Women impacted by Jesus – Part 3.
Today we look at Anna, a prophetess, a widow, a worshiper. Anna encountered the child Jesus in the temple courts in Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph were present, as was Simeon, a righteous and devout man. Coming up to them, Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38)
The trajectory of her life was transformed from worshiping and waiting to once again prophesying and proclaiming. Perhaps she stayed in the temple courts. Her advanced age most likely imposed limits on her mobility. Regardless, a new chapter of her life opened up after her encounter with the child Jesus.
Anna spoke about the child Jesus. We have been called to do the same.
Speak about Jesus. I’m afraid we often over complicate this commission.
In the process of cleaning out my in-laws’ home, looking through items that represent decades of walking with Jesus, I came across a book originally published in 1962, You Can Witness with Confidence by Rosalind Rinker. I was curious. Would the author’s message be outdated? No longer relevant? American culture has changed dramatically since 1962. I was intrigued. As I read through the book, I was refreshed and challenged with the simplicity and sincerity of the message. Allow me to share a few highlights:
- Too many of us are witnesses to our own religious experience. Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” (Acts 1:8 KJV)
- Remember Jesus’ words, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32 KJV)
- We need to know that we are witnesses to Christ, not to theology.
- To be a witness to Jesus Christ! The whole subject became intensely interesting. I had to know more about Him. My Bible became a new book for me. It became a source book for the life and teachings of Jesus, instead of a place to secure proof-texts for what I believed.
- You must take long, long looks at Jesus. You must read carefully what He did. You must understand the hopelessness of each person devoid of Christ. You must also read carefully and thoughtfully what Jesus said about Himself.
- “Come to Me,” Jesus says. “Learn of Me, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
I find myself challenged by the example of Anna. One brief encounter with the child Jesus led to a new-found priority to proclaim. How can I put this into practice? The same book cited above offered this suggestion: Choosing your words carefully, write a paragraph on this one idea: Why Jesus Christ is the center of my Faith. Find a friend who will listen to you while you try (without using the paper) to tell her why you believe in the Person of Jesus Christ.
May we all be impacted by a fresh encounter with Jesus through His Word. May we all find rest for our souls. May we all pray for and be ready for a conversation with someone today, where we can speak of Jesus with love, gentleness and respect.
LOVE–What is that again?
“I was hungry and you fed me – I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room – I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit – I was in prison and you came to me.” Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, “Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?” Then the King will say, “I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.” Matthew 25:35-40 MSG
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 MSG
My husband and I had been looking forward to this trip overseas for quite some time. We were eager to visit our son’s family as well as the people and country they love. This was my second trip and I couldn’t wait to return. We flew into one country where we surprised our three and six year old grandsons at the little airport. After a couple of days, we crossed the border into their beloved non-access country where they live and teach. One of the highlights of my trip was stopping to visit a family with whom our son and his wife had intentionally begun a relationship a few months prior.
The father noticed that our son had come to visit, immediately stopped what he was doing, waved, and with the biggest smile, rushed to see him. As his children were returning home from school, he called out to his wife who was working in the fields to join us. His frail-looking mom arrived shortly thereafter, herding their huge water buffalo back to the farm. We were invited to sit on tiny stools outside of their little home. With roosters milling about, we visited and shared with them khao niao (sticky rice), our grandsons’ favorite food. Their gracious hospitality was second to none, offering everything they had while smiling from ear to ear.
I was captivated watching the interaction between our son’s family and theirs, not understanding one word they were saying, yet grasping the friendship growing between them. When our son, speaking a language I could not understand, pointed to my husband and me, I wondered what was being said because they were all laughing. I simply smiled, making gestures that indicated they all had better behave. I could only assume I had not offended them…and hope that my son or daughter-in-law would get me out of trouble if I had. OOEY!
Two Scripture passages swirled around in my head – one being Matthew 25:31-46 and the other Isaiah 52:7. I asked God, “Am I a sheep or a goat? Am I reaching out to the least of these for You? Am I using my feet to walk on mountains to declare Your good news?” That is love, you know. That is God’s heart and the heart He desires in each of us.
We stayed quite a while visiting. Before leaving, the man asked when our son would return. He was assured they would stop the next opportunity of traveling through. In the meantime, our older grandson had run out to the distant fields at full speed to say goodbye to the wife who had returned to work, to give her a big ol’ hug. Thought: The harvest is ready and what a large one it is! (Matthew 9:35-38) God’s heart continues to break as He looks at the lost who are like sheep, confused and aimless, without a shepherd. Harvest hands are needed!
Two questions I ask myself; you may want to reflect upon them as well:
1) Am I willing to be intentional and run out into the fields to those who are lost?
2) Am I willing to walk these feet “in the mountains” to share the good news?
These questions are not just in relation to the harvest overseas. In Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), He said to go and make disciples of ALL nations. That “all” includes one’s own backyard.
This is February, the month of “Love,” but every day may we love as Christ has loved us (John 13:34)… working in the harvest fields. And that begins by building relationships.
Article Submitted by: Cathy Jacks, Treasurer, GCW National Executive Team