Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Luke 1:39-55; 2:36-38; 7:11-17, 36-50; Romans 10:17; Luke 8:1-3; 18:1-8
Is it a coincidence that Mother’s Day falls on the weekend after we’ve studied, “Women in the Ministry of Jesus?” Perhaps not.
Although Mother’s Day is celebrated differently in various parts of the world, interestingly enough, a woman who never married and never had children, brought this holiday to America.
When Anna Jarvis’ mother died in 1905, she turned her grief into action. She began a campaign to create a national holiday for children to “honor the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”1
Not everyone liked the idea. Senator Henry Moore Teller said that a national Mother’s Day was “absolutely absurd,” and “trifling.” But Anna began an extensive letter writing campaign to newspapers and politicians, and President Woodrow Wilson paid attention. In 1914, he signed a proclamation that the second Sunday in May would become Mother’s Day.2
Anna Jarvis’ idea of how to celebrate Mother’s Day was uncomplicated and rather simple. She envisioned moms wearing white carnations as a badge of honor, and for adult children to spend time visiting their moms or accompanying them to church. But once it became a national holiday, it also became commercialized. Card companies, florists, and candy shops began to “cash in.” Now Anna began a different campaign—encouraging people to stop supporting businesses that were profiting from what had originated as a holiday to express love and appreciation.
Although Senator Henry Moore Teller may not have recognized the value of women, this week’s lesson makes it clear that women were an active and important part of Jesus' ministry throughout book of Luke. Our lesson states that, “Luke’s Gospel is sometimes called ‘the Gospel of Women’ because, more than any other one, it makes special mention of how caring Jesus was to the needs of women and also of how involved women were in His ministry."3
When we read how Jesus cared for and ministered to woman in Luke, we catch a glimpse of how much He valued them. He had compassion on the widow of Nain—a mother who had lost her only son. Luke reports that Jesus’ “heart went out to her” and that He told her, “’Don’t cry’” (Luke 7:13, NIV). And then He brought her son back to life!
Luke also tells the beautiful story of how a woman ministered to Jesus. Although the Pharisees tried to condemn her, Jesus saw her servant heart. The Pharisees had done nothing to welcome Jesus, and yet this woman anointed His feet. Jesus told them, “‘Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown’” (Luke 7:47, NIV).
These stories are just two of many that show that even though the culture of Christ's day deemed women of little worth, Jesus saw them as having great value. Created by Him in His image—and celebrated by Him more than once a year on a holiday.
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