Stories Jesus told with women in them

Lot’s wife (Luke 17:20-35)

Remember the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge was about not losing hope that Jesus would come back, no matter how bad the forecast was looking. If an unjust judge issues justice, then what will a good God give?

If you scroll back just a little bit, form that parable in Luke 18, you start reading about Jesus’ second coming in Luke 17. Here’s the passage:

The Coming of the Kingdom of God

Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, 'The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, "Here it is," or "There it is," because the kingdom of God is in your midst.'

Then he said to his disciples, 'The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. People will tell you, "There he is!" or "Here he is!: Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

“'Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

“'It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

“'It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.' [emphasis mine]

You notice, it all started out with the Pharisees. They were trying to gather evidence that would prove Jesus a fraud, or some kind of dangerous subversive, or, really, anything they could use to get Him off the street, out of earshot, and away from the people, who seemed to love Him so much.

Having been shut down, time and again, by Jesus, in answer to their questions concerning God’s Law, they tried a new tack and dove in with a question about Jesus’ own message: The Kingdom of God is Coming. And, even though Jesus was speaking plainly, what He was talking about was so blockbuster, people were having a hard time wrapping their minds around it.

I mean, aren’t you?

And that brings us to Jesus point (I hope you saw it!) About Lot’s wife, a woman from the Old Testament. Okay, let’s pull that passage out for a deeper look. Here’s what Jesus said about her, “Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” Certainly, in Jesus’ day, for the audience He was talking to (especially the Pharisees), Lot’s wife was vividly memorable. For her story, you have to go clear back to the first book in the Bible, Genesis; what the Jews call Torah, the first five books of the Bible, written down by Moses. Here’s the story on Lot’s wife, found in Genesis 19 (the whole back story is pretty long, but if you have time, it’s a good read):

“So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, 'Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!' But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, 'Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.'

When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, 'Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!'

But Lot said to them, 'No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.'

He said to him, 'Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.' (That is why the town was called Zoar.)

By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” [emphasis mine]

So what happened, here? We'll, hang on, it's coming in the next post.

All passages taken from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.