Welcome the Outsider

Of the four Gospel writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—Luke devotes the most real estate to women. And he does so as a larger pattern of highlighting Jesus’s ministry to “outsiders.”  Luke’s original audience would have seen themselves as insiders, and he pressed them to be like Jesus and open their sphere of community. Here’s a sampling:

  • Widow bereft of her son. A widow lost her only son. Few were more vulnerable than widows. Especially those who had no male relatives. But Jesus raised him back to life and restored him to his mother (Luke 7:11–17). 
  • Widow who gave her mite. Jesus commended the actions of a widow who put all she had in the offering (21:1–4). In terms of percentage of income, she far out-gave all the insiders. 
  • Persistent widow. Jesus illustrated how people should pray by describing how an evil judge finally gave in to a persistent widow (18:1–8). This judge gave in—not to the person with the most money in town or the most power, but the most persistent. We are to go and do likewise in our prayer closets with our just judge.
  • Woman with the “issue of blood” (8:43–48). Luke records the only incident in which Jesus ever called someone “daughter.” This woman had a bleeding disorder that left her socially cut off (8:43–48)…. 
  • Daughter of Jairus. Then there was this dying twelve-year-old girl. Luke sandwiched the story about the woman with the bleeding disorder between a heartbreaking story about the daughter of Jairus, a Jewish official. And because Jesus delayed due to the interruption, the daughter died. But the delay was not an interruption at all. The delay allowed more glory to come to God, as Jesus restored the suffering woman and then brought the dead daughter back to life. 

Do you ever relegate people to outsider status? God cares for them. Ever feel like you’re the unseen one? God cares for you too.   

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

These observations and more appear in the forthcoming work Latte with Luke in the Coffee Cup Bible Study series. Due out the end of March. Watch this blog to enter a drawing for a free copy. 

Sandra Glahn, who holds a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and a PhD in The Humanities—Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas/Dallas, is a professor at DTS. This creator of the Coffee Cup Bible Series (AMG) based on the NET Bible is the author or coauthor of more than twenty books. She's the wife of one husband, mother of one daughter, and owner of two cats. Chocolate and travel make her smile. You can follow her on Twitter @sandraglahn ; on FB /Aspire2 ; and find her at her web site: aspire2.com.

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