January 2023
Actions of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke: Costly Love
Part Two: January 2023
Love is willing the good of the other. Love is costly when the lover takes great risks for the beloved. Jesus models this “costly love” over and over in the gospels. He invites us as married couples to risk all for him and for each other. This month we offer meditations on four examples of costly love: the woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee, the blind man, Zacchaeus in Jericho, and Jesus on the cross. We will conclude these meditations with the surprise encounter of the disciples with the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus.

First, just as in traditional cultures a bride on her wedding night lets her hair down and allows it to be seen by her husband for the first time, the sinful woman touches Jesus with her hair and tears, causing great scandal at the dinner at Simon’s house. How does Jesus respond to such an outpouring of love and affection? How does he turn the anger of the host onto himself? We can imagine her thoughts: “He is going to get hurt—for me—and he doesn’t even know my name!”

Next we will encounter a series of actions culminating in the costliest act of love of all: Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus is traveling from Galilee on his way to Jerusalem. It was normal to travel thorough the town of Jericho; it would also not be unusual to stop there for the night before passing on to Jerusalem. On either side of Jericho, Jesus encounters two individuals in very different states of life. One is a blind man who lives not only on the outskirts of town, but on the outskirts of society. He is the nameless oppressed who is personally loved and healed by Jesus. The other is the oppressor, the hated chief tax collector. Of all the people in that town, Zacchaeus is the only one whose name we know. He too is encountered by Jesus. He is loved and healed as well. Both oppressed and oppressor experience a love that costs Jesus dearly. In both cases he takes the anger of the crowd upon himself and transforms the lives of these two individuals. Next, we see Jesus on the cross: the ultimate gift of love. There are two thieves crucified with him, and we see his compassion and love for them even now, at the moment of his greatest suffering.

Finally, we see two dispirited disciples on the road to Emmaus. It has been suggested that they are a married couple, returning home after the tumultuous events of that Passover weekend. Their hopes for a messiah seem to have been dashed, but they recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread as they eat the first meal on the first day of the New Creation. They will later recount as well how their hearts were burning when Jesus opened the Scripture for them.

Bill Wacker
Director Emeritus

I am indebted to Kenneth E. Bailey for his insights. Fuller treatment of the woman at Simon’s house, the blind man, and Zacchaeus can be found in Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 2008. 

Through the generous support of many of you, we have raised $43,000 toward our goal of $75,000. Thank you!

Many exciting things are happening with Marriage in Christ through your generous support!

Five in-person Marriage in Christ seminars are planned for winter of 2023. A Seminario Matrimonio en Cristo is starting next week in South Beloit, Wisconsin. Another is in the planning stages for St. Paul, MN.

We are moving forward with plans to create Host Couple videos to supplement both the English and Spanish seminars.
We need your help to raise an additional $32,000 to continue offering Marriage in Christ seminars and to hire a bilingual office assistant. You can contribute electronically on our website at www.marriageinchrist.com/supportus or by sending a check to Marriage in Christ, 601 River Ridge Parkway, Eagan, MN 55121."
Please consider a financial contribution today.

May you have a blessed 2023!

Fran Willard
Executive Director
Coming Soon!
Celebrate your marriage during National Marriage month!
Marriage in Christ Happy Hour

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Join us for an evening of fellowship, hors d'oeuvres, beverages (wine, beer & nonalcoholic) and a short presentation of "Praying Together as a Couple", from Bill Wacker. There will be a time for couple reflection as well.

Location: Marriage in Christ offices, 601 River Ridge Parkway, Eagan, MN
Time: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Cost: free will donation

Childcare is available upon request.

Please invite another couple to attend with you.

If you do not live in the Minnesota area, contact Fran to see how you can sponsor a marriage in Christ Happy hour in your location.

To rsvp or for more information, please contact
Fran at franwillard@marriageinchrist.com or call the MIC office at 651.395.6828.
Conversation Starters and Loving Actions

How do you risk showing love to your spouse?

How has Jesus personally loved you?

What would it take for you to enter a prominent person’s home to show your love for a guest present there?

How do you and your spouse welcome people into your home?

Have you ever been rejected while showing love for another person?

How do you show Jesus that you are grateful to him for forgiving your sins?

Plan a movie night for your spouse. Chose a movie they would enjoy watching and provide snacks like popcorn or chocolate covered strawberries.

Attend a winter festival together.

Visit a garden center together.

Prepare an exotic dinner together.

Visit a train museum in your area. Invite another couple to join you.

Clean out a junk drawer together and laugh at all the little items that you keep in it.

Remind each other that spring is coming soon and plan an outing to celebrate.
Follow Marriage in Christ
Come, Holy Spirit, inspire our hearts; inspire couples to desire your presence in their life, marriage, & family. Draw them to you. May we be a vehicle to reveal you to them.