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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus and women’

For the last 8 months I have posted stories on women who lived during the Old Testament times. Let’s look at life for women in Old Testament from creation through the times of the kings. Then we will ask the questions, “Why did things change from the way God originally created men and women? Why were women treated so poorly during Old Testament times? Why are things different now?”

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen. 1:26-28).

God created both men and women in His image. This means that they share the same identity – children of God. There are differences between men and women, but both have the same humanity.

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God sent them out of His beautiful garden. There were consequences for each one of them. Eve would now have pain in childbirth. Adam would no longer be able to just pluck fruit from the trees but would have to grow things in ground that is cursed with thorns.

Neither Adam nor Eve would be perfect anymore. They now had sin natures. They would now be selfish and be looking out for their own interests rather than just thinking about pleasing God. The sin nature would be passed down to all humans. The whole world is cursed. Things are not the way they were before the fall.

Life became patterned after God’s pronouncements at the fall. Men worked outside, taking care of growing crops and animals. Women worked inside, cooking, sewing, and raising children. At harvest time everyone helped including the children. Life in the rural areas was happy and fulfilling.

The Ideal wife could be summarized in Proverbs 31:10-31. Following are a few verses from that passage:
Prov 31 25 to 27An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard. She extends her hand to the poor; and she stretches out her hands to the needy. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Whether we are talking about women in the Old Testament, the New Testament, or today, all of these abilities describe the godly woman. These characteristics are timeless. But one thing we notice is that very few women actually achieved this level of lifestyle during Old Testament times. The Proverbs 31 woman gets the praise for what she has accomplished. This is what the Bible tells us. But apparently the Jewish leaders did not read their Scriptures.

In reality in Old Testament Israelite society women were not allowed above their station as allowed by the Jewish leaders. The Rabbi’s did not believe that women should be educated. Clearly they were violating the Scriptures by not allowing women to do any of the tasks that we see in Proverbs.

In our day it seems strange that women were treated so poorly. We are used to having freedom to go to school, to work outside of the home, and even to
be in leadership positions. While not every woman has such a successful husband and can afford to buy land and have servants, most women are at least allowed to participate in meaningful work. Of course the calling for women is still inside the home if she’s married and has children, but today women can work outside the home as well. Women go to school and start businesses. Women are teachers, missionaries, and executives.

How did the change come about? Why were things so bad for women in the Old Testament but now are better? Christianity is the answer. If you look at other cultures, such as the Muslim culture or the Hindu culture, you will see that women are treated like objects because of their religious beliefs. Women are no better than furniture in those cultures, to be used by the men however they wish. But everywhere that Christianity has gone, women have been treated better.

women follow JesusJesus is the One Who changed things. When Jesus came, He treated women differently than the rabbis of His day. Jesus modeled the way that men were supposed to treat women. He shocked His disciples on many occasions when He gave so much time to women, but He expected the disciples to learn from Him. He expected them to see that in His kingdom women as well as men were to serve. He did not hand out specific job descriptions; He meant for women to follow Him in whatever way they were called. For most women this would still mean being a good wife and mother. Other women were single or widowed and Jesus affirmed them in their callings as well.

When Jesus met the needs of these women He gave them new life – physically, socially, and spiritually. Jesus gave women back the dignity of the Proverbs 31 woman.

Jesus also restored these women to the position they had before the fall. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve went about working in the garden as equal stewards. There was no conflict between men and women until sin entered the world. Then the temptation to be selfish would affect all people. That is the essence of sin – I want my own way, especially if it means I can boss you around.
Jesus changed all of this when He taught that we are to think of others before ourselves. Now, as we love and serve Jesus we will love and serve others. We can live the way we were meant to when God created us.

05_Flatbed_2 - JUNE   Original Filename: 76548479.jpgMy sisters, let us keep a biblical view of womanhood. This means that we must study how Jesus treated women and how women responded. My prayer is that more preachers would also take time to read, Proverbs 31, Luke’s Gospel and the book of Acts, and examine their own presuppositions concerning what work that women would be allowed to do in the Church. I pray that they would seek Biblical answers. I pray that men would be more like Jesus as they allow women to follow their callings.

What Jesus inaugurated, the Church should extend. With the spread of Christianity women can serve along side of men to take the Gospel to the lost.

 

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If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be freeindeed. (John 8:36)

Our gracious heavenly Father inspired Luke the evangelist to write about the New Covenant in the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke tells the story in two parts – his Gospel and the book of Acts.

luke 8 1 3For the last six months we have looked at the ways that life changed for women with the coming of Jesus. In Luke’s Gospel we see that Jesus modeled the new way of living as He went about treating women like equal human beings. Jesus shocked His disciples on many occasions, but He expected them to learn from Him. He expected them to see that in His kingdom women as well as men were to serve. He did not hand out specific job descriptions; He meant for women to follow Him in whatever way they were called. For most women this would still mean being a good wife and mother. Other women were single or widowed and Jesus affirmed them in their callings as well.

