We're so glad you've joined us today!
When we met in person, we shared our joys and concerns together. Take some time to think on the past week. What were you thankful for? What brought you joy? What is worrying you? If you would like, you can share any of these things in the comments below, and we can all pray for them. When you are ready, you can pray the prayer below (from here), and include your own prayers as well.
O Lord, our Rock and Redeemer, guide our thoughts and our words in our discussions today. Let our hearts be filled with your praise. Let us never forget the good things you do for us. You have forgiven our sins. You have rescued us from death. You have crowned us with love and tender mercies. Renew our strength and refresh our souls. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
This week's lesson is on Luke 2:36-38; Acts 2:16-21; and Acts 21:8-9.
The Call of Women
God is not interested in perfection. God is interested in willingness. We might not preach to massive crowds or build a mega church but through his Spirit, God recruits people for amazing assignments nonetheless. This lesson touches on a few examples This final unit looks at examples of faithful women in the first century Church These women, named or not, played an important role in the ministry of Jesus that continued in the Church.
Anna was a prophet Someone chosen by God to speak for him. In the Old Testament you had four women designated as prophetesses: Miriam, Deborah, Huldah and the unnamed wife of Isaiah. Anna was very old and was widowed after only seven years of marriage. She never left the Temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Joseph and Mary went to the Temple with 8 days old Jesus. Anna came up to them and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. The Savior, The Messiah they have been waiting for was here.
Acts 2 continues the story of Jesus’ followers after his resurrection and ascension. A group of about 120 remained in Jerusalem, including the Apostles (minus Judas) and a group of women included Mary, Jesus’ mother.
On Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover, the Holy Spirit descended on this group in spectacular fashion. This dramatic event drew diverse crowd as an audience for Peter. It was an ideal setting to explain the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus-the good news of the gospel.
Peter quotes from the prophet Joel, “In the last days, God will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy”.
We have been in those last days over 2,000 years now. The inclusion of Gentiles was anticipated by the phase all people. Joel included both genders and the spectrum of age groups as conduits for God’s communication.
Peter spoke as if the prophecy was fulfilled, implying that some of the female followers of Jesus already have received this gift.
Peter said, “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”.
More than two decades after the Day of Pentecost, Paul, Luke and companions stayed at the house of Phillip, the Evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. Roman Catholic writers regards them as the first nuns in the Christian Church.
An aged widow. A group of women who had followed Jesus and remained in Jerusalem after his ascension. A band of four unmarried sisters. The New Testament offers these as examples of first century women who were endowed with the gift of prophecy.
The focus of this lesson is on using one’s giftedness in answering God’s call to ministry. As one observer put it, “When the Church is working properly every woman as well as every man will be using at least one spiritual gift in ministry to others in the body of Christ”.
Father, we thank you for the prophetic voices you have given to your people. We thank you for the examples of Anna, the Pentecost women, and the daughters of Phillip as faithful people who served you. May we be as faithful! We pray in the name of the faithful Jesus, in whom we are one. Amen
Thought to Remember
God gifts people for ministry according to his will and plans, not ours.
This week's benediction comes from the Geneva Bible.
Next week's lesson is on John 4:25-42.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.