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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#985. Men and women in true fellowship (7/2/24)

Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily Devotional. This week, as we continue in our Luke series, we will be using Luke 8:1-3 as inspiration. If you find these devotionals helpful, do pass them on to others. 

‘After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.’ (Luke 8:1-3)

Lesson: We need true fellowship if we are to be like Christ and be active in His mission. 


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I wonder how you might define fellowship? I guess we might see at as having food or a drink together. Perhaps we might go further and add something about encouraging each other in our faith. However, added to eating and encouraging one another, fellowship - the Greek word Koinonia - includes being in partnership toward a shared purpose and that takes the idea of fellowship to a new level. 

In today’s reading, we see fellowship in action, as men and women are together, sharing their lives while sharing in Jesus’ mission. Luke is careful to include the detail that both men and women were with Jesus as His disciples. This may not strike us as particularly unusual, however, it was radical at that time. In the world of Jesus’ day, it was unheard of to have a male teacher with female disciples. As an aside, one of the evidences of the authenticity of the New Testament, as opposed to being a piece of religious propaganda, is the way it includes culturally unpopular things such as the prominent role of women. We read that men and women were ‘with Him’; a mixture of single men and women it would seem. These were women, as the woman we considered last week, who came to know Jesus love, grace, forgiveness and healing and then joined His entourage. This group were learning from Him so as to become like Him and share His mission together. 


The point I want us to see today is that, like this group, We need true fellowship if we are to be like Christ and be active in His mission. Men and women from all backgrounds are meant to serve together. Paul makes this radical idea in this way:

‘So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,  for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ (Galatians 3:26-28) 

Paul writes this to counter the disrespect and even hostility that can too often exist between people of a different social status, ethnic groups and between men and women. In Christ, we are all His children and are to be in true fellowship that accepts one another and works together for the spreading of the message of the Kingdom. 

Yesterday, we saw how fellowship (Koinonia) - or partnership - was exemplified in a team of fishermen working together for a catch such as were Peter James and John. These men, we are told, in Luke 5:10, were ‘Partners’ (Koinonia) in a fishing business and were now to carry the same purposeful unity over into how they serve Jesus. However, this fellowship of men and women learning from Jesus and then serving together had not always been their attitude as we read of the incident with the Samaritan women:

‘Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”’ (John 2:27) 

In the ESV, it’s translated, ‘they marvelled that He was talking with a woman’! They, we can infer, were shocked by two things: she is a Samaritan and, the thing that’s mentioned, she is a woman! We know that Rabbis taught against speaking to women in public if it could be avoided (See The Mishnah Abot 1:5), and this worldly tradition needed to be replaced with a Kingdom mindset. These disciples will need to have their attitudes sanctified to the values of the Kingdom in which people from all backgrounds work together. 


Response

We need true fellowship if we are to be like Christ and be active in His mission. Will we be a community that partners together in His mission? Will we value one another no matter our worldly status and gender? Will we do what we can to make peace when tensions arise? Will we be gracious to our brothers and sisters who may not give us the respect we deserve and will we help them to grow through kindness rather than through hatred? Will you share this vision and work for this vision of a church made up of all sorts of people, who are with Jesus, learning from Him and seeking to take the message of the Kingdom into our communities? 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals.


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

This week, as we continue in our Luke series, we will be using Luke 8:1-3 as inspiration. 

Please read Luke :8:1-3

  1. What were you particularly struck by from Sunday’s message from Luke 8:1-3? 

  2. What would you say is the central teaching of this narrative? 

  3. We are told that ‘Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.’ How would you describe the Kingdom of God and what is the good news about it? (If you need help, you can find a in this devotional here: https://www.communitychurchputney.com/post/983-the-good-news-of-the-kingdom-of-god-5-2-24 )

  4. Why do you think that Luke specifically mentions that women were included among in His disciples? 

  5. What does this teach about giving to the ongoing work of Jesus through His church? (Please ensure that you’ve shared the notice, from church news, about our aim to increase our giving.) 

  6. SIV - What does this text teach about our mission in life? (See also Luke 4:43-44, 5:10-11).

  7. SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  8. Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that’s come out of our time in God’s Word. 

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