Bible Readings and Devotion for September 17, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for September 17, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
We most often hear about the 12 Disciples of Jesus. They were the core group of followers and they were the primary ones given the Great Commission to go into all the world with the Good News of Jesus. They are called the 12 Apostles as well, for they were sent out with the mission of Jesus for the world. There was also a special connection between the 12 Disciples and the 12 Tribes of Israel, as well as the 12 Sons of Jacob/Israel.
The Holy Spirit also stirred the Gospel writers to make note of numerous, prominent women who were early followers of Jesus. Our readings today from Luke 8 highlights several of these. Luke notes that several had been cured of illness or demon possession. They responded to the work of God by becoming faithful followers of Jesus.
Another aspect of their faithful response was to help in a significant way. We read in Luke 8:3b, about these women, “who provided for them out of their resources.” They financed the work of Jesus and the Apostles.
It was common in Middle Eastern culture to understate the involvement of women in accounts of history and events. Sometimes they were only mentioned in the context of shame brought on their family. That Luke makes note of these women doing good things is also a way that God and the Church were breaking down barriers to the involvement of women in the full life of the church.
One of the most famous women of the New Testament is noted in our reading. We hear of Mary Magdalene. Her most prominent role in Church history is that she was the first witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We read about this in John 20:11-18. She was given the role to tell the 11 remaining Apostles that Jesus was truly alive, for she had seen him and talked with him. For this calling of Jesus for her, she has been given the title, “Apostle to the Apostles.”
In the church today we strive to continue the spirit of what God was doing among the first followers. In the Spirit of what is shown in the ministry of Jesus in God’s Holy Word, we invite and welcome the ministry of all men and women, boys and girls, in the life of the church. In this we also give thanks for the ministry of these early followers of Jesus, including Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many others.
The church has chosen July 22 each year to give thanks for the ministry of Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles.
Almighty God, your Son first entrusted the apostle Mary Magdalene with the joyful news of his resurrection. Following the example of her witness, may we proclaim Christ as our living Lord and one day see him in glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen