This past Sunday, we kicked off our next mini series in Telos entitled Blazing Trails. This series is all about a number of people from Christian History who really stood up for their faith and lived amazing Christian lives, making a name for themselves, and helped to bring many, many other people to know about the saving grace of accepting Jesus as their personal Savior. For our first week, we went back to the beginning of the Renaissance period to learn about a trail-blazing female who stood up for her faith and spurred on the encouragement of others in the process. Here is a summary of what we learned about Joan of Arc.
–> She was born January 6, 1412 to peasants who made their living as farmers. There is discrepancy about her true name as at the time in history daughters would generally take their mother’s last name which was Romee’; however, her father’s last name was D’Art. During her trial in 1431 it is recorded that she stated she did not know her last name but just referred to herself as “Jehanne la Pucelle” which means Joan the Maid. She was noted as being good at sewing with lambswool on a spinner’s wheel, tending farm and acting as a shepherd on her family farm. She was even noted as rescuing animals during attacks and times of being invaded during the 100-Year-War. (Adam set above animals, David the Shepard)
READING: Genesis 2:19-20 – God called man to be in dominion over all the animals and He gave the first man, Adam, a specific charge here to care for the animals. Joan of Arc was noted for her love and care of the animals.
God Used Shepherds – even referring to Himself as one.
EXODUS 3:1-2 – Even Moses acted as a shepherd before being visited by the Lord in the tale of the burning bush.
I SAMUEL 16:10 – The anointing by God through the prophet Samuel for the calling of King David – who was acting a shepherd boy. Joan the Maid was noted as the acting shepherdess of her family farm and she was also young in age, similar to the time young David was anointed King of Israel.
JOHN 10:11-16 – Jesus referring to Himself as a shepherd.
–> She claims to have seen angels and began hearing commands from the saints as a young girl. Her mother was a devout Catholic (the only church at that time) and felt Joan had a personal and direct calling on her life from God. At young age, Joan described hearing and seeing saints and angels coming to her and encouraging her to live simply and to continue attending church. It was at age 13 she describes being in her father’s garden when she had visions of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret, each of whom told her to drive the English from French territory. They also asked that she bring the Dauphin to Reims for his coronation. (calling Mary, Jesus’ mother)
Scientists, physicians, and other historians over the years, of course, doubt these things as being spiritual at all in nature, rather they confirm that she likely suffered from ailments such as Epilepsy, Hallucinations, and Schizophrenia. So, was it sickness? Or was it God?
GENESIS 19:1, 15-17 – angels sent to bring Lot and his family to safety upon the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
JUDGES 13: 1-2 – the coming of the birth of Samson – angel of the Lord appeared giving clear directions
LUKE 1:26 -33 – the angel Gabriel sent to call on Mary at a young age
–> As a teenager, she was taken to the Royal Court and was able to secure a private meeting with the King, Charles VII, where she earned his trust. She asked his permission to dress in full armor (notably to blend in), ride on a borrowed horse, and use a borrowed flag to travel with the soldiers for support. She was filled with the idea of a specific mission God assigned to her here where she would offer encouragement to those fighting. Her encouragement and brazenness caused two major battles to be turned around in the favor of France, even though they were certain to be lost. Contrary to what many believe, Joan never did engage in battle, rather was a presence of strength to the soldiers, who was also injured twice by flying arrows. She took one in the thigh and one in the arm. She was very BOLD. (Saul to Paul)
DEUTERONOMY 20: 1-4 – Do not fear being outnumbered
PSALM 27:1 – Lord is my light, my salvation, my defense
PSALM 18:39 – Ready for battle
I PETER 1:13 – Battle in the mind – Joan had the right mindset
–> She was jailed for and stood trial for heeding God’s instructions. She was captured by the English in 1430 and had over 70 charges pending against her, yet it was ended up being reduced to 12 counts by May of 1431 the most serious being wearing men’s clothing and hearing from God. She had signed a statement saying that she would “Change her ways” and accept life imprisonment instead of death, but after a few days went right back to wearing men’s clothing and telling the judges that were visiting her in the cell that her voices had returned. These are the two acts that signed her fate of being burned at the stake – not for performing witchcraft as some people over the years have said. (John the Baptist)
–> She was well-liked and loved by most who encountered her – even her enemies. It is written by so many people who were later interviewed by the Roman Catholic church in a final “testing” of Joan of Arc after her death that she was very loved. She was noted as a sweet spirit, a young woman who was kind to all she encountered, very loyal and honest, one who cared for her enemies and tended to their wounds during the war and one who above all, loved and served God. It was said that even the executioners shed tears in her slaying because they loved her so. We may say she displayed a true “Christian life”. (Elijah/James)
LUKE 6:45 – Good brings out good, evil brings evil – Joan seemed to be just be GOOD.
HEBREWS 13:7 – Imitate those who are good – Joan’s mother was noted as a devout Catholic – she likely imitated and highly honored her own mother
MATTHEW 12:33 – Known by our fruits. Joan put forth good fruits
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM JOAN?
-> communion with God
-> treating all people equally/was good to animals
-> putting God’s will ahead of our own
Homework: Set 10 minutes aside five times/days this week to pray specifically for God’s will in your life. This may turn into facing something you feel God has placed on your heart and turning it into action and dealing with it or something as simple as letting go of your own plans for life and asking God to direct your steps.
NEXT WEEK: Blazing the Trail continues as we learn about a famous missionary William Carey