Not only did Jesus treat women with respect and kindness, He made no differentiation as to social class.

– Some women were really poor – Mary His own mother, and Mary the mother of James.

– Other women were very wealthy – Joanna, the wife of Chuza who was a steward in King Herod’s household, Susanna, and Jairus’ daughter.

– Some women had relative freedom and responsibility – such as Martha and Mary of Bethany, who were landowners.

– Others were castoffs due to illness or demon possession – such as the hemorrhaging woman, the woman bent double, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna.

– Some women were prominent – Susanna, Joanna, and Jairus’ wife.

– Other women were considered unclean and lowly because they were prostitutes – The Samaritan woman, the “sinful” woman, and an unnamed anointing woman.

– Many women were widowed – Anna the prophetess, the widow of Nain, and the widow with the two mites.

One thing all of these women had in common was that they had sadness or troubles in their lives. Even one as wealthy as Joanna had been demon possessed and needed Jesus’ help. For all of these women life changed when they encountered the Savior.

Jesus saved all of these women not only spiritually, but also physically and socially. Women who were sick were considered unclean and were social outcasts. Single women were not given the same respect as married women. Impoverished widows were neglected and were in danger of starvation and illness. Prostitutes were socially unacceptable anywhere. Jesus brought salvation and hope to all of these women.

The apostles learned their lessons well from Master Jesus. When the Holy Spirit descended on the pentecost copygroup of believers at Pentecost, men and women were included. The coming of the Spirit confirmed that new communities of God worshipers would include everybody with no exceptions because of ethnicity, religion, or gender. Luke tells us that “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:14). No longer was the worship service to be for men only. Women were to participate. Luke goes on, “And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2:3,4).

This was not a one-time event. Luke tells us that God had been planning this change all along. “’And it shall be in the last days’ God says, ‘that I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy’” (Acts 2:17a). Note that the Holy Spirit fell on all of them and the women as well as the men would prophesy.

Some might say, “Well this was just a single special event to inaugurate the Church. After this women were to be silent in the Church.” But we don’t see this happening. Luke, the author of the book of Acts, makes a conscience effort to show how the status of women would be greater in the Church than in their previous position in Jewish culture. We see women evangelizing, teaching, prophesying, supporting the apostles and other workers, and starting house churches. Women will serve in the Church and out of the Church by caring for the poor and underprivileged. Women will share in the blessings of the Spirit. Women will also have the privilege of being persecuted or martyred for Christ.

Why would Luke take time to tell all of these stories if he did not want us to see that the way for women to serve in the kingdom of God alongside men was now open in this new era? Though women live in a patriarchal society, they are no longer second-class citizens. All are members of the priesthood of believers. All are expected to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling he word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). Nowhere in the New Testament is it suggested that women can get by without taking their responsibility to witness for Christ seriously. Far from hanging around in the wings as silent observers, women are enjoined with men to study the Word of God and be ready to witness to others with the truth of the Gospel.

Again, some might suggest that this was all part of the early Church and would fall away at the end of the apostolic age.

In the coming weeks we will see that that is not true either. Luke’s friend, Paul, will work with women, junia apostlewrite about women, and commend women for their part in the New Community of Christ. In his epistles, Paul will give his judgment on life in the home, in the Church, and in society for women. Life for the new Christians would look very different from the old life they had in Judaism or paganism. They would have a new identity – children of God. All relate to God equally through the Holy Spirit and because of salvation in Jesus. This will cause a shift in the way men and women relate to each other.

Now instead of a domineering hierarchy, leadership will be like that of Christ. Jesus told His disciples, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lordit over them, and their great men exercise authority over them” (Matthew 20:25). The disciples were not to follow the example of the worldly rulers, but to follow His example. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

Christ died to give His followers freedom to serve not to lord their position over others.

Act as freemen, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as servants of God” (1 Pet. 2:16).

 

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I have seen the Lord!

 So said Mary Magdalene to the disciples after she ran to tell them about the empty tomb. It was resurrection day andmary-and-jesus-at-the-tomb Jesus had appeared to Mary. She was the first of all of His followers to see Him. Later that evening Jesus would appear to a gathering of the disciples who would also rejoice that He was alive.

