One of the many reasons that I love Jesus is his radical approach to women. At a time when women were treated as possessions and had virtually no voice in public life, Jesus unequivocally saw women as equal in worth and value to men.
Luke 7: 36 - 50 records the account of Jesus eating at a Pharisee's house when a prostitute weeps over his feet, kisses them and pours perfume on them in an intimate gesture of devotion. It's hard to describe how shocked and horrified the Pharisee (an upright religious person) was. He thought that if Jesus knew who this woman was, he'd be appalled. Of course, Jesus knew exactly who she was and he used her example of extravagant worship to chastise the Pharisee for his hypocrisy whilst he sent the woman away with his blessing.
There are lots of other accounts of Jesus' interactions with women. I love this one where he talks to a Samaritan woman who has come to the well in the middle of the day because she's so ashamed of her wayward lifestyle and wants to avoid the local gossips. Jews weren't supposed to mix with Samaritans, and men of good reputation shouldn't be anywhere near women like her, and yet her encounter with Jesus changes her life...
Another time, the Pharisees have dragged a woman who has been caught in adultery in front of Jesus demanding that she be stoned to death (interesting to note that there's no sign of the man). Jesus' response is to challenge them that the person who is without sin can cast the first stone. Sheepishly, they put down their stones and slope away one by one until only Jesus is left with the woman. He says to her ““Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”” John 8:10-11 NIV
Interestingly, the first witnesses at the tomb are women and they are entrusted with conveying the news of Jesus' resurrection (the very heart of the Christian message) to the disciples - and this at a time when a woman's testimony wasn't even valid in court!
The Bible teaches about the intrinsic worth and value of every human being, whatever their gender, social status, nationality, ability, intelligence and so on.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 NIV
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 NIV
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14 NIV
Individual Christians and churches may differ when defining the scope of men's and women's roles within the church and family, but all would agree that we are of equal spiritual worth to God and that he delights in us equally.
Jesus’ Extraordinary Treatment of Women (Franciscan Media)
Resources for women in ministry (Evangelical Alliance)
Are men and women equal in God’s eyes? (Got Questions)
Is God Good for Women? by Michelle Guinness
Split Image by Anne Atkins
The Gender Agenda by Lis Goddard
Created or Constructed? by Elaine Storkey
(Linking does not imply endorsement)
In : Apologetics
Tags: apologetics women jesus feminism