How do I receive Jesus?
by Don Johnson
How do I receive Jesus? Sometimes, I receive Jesus like a woman! What? Sputter, gasp! Jesus is obviously a man in the gospel accounts. How could I be so blatantly wrong? I can sometimes receive Jesus as a woman because Jesus himself teaches me this. Consider the following verses from Luke's gospel.
TNIV Luke 15:8-10 [Jesus speaking:] "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
This is the middle parable of three parables by Jesus describing what the Kingdom of God is like. The first is often called the parable of the lost sheep. This one, the parable of the lost coin and the last, is sometimes called the parable of the lost son or the prodigal son. These parables are connected not only by all being about the Kingdom of God and not only by being stated adjacent in Luke's gospel, but also by a descending order going from 1 lost sheep of 100, to 1 lost coin of 10, to 1 lost son of 2.
One of the many insights of these parables is that Jesus is referring to God (and therefore also to himself) successively as a good shepherd, as a diligent women, and as a loving father. We are very familiar with the first and last images, but perhaps not so familiar with the middle one of a diligent woman. Notice that Jesus did not need to use the example of the diligent woman, he could have just as easily used an example of a diligent man, but he deliberately chose to map himself to a faithful women rejoicing when she finds a lost coin. Will you join me in claiming for yourself ALL the ways to receive Jesus that are found in the Bible?
I thank Kenneth Bailey for teaching me the insights in this meditation.