Jesus would present “Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Jesus would then tell His followers, men and women, to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. They would be empowered to go and preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Over the last few weeks we have shared the stories of women who interacted with the Lord. All of these women could exclaim with Mary Magdalene, I have seen the Lord!” Unfortunately, in many pulpits in America, the stories of women are neglected. These last four months I have tried to show that Jesus not only interacted with many women, but that He also modeled the way that society should treat women.

Jesus did not try to change the culture by preaching about gender issues. Jesus simply modeled the way as He went about treating women like equal human beings. He shocked His disciples on many occasions, but He expected them to learn from Him. He expected them to see that in His kingdom women as well as men were to serve. He did not hand out specific job descriptions; He meant for women to follow Him in whatever way they were called. For most women this would still mean being a good wife and mother. Other women were single or widowed and Jesus affirmed them in their callings as well.

Not only did Jesus treat women with respect and kindness, He made no differentiation as to social class.

– Some women were really poor – Mary His own mother, and Mary the mother of James.

– Other women were very wealthy – Joanna, the wife of Chuza who was a steward in King Herod’s household, Susanna, and Jairus’ daughter.

– Some women had relative freedom and responsibility – such as Martha and Mary of Bethany, who were landowners.

– Others were castoffs due to illness or demon possession – such as the hemorrhaging woman, the woman bent double, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna.

– Some women were prominent – Joanna, and Jairus’ wife.

– Other women were considered lowly because they were prostitutes – The Samaritan woman, the “sinful” woman, and an unnamed anointing woman.

– Many women were widowed – Mary, the mother of Jesus, Anna, the widow of Nain, and the widow with the two mites.

One thing all of these women had in common was that they had sadness or troubles in their lives. Even one as wealthy as Joanna had been demon possessed and needed Jesus’ help. Jesus saved all of these women not only spiritually, but also physically and socially. Women who were sick were considered unclean and were social outcasts. Single women were not given the same respect as married women. Impoverished widows were neglected and were in danger of starvation and illness. Prostitutes were socially unacceptable anywhere.

When Jesus met the needs of these women He gave them new life – physically, socially, and spiritually.

Jesus also restored these women to the position they had before the fall. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve went about working in the garden as equal stewards. There was no conflict between men and women until sin entered the world. Then the temptation to be selfish would affect all people. That is the essence of sin – I want my own way, especially if it means I can boss you around. Jesus changed all of this when He taught that we are to think of others before ourselves. Now, as we love and serve Jesus we will love and serve others. We can live the way we were meant to when God created us.

Neither Jesus nor Paul nor any other New Testament writer directly attacked the patriarchal structure of the society in their day. On the other hand, they did not deny the differences between men and women as some liberal feminists do in our day.

What Jesus did was to show that in His kingdom men and women would be, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you Jesus and the Sam. womanout of darkness into His marvelous light;” (I Peter 2:9). Women would be part of this newly formed priesthood. When Jesus allowed Mary of Bethany to learn at His feet instead of sending her to the kitchen to help Martha, He was telling us that women should learn from Him. Women need to also be ready to share the good news of the Gospel with everyone. Yes, women need to follow their callings and commitments in marriage and motherhood, but they should make it a priority to study God’s Word and be, “readyto make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” (I Peter 3:15).

My sisters, let us keep a biblical view of womanhood. This means that we must study how Jesus treated women and how women responded. My prayer is that more preachers would also take time to read, especially Luke’s Gospel and the book of Acts, and examine their own presuppositions concerning what work that women would be allowed to do in the Church. I pray that they would not be fearful of extremes, but would seek Biblical answers. I pray that men would be more like Jesus as they allow women to follow their callings.

What Jesus inaugurated, the Church would extend. In the next few postings, we will look at women in the early church.

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But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

And a sword will pierce even your own soul — to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:35)

In the next few weeks we will continue to explore the topic of how Jesus treated women. The most important woman in His life, humanly speaking, was of course His own mother, Mary.

Many people have written stories about Mary the mother of Jesus. She is still the most revered woman who ever lived. Some have exalted her to a place that she herself would say in all humility that she would not accept. Mary exalted God alone. Mary would wish us to keep Christ on the throne.

There is so much to praise in Mary who as an ordinary human being had great faith, courage, and piety. She proved her faith with obedience, her courage with humility, and her piety with thoughtfulness, prayer, and submission.

We learn the most about Mary in Luke’s Gospel. Doctor Luke took it upon himself to interview many disciples of Jesus in order to write his story. Luke wanted everyone to know that he was giving the exact truth of the events surrounding Jesus’ life, and so he wrote the things “just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,” (Luke 1:2). The main eyewitness was of course Mary who was there from Christ’s conception until His death.

