I’m going to squeeze in and walk alongside the former prostitute, a woman cured of seven demons and now in her right mind, and another woman healed of a sickness whom the doctors gave no hope.
Jesus radically changed their lives.
I wonder, “do I belong among them?” Not because I am better than these women, but because I cannot attest to a dramatic life change, not on the outside anyway.
I was brought up in a Christian home, attended church regularly, belonged to the youth group, and studied my Bible.
Oh, I’ve had times in my life when I’ve messed up big time and things I’m ashamed of, but I have not needed some kind of rehabilitation, been on the wrong side of the law, or experienced extreme poverty. I come from a well-to-do family, but I know what it’s like to be spiritually poor. And, my English accent gives me a sophistication I really haven’t got. I’m just the same as anyone else underneath; in desperate need of saving.
Jesus touched the lives of women from all social stratas. Take Joanna for instance. Her husband had a prominent job in Herod’s household. She knew what it was like to live with a good position, an excellent salary, and all the perks of the job. Joanna, Susanna and many others like them are among the group of women with wealth who followed Jesus.
“Don’t fear about fitting in, Rachel,” I tell myself. “You have a place alongside these wonderful ladies.”
I am a thirteenth disciple if you like, just like these other women.
I may have a position at the back, while twelve men press closer to Jesus listening to what he says. But, even if it feels like I’m unnoticed, Jesus knows I’m there. I feel it in my heart. He has called me: “I want YOU to follow me, Rachel. “I specifically want YOU.”
Why do I want to join him and be a disciple—to learn and go where Jesus leads?
This revolutionary man, who many of the religious people tut-tutted about, has impacted my life in extraordinary ways.
Jesus spent a long time pursuing me.
He asked me more than once, when I was a teenager standing in a large tent mission along with hundreds of other teenagers, to follow him. When the call came to go down to the front, or to raise my hand, my heart would pound loudly. I thought my friends would hear it.
But I turned down his invitation.
I thought God would force me to stop being me.
I thought God would require a change in behavior, for me to have a plain life.
I thought God would hold me back from having fun.
I thought there would be no adventure.
Jesus would want me to follow rules, and I don’t like rules. I failed to see Jesus lived in a radical way compared to his contemporaries.
So I turned my back on him.
Eventually I even walked in the other direction, away from him.
Then one day I found myself on my knees in a heap on the floor, crying desperately. Lonely, empty, more than miserable—screaming inside—thinking I couldn’t go on anymore, I cried out to Jesus.
Immediately, he was there. Greeting the prodigal home. I felt his presence. His peace flooded over me. He took me by the hand and helped me to my feet.
I had been distracted by the glitter in life, but with it gone I returned to Jesus. He had been patiently waiting for me all along.
In one way, when Jesus touches our lives our healing is instant. In other ways, it takes a long time of listening and learning to become a devoted follower.
So, here I am now, with the other women just like me, living loved and wondering where Jesus is asking me to follow him for this next adventure.
Where are you in the crowd? Are you pressed in, listening to Jesus like a thirteenth disciple? Where is he asking you to follow?
You’re Invited ….
… to join me and my #BeBoldGirls as we follow Jesus on this adventure together.