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Entries in Well Done Good and Faithful Servant (1)

Wednesday
Aug282019

Whom Did Jesus Praise? Will He Praise You? (Part 2)

In Part 2 of this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson encourages us to consider some of the people Jesus praised while He was on earth.

Jesus might offer us words of praise, but we need to be praiseworthy.

In Part One of “Who Did Jesus Praise?” we saw the praise He shared with to those who would trust Him without “seeing” Him physically, a near relative (John the Baptist) who bravely took a stand against his culture and proclaimed the truth, and a disciple who proclaimed a powerful statement of faith.

In Part Two we will examine two others: a woman who stretched out her hand, and a woman who gave sacrificially… and we’ll think ahead to our praise in heaven!

Again, we’ll consider how we might win Jesus’ praise.

4. Woman touching the hem of Jesus garment

Luke 8:43-48 and Mark 5:21-24; 35-42 tell the story of a woman who had “an issue of blood” (for 12 years!) who touched Jesus’ garment, likely His outer cloak.

Though Jesus simply pointed to her simple act of faith—and He told her to “go in peace” and know that she would be freed from her suffering—a response of love that showed His great love for the woman.

The bleeding woman was fearful. Religious Jews felt it immodest and inappropriate to touch men in public. The woman was also ritually unclean (Leviticus 15:25-27). She could have faced serious consequences when she reached out to touch Jesus’ garment.

Yet she bravely reached out in her desperation.

She had lived for over a decade as an outcast socially and spiritually. So she took a huge risk. She touched the edge of His cloak (Matthew 9:20). This was a special area. Ritual tassels (tzitzit) were on the “corners” of the garment (Numbers 15:37-41).

The Messiah who would come, according to Malachi 4:2, would have “healing” in his wings. Jewish writings say these “wings” represent the four corners of garments with the “wings” or tzitzits. The woman grabbed for one of these wings, which would normally be a great affront to Him.

But Jesus’ response was gentle and loving (Mark 5:34). He told her to take heart, and in a sense, He was praising her fearful-yet-audacious faith. He wasn’t like the proud priests in His day; He was always focusing on the people’s redemption. Jesus was also unlike the Jewish men who did not see women as men’s equals. Paul clarified this when he said “there is neither male nor female,” because all are one in the Messiah (Galatians 3:28).

Like this woman, we need to be brave, bold, and reach out to the Lord to find healing and help in our own time of need. Jesus wants us to do this, and He would praise us when we do.

5. One Who Gave Her All

We find a story about a special, sacrificial woman in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4.

Nothing was hidden from Jesus’ knowledge. He sat in full sight of the “treasury” in the Temple, the place for voluntary contributions. He observed the rich people casting in their gifts. But he also saw a poor widow who threw in two mites, two small brass coins.

His observation was that the poor widow had given more than all the others. She had given all she had to live on. She gave out of her poverty.

Jesus sees people’s hearts. He knows their circumstances. He sees through facades and how we 'keep up appearances.'

People might laud others who make huge financial gifts, but Jesus took time to praise one whose gift weighed in heavily because of her great sacrifice. He noticed her sincerity and generous heart.

The truth is, Jesus still sees the “treasury” in our giving and living.

The Lord observes our thoughts, deeds of charity, and especially the way we worship.

He sees our motives. He knows whether we give of our time, talents and treasures to be seen by people, or whether we give “as unto the Lord.”

Jesus praised the widow that day. Someday, the feeble efforts of God’s sincere and generous children—gifts made and things done to honor Him—will also be commended.

And lets we think we have anything to give, even the poorest and simplest of us are not excused from gifts and good works (2 Corinthians 8:2-3). God will always know our deepest heart, will and affections. The amount we give is not what concerns Him as much as our willing mind (2 Cor. 8:12).

He accepts and praises our obedience and love, not the measure of our gifts.

6. Will We Hear a “Well Done”?

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this, but it’s something to think about.

In Matthew 25, we see Jesus—by way of a parable—suggest He will praise (commend) and also reward the deeds done for Him, for His glory.

The master in the parable says, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).

Then he praises the servant for his faithfulness, says he will be rewarded, and he should “enter into the joy” of his master. The “Master” in this parable is Jesus himself. The servant is us, Christ-followers. The Lord will reward those who do their best to serve Him.

Paul proclaimed in 1 Corinthians 15:58, our labor is “not in vain in the Lord.”

In Matthew 25:34, in another parable, Jesus pictured the Day of Judgment and said those on His right—true believers—will enter into God’s prepared Kingdom.

Jesus, in commending Christians, says our love and service to others is the same as loving and serving Him (Matthew 25:40).

Oh, how I long to hear Jesus say “Well done” to me! Do you want to hear that word of praise too?

Observing those Jesus praised, we might again examine our own hearts:

  • Am I being brave in reaching out to Jesus with my needs, especially my desperate needs?
  • Am I sharing sacrificially with my time, talents and treasures?
  • Will I hear my Savior say, “Well done?” (If not, what do I need to change now?)

Again, as you consider these three points—will you win the praise of Jesus?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator the blog, Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts, and a writer at Christianity.com (wiki posts) and Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Foto Rieth at Pixabay.