What Does Jesus Say About Women?

by | Dec 21, 2009 | Spirit-Led Living

Most clergy and laypeople alike would agree that Christ,
not the apostle Paul, is the source of all churchly authority and
power. So what do we find Jesus saying about women? How did He deal
with them?

In the presence of the multitude, He drew from Martha the
same testimony He required of His apostles, and she publicly replied,
almost in Peter’s very words, “Yea, Lord: I believe that Thou art the
Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world” (John 11:27,
KJV).

He declared His commission to the woman at the well of Samaria,
with an emphasis and a particularity hardly equalled in any of His
public addresses, and the testimony she gave to her fellow Samaritans
bore much fruit. What pastor would not rejoice to hear what the
converts said to the woman: “Now we believe, not because of thy saying:
for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the
Christ, the Saviour of the world” (4:42).

Some object that Jesus did not call any women to be
apostles. True, He did not designate women as His followers; they came
without a call. No utterance of His marks women as ineligible for any
position in the church He came to found; rather, His gracious words and
deeds, His impartation of His purposes and plans to women, His stern
reproofs to men who did them wrong, His chosen companionships, and the
tenor of His whole life and teaching, all point out precisely the
opposite conclusion.

Indeed, Luke explicitly declares that “He went throughout
every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the
kingdom of God: and the twelve were with Him, and certain women,” among
whom were “Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and
many others, which ministered unto Him of their substance” (Luke 8:1-3,
emphasis added).

What a spectacle that must have been for the scribes and
Pharisees, whom Jesus called hypocrites! What loss of caste came to
those fearless women, who, breaking away from the customs of society
and traditions of religion, dared to follow the greatest of iconoclasts
from city to village with a persistence nothing less than outrageous to
the conservatives of that day!

Only Christ’s commission is authoritative. To whom did He
give it after His resurrection, when the new dispensation was ushered
in?

If we are to accept specific statements as conclusive of
a question involving half the human race, let us take our stand on our
Lord’s final words and deeds. Luke 24:33-34 states that the two
disciples to whom Christ appeared on the way to Emmaus “returned to
Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were
with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to
Simon.” Be it understood that women were among “them that were with
them.”

While they were thus assembled and talking of the
wonderful experience of that day, Jesus appeared again, saying, “Peace
be unto you.” In John 20:19-23, we have an account of this appearance
of Christ to His disciples, for it says explictly (after stating that
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord):
“Then the same day at evening … came Jesus and stood in the midst, and
saith unto them, Peace be unto you … as My Father hath sent Me, even so
send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith
unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye remit, they
are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are
retained.”

These are the words He spoke to the 11 and “them that
were with them.” He then “opened their understanding that they might
understand the Scriptures” and declared that “repentance and remission
of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at
Jerusalem,” and declared, “ye are witnesses of these things. And
behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you, but tarry ye in
Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high. And He led them
out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them.
And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them,
and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to
Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:48-52, emphasis added).

In reading this account, does any reasonable person
suppose that Jesus’ mother and the other Marys were not there? Or the
great company of women who had ministered to Him?

But we are not left in doubt. Turn to Acts 1:12-14: “Then
returned they unto Jerusalem…and when they were come in, they went up
into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and
John….These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,
with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren”
(emphasis added).

The account goes on: “And when the day of Pentecost was
fully come, they were all with one accord in one place….And they were
all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues,
as the Spirit gave them utterance” (2:1-4, emphasis added).

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