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God’s People, part 215: Woman

Read Luke 11:27-28

“Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”  (Mark 3:35, NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

MaryMotherofGodPart 215: Woman. Here we have another strange encounter between Jesus and someone who was in the crowd. He had actually just got done casting out a demon and had been accused by someone in the crowd of being possessed by the demon Beelzebub, which is a parodic name for Satan meaning, “dung god”. In Matthew, Jesus responded to this accuasation as a “blaspheming of the Holy Spirit”; however, in this instance, he simply  rebuts it by saying that Satan can’t possibly kick out Satan and that a kingdom divided by civil war is doomed.

From there, Jesus obscurely taught about the possibility of demons returning seven-fold, making the possessed person worse off than they were when there was only one demon within them. This seems to have been a warning that, just because one has been made clean from evil spirits, doesn’t mean they are out of the water and those spirits can’t return. I can only imagine that Jesus was intent on warning people of the need to remain close to him and, by virtue of that, close to God; however, whatever Jesus meant, it is here that the anonymous woman shouted out at him, “God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you” (Luke 11:27, NLT)!

This comment is so off topic that it is hard not reading it as someone awkwardly trying to divert the topic away from demons to something more agreeable; however, whatever the person’s intent was, it was put out there for all to hear. Jesus could have answered in any number of ways that could have been in agreement with this woman; instead, he chose to counter her in a way that did not dismiss her proposition, but rose the bar on it. He said, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” (Luke 11:28, NLT)

On the one hand, he does not dismiss what this woman said. Indeed, his mother was blessed to have given birth to him, nursed him, and raised him up into the man he was. All mothers are viewed as blessed in that regard; still, we also tend to confuse divine blessings with earthly blessings. Thus, Jesus elevated the conversation beyond the things of this earth to the things of God.  “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

This is a challenge for us too. So often we view our positive human experiences as blessings. Honestly, we should see those things as blessings. It is a blessing to be a parent. It is a blessing to have a roof over our heads. It is a blessing to watch my children grow up into responsible and kind young adults. With that said, my greatest blessing is to have been saved by Jesus Christ and given the opportunity to put Christ’s teachings into practice.

The challenge is for us to put our blessings in the right order. There is no other blessing that is greater than the Word of God, which is Jesus Christ. In Christ, we learn what it means to be a part of God’s family and we learn that Christ is calling us into faithful service. There is no greater blessing than hearing the Word of God, Jesus, and putting his teachings into practice in our lives. Be challenged by this, and be moved by the Holy Spirit to put Christ’s teachings into action in your life.

There is no greater blessing than our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Lord, help me be a person who puts your teachings in action in my life. Amen.