Blessing is available for all who respond to God’s message with repentance and obedience

Genuine Admiration

Women Impacted by Jesus – part 12

Did you get up early to watch the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle? I didn’t see the event live, but I watched video highlights with unexpected delight. Afterwards, I was struck by comments of genuine admiration regarding the wedding gown, the music, the sermon, and so much more. In this age of meanness that is often expressed on social media, it was refreshing to read kind and sincere words. One individual singled out for admiration was Doria Ragland, the mother of now Duchess of Sussex, Meghan. Ms. Ragland was lauded for her resilience and dignity. One young woman in Chicago even wrote a poem which was shared on her Facebook page the day after the wedding. The last time I checked, her post had 6,500 comments and 28,900 shares. That’s the influence of genuine admiration!

In Luke 11:27-28, we find an interesting exchange. As Jesus is teaching, a woman in the crowd calls out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” Matthew Henry describes this woman as “affectionate, honest, well-meaning.” She was impressed with Jesus’ excellent teaching, and was saying, in essence, “Your mother certainly must be proud of you.” Have you ever received a similar comment when you accomplished something exemplary? I have.

Jesus does not deny the woman’s statement. It was true. Mary was blessed by God, a fact she herself declared in her “Magnificat” recorded in Luke 1:46-55. Instead, Jesus takes the interruption as an opportunity for instruction. He responds, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

I don’t know how the woman received Jesus’ response, but I hear Him inviting her to a similar blessing. Essentially, Jesus is saying, “You can be blessed, too. Hear God’s word and obey it. That’s what my mother did. You can do the same.” The inclusive nature of the gospel is profound. “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39) For you. For all. Hear God’s word and obey it. This is your pathway to blessing.

What about you? Do you have genuine admiration for a woman of faith? Praise God! Affirm and bless her. But be careful not to give celebrity status to an individual. Instead, focus on the gospel message demonstrated by the person and work of Christ. Blessing is available for all who respond to God’s message with repentance and obedience. Jesus said so himself.

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Jen Vogel

Jen served as national director for Alliance Women from 2015-2023; she serves in a variety of ministry capacities, including on the President's Cabinet for The Alliance. She enjoys reading, travel, and completing the New York Times crossword puzzle daily. Jen and her husband, Doug, attend Dover Avenue Alliance Church in Orange City, Iowa.

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