarantined. Or people may have thought they were crazy as those evil spirits acted out. Maybe they had issues with depression or with unbridled anger or with a physical condition that could not be healed. Whatever was the background, they had been miraculously healed by Jesus—spiritually, physically.

So here were these women who had had whatever kind of issues for which there was no human solution or cure. But it’s interesting to me that as I read this text, they don’t seem ashamed to acknowledge the truth about their past where Jesus had found them—the backdrop of their lives.

Forever here it is and three of them are named in Scripture. These were women who had had evil spirits and infirmities. But they were no longer identified by those evil spirits and infirmities. That wasn’t how they were known any longer. Now they were known as women who had been healed by Jesus from their evil spirits and infirmities.

So their background, their backdrop of their life, maybe as much as it might have made them feel ashamed, really became the background for their personal testimony about the power, the miracle working power of Jesus. Like, “Look at me. Look where I was. Look what Jesus has done. He can do that for you.” It became part of their story.

Now, it’s not surprising that these women who’d been healed miraculously wanted to be with Jesus. There is later in this chapter a demon possessed man who felt the same way. Luke 8:38:

The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but [in this case] Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

So here the demoniac and the women had personally experienced “the good news of the kingdom of God.” And they wanted to help others experience the healing, liberating, transforming good news of the gospel.

The man who went back to his people, the women who followed Jesus wherever they were, they were a testimony to validate the authenticity of Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah. If it hadn’t been for people like the demoniac and these women, people would have heard Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah and they would have gone, “Prove it. Show us.”

But these women who had been healed of these evil spirits and infirmities, they were exhibit A. “Look what He can do. No human being can do this. We went to doctors. They couldn’t do this. Our Rabbi’s couldn’t do this. These twelve with Jesus, they couldn’t cure us. But this man . . . oh, He’s God. Yes, He is.” You see, their lives made the gospel believable because they used their testimony as part of Jesus’ ministry.

Now, the Scripture tells us who some of these women were. Verse 2 says one of them was “Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others." So, we have here this little “sisterhood” of women – multiple women – three of whom are named.

Mary Magdalene, of course Magdalene was not her last name. That tells us that she was from the town of Magdala. She was the Magdalene. She was the woman who had come from that town. She is mentioned more frequently in the Gospels than any women other than another Mary, Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus.

Now, some have mistakenly identified Mary with the sinner woman of Luke 7. And they said therefore she was an immoral woman, she was a prostitute. She is not the same woman. There is no evidence that she had lived an immoral life. She may have. We just don’t know.

But what we do know is that she had been in bondage to the power of Satan. There had been seven demons in her. We don’t know what they had done, what kind of acting out they had done, how she had lived. But we know that demons can cause havoc in people’s lives. And we know that there can be chronic physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual disorders that are caused by.

Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood. It’s against principalities and powers. And these powers of Satan had kept this woman in their grip until Jesus came into her life. And she had been the recipient of the grace and the power and the love of Christ. When Jesus came in, those demons had to flee. They had to leave her. They had to let her go. They had her in their clutches, and they had to let her go.

We don’t know what it looked like. We don’t know how it happened. We don’t know what the conversation was like. But we know she had been under their power and now she’s under a new power, new ownership. And she’s so, so grateful.

And then we have Joanna. Her name means “the Lord gives graciously.” I like that. Her husband was the manager of Herod’s estates. So he was probably a high-ranking official. She and her husband were probably well-off, probably pretty well-known, prominent. But here she is hanging out, not with her affluent, socially respected friends, but with fishermen and unsophisticated Galileans.

Her life had also been changed by Christ. We have no idea how. We don’t know what the issues were. But she was one of these women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. Her life had been changed by Christ, and therefore she had more in common with this Mary of Magdala than she did with her wealthy friends.

You see, in Christ, when the gospel comes into our lives, there are no socio-economic barriers. They meet at the cross. They meet at Christ. And they both had been healed. They have a similar testimony, and they come together.

So there’s Mary, there’s Joanna, and then there is sweet Susanna. And we don’t know anything else about her. This is the only time she is mentioned in the Scripture. But we know that she was one of these women who had been healed of diseases, infirmities, and evil spirits. She was with this band of women who were with Jesus.

And then it says, “and many others.” We don’t know who they are except we do know who two of them were because these same women stayed with Jesus throughout His earthly life and ministry. And then they followed Him to the cross.

Matthew 27 says:

There were also many women there, [this is at the crucifixion] looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph [who was not named in the Luke passage we’ve been looking at] and [then] the mother of the sons of Zebedee [Salome]” (vv. 55–56).

So here are two women who were among those many other women—Mary, the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. We know her name is Salome because of the parallel passage in Mark 15:40 names her. And that passage goes on to say, “When he was in Galilee, these women followed him and [they] ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.”

So here’s a band of devoted, loyal, faithful followers of Jesus, friends of Jesus. And keep in mind that by the time that they got to the cross, most of those twelve disciples had fled. One of them had betrayed Jesus. He was dead. One of them had denied Jesus. And all the disciples, by and large, had run off. But here were the women still at the cross being faithful to Jesus.

These same women were the first witnesses of the resurrection. Luke 23 and 24 tells us that. These women honored and blessed Christ with their presence and with their friendship, and God honored these women.

  • What’s your story?
  • What’s in your past?
  • What has Jesus done for you?
  • What has He forgiven you of?
  • What has He released you from?
  • What has He healed you of?
  • What difference has He made in your life?
  • Where would you be today if it weren’t for Jesus, if He hadn’t come into your life? What would your life be like?

Remember. Remember. And then worship.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit” (Ps. 103:3–4).

As you remember back, as you think about what He’s done for you, doesn’t that make you want to be with Him? Like these women were—to follow Him. And what could be more appropriate, more precious than to be in company with Jesus as the good news of His kingdom is proclaimed? And then to get to be a part of that ministry.

And we’ll look at more of that, how these women did that, how we can do that tomorrow right here on Revive Our Hearts.

Thank you, Lord, for Your heart and Your care and Your concern for women, for us. Thank You that You have healed us. You’ve redeemed us. You’ve forgiven us. And we want to be with You. We want to be steady, faithful, loyal, steadfast friends and followers of our Savior, in whose name we pray, amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth unpacking a meaningful verse in Luke 8. The examples of the women described there encourage all of us to develop the beauty of a generous heart.

Revive Our Hearts is a grateful recipient of this kind of generosity. Countless men and women over the years have supported this ministry to help women everywhere come to know our loving, generous God. Their obedience to the Lord has helped make it possible for you to hear Revive Our Hearts today.

If you appreciate the teaching you hear on Revive Our Hearts, would you consider supporting the ministry? Of course, we encourage you first to give generously to your local church. But if the Lord is leading you to give beyond that, just go to ReviveOurHearts.com to make a donation. Today, when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount, we’ll express our gratitude by sending you a pamphlet Nancy wrote called, “Giving God’s Way: Biblical Guidelines for Giving.” Be sure to ask for it when you make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call us with your gift at 1–800–569–5959.

Tomorrow, we’ll take another look at the women who traveled with Jesus and met practical needs. Do you realize that by allowing these women to meet His needs, Jesus was showing humility? We’ll talk about why, tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to experience the beauty of a generous heart. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.

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