A Personal History
Read Luke 8:1-21
The other day while painting our family room, I discovered some misplaced keepsakes up high on a shelf. Family heirlooms. Dated antiques. And while they may be just dust-collectors to some, to me, they’re priceless treasures. Treasures like the tiny shoe. It’s old, it’s faded, and it’s much too stiff to comfortably fit a toddler's foot. So, why hang onto it? While you may be tempted to toss it, I never will. This baby shoe was worn by my Father over 80 years ago, and now has a permanent home with me.
And then there’s the purse. While it still works – the clasp still opens and closes – it, too, is more than a little dusty and its leather is no longer supple. Ready for the junk yard? No way. This purse once belonged to my aunt, a woman I never met because she died many years before I was born, at the tender age of 19. Her name was Anna Mae, a beautiful variance of my name, and she was a brand new bride when a blood infection suddenly took her life. This was her purse, and is a treasure I will forever hold onto.
While these two items may be interesting to you, they are priceless to me. All because of one simple fact. They’re a part of my personal history. They represent people who have lived before me, who have in some way helped make me who I am. And while both my aunt and my Dad are no longer with us, their stories, their lives left impressions that will forever be uniquely individual to me. Personal history. We all have one. And those we meet in this reading experienced a personal history… with the Son of God Himself.
While Jesus and His followers traveled the countryside scattering the good seed of God's kingdom, it’s actually those followers that captured my attention today. Starting in verse one, let's find out just who these faithful supporters were.
He took His twelve disciples with Him, along with some women He had healed and from whom He had cast out evil spirits. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons ... Luke 8:1b, 2
Several women went along with Jesus and His disciples, spreading the much-needed hope of God's grace. But why would they do that? Why would these women put their lives on hold to travel the countryside with what appeared to be a band of do-gooders? Maybe more importantly, why would Jesus let them?
This trip was not to be a walk in the park. Jesus was loved by many, yes, but He was hated as well, by very influential and intellectual people. He endured attacks not only physically, but more often verbally. How could this group – some of them entirely uneducated – ever expect to stand up to these intellectual giants? Maybe we already know the answer to that question. Personal history. While this motley group of followers may not have had much education, they had something a wall full of diplomas could never replace. They had experience. Experience with the physical Person of Jesus, God-in-flesh.
Every oppressing demon released, every overwhelming disease wiped out, every blind eye miraculously restored added layers of experience that human intellect could never hope to touch. Truly knowing the Person of Jesus, intimately embracing the heart of God, is the highest form of intelligence.
It’s an intelligence that can only be attained as you begin your very own personal history with God.