With a lot of satisfaction I held a few days ago my newest devotional book in my hands. I had handed in my manuscript already in June, which means that I had already been able to take some distance from it. But it remains an exciting moment when you first see a new book that you have written. I believe it brings the total of my books to 26.
The book does not pretend to be a theological masterpiece. But then, it was not intended as such. In was written with the hope that many people will find something of value in it. If that proves to be the case (just as it was with my previous devotional) I may find the inspiration and energy to get going on a new devotional!
This blog is posted on December 12. I thought it might be fun to provide a sample of the new book in the form of the meditation of December 13, 2016. It so happens that it touches on a subject that has recently kindled an enormous amount of commotion in the Adventist Church.
Here is meditation, nr. 346.
Susanna (lotus flower; lily)
Who and when? One of Jesus’ female disciples.
More information? Read: Luke 8:2, 3.
Many people who want to exclude women from certain offices in the church, often point out that the twelve disciples whom Jesus selected—the later twelve apostles—were all men. That is true, and that fits with the culture of that time. However, it is very remarkable to see how Jesus was often surrounded by women, and how often he chose to be in close contact with them—in spite of the objections and the criticism of his contemporaries. It is even more remarkable that the first witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection from the tomb were women!
Luke 8 mentions a number of women. Several of them had been healed by Jesus from physical of mental illnesses. As a result they had become grateful and loyal followers of him. Among them were women who possessed considerable means, as, for instance, Joanna. She was the wife of the ‘the steward’ of king Herod. Another of these women mentioned by name was Susanna. Together with ‘many others’ they cared out of their own pockets for Jesus. They did not accompany Jesus out of mere curiosity or from a lust for sensation. They were actively involved in Jesus’ mission and were willing to bring considerable sacrifices to do so.
The picture that New Testament paints for us is that Jesus called men and women, and was supported by men and women! There was a lot of discrimination of women in Jesus’ world, but for the Lord men and women were always fully equal.
Prayer for today
Lord, you are full of love and justice. You care for men and women, and both women and men are fully equal in your sight. I want to thank you for that.
The book is published by the Adventist Church in the Netherlands. It is available through its webshop at www.adventist.nl. The introductory price is 11 euros.