It should not surprise us then that there are so many details about Mary’s interaction with Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. Mary was still alive and probably shared all of the stories with Luke personally. Even after the resurrection Mary continued to be a faithful witness. That explains how we know the very conversations that Mary had with the angel, Elizabeth, Jesus, and others.

angel:MaryWe first meet this humble peasant girl when an angel of the Lord goes to Mary’s home and announces God’s plan for Mary to bear Jesus. Most scholars agree that Mary was probably 13 to 15 years of age, the age of betrothal for many Jewish girls.

Having an angel suddenly show up in your room would be amazing, perplexing, and frightening. Mary felt all of these emotions, but she humbly submitted to God.

Some people think that Mary did not believe the angel when she was questioning, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34) Luke had already told the story of Zacharias who did not believe the angel. When the angel told Zacharias that he and his barren wife would have a child, it was just too hard for him to believe. (Luke 1:5-25)

But this was not the motive behind Mary’s question. Mary was not questioning the angel because she did not believe God. She merely wanted to know how a virgin could get pregnant. Though the Bible doesn’t say, I have to wonder if the humble maiden also wondered why she was the one who was chosen. After all, the Israelites had been waiting for their Savior for hundreds of years. Perhaps Mary thought that she wasn’t good enough to be the mother of the Messiah, nevertheless she believed God.

The angel then explained to her that God would be the Father of Jesus. The Holy Spirit would cause the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb. Indeed Jesus would be the King who would sit on David’s throne. Mary’s response was of total submission to God, “Behold the bondservant of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

And so, Mary’s faith is an example to us. She proved her faith by Mary:Elizabethresponding with humble obedience. Her cousin Elizabeth confirms this, “and blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 2:45)

In other words, while it was an unspeakable privilege for Mary to have been chosen to bear the Savior, it was not her motherhood that we should exalt, but her belief in the promises of God.

Mary herself says as much in her beautiful prayer that we have called the Magnificat. (Luke 2:46-55)

After Elizabeth calls Mary blessed, meaning that Mary has received a special favor from God, Mary lifts her voice in praise to God. God is the One who should be praised for all that He has done. Mary wants people to praise God for His mighty acts.

Some scholars have portrayed Mary as an ignorant peasant girl with little understanding of the Scriptures. But Mary’s song of praise reveals that she had studied the Scriptures. She speaks of the promise to Abraham and her Jewish ancestors. She knows that the child she carries is the Savior that everyone has been waiting for. Jesus is the promised king, the promised son of David.

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months then returned home. When it was very nearly the time for Jesus to be born, Mary went with Joseph to Bethlehem. Women did not usually travel during the advanced stages of their pregnancies. Was she aware of the prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem? We don’t know. We do know that angels spoke to Joseph as well. Perhaps the angel directed Joseph to take Mary with him. We know that whatever came her way, Mary responded in obedience and with great courage.

Even upon arriving in Bethlehem Mary could have wondered if she did the right thing when she and Joseph found that there was no room for them at the inn. Still she humbly obeyed. It would not have been easy to give birth in a stable. Mary trusted God. Though barely out of childbed, she graciously entertained visitors – rugged shepherds who came by to rejoice in the birth of Jesus. All of these things she pondered in her heart.

Mary:Simeon:Jesus:JosephWhen Jesus was eight days old, Mary and Joseph took Him to Jerusalem to be circumcised. Simeon gave praise to God for allowing him to see the Savior before he died. He also prophesied that Jesus would be a “light of revelation to the Gentiles.” Simeon also gently told Mary that, “this child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed — and a sword will pierce even your own soul — to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34, 35) Mary was amazed at these words, but continued to ponder all of these things in her heart – something Luke would mention many times in his Gospel. Mary was truly a thoughtful, pious woman.

From the announcement of Jesus’ birth to His circumcision Mary humbly served God. In the next several weeks we will see how she continued to demonstrate her faith in obedience, her courage with humility, and her piety with wisdom and love. As Jesus grew older His relationship with His mother changed in all the ways that human relationships usually do. He respected His mother and yet began to do things His own way.

Jesus did not treat women the way the Pharisees did. This includes the treatment of His mother. The Pharisees twisted and perverted many things with their traditions. On of those things was their treatment of women. We will see how Jesus brought change beginning with His treatment of His own mother, Mary.

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But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 41,42)

Women were not treated with respect in Jesus’ day. The rabbis had a saying, “Talk not much with womankind.” And this statement was found in the Talmud, “It was taught: Do not speak excessively with a woman lest this ultimately lead you to adultery.” In other words, men can’t speak straight across to women as equal human beings.

Jesus, Mary, MarthaJesus broke the mold. By interacting with women the way He did He was directly violating the rules of the Pharisees. In contrast to this the Gospels, especially Luke’s Gospel, show Jesus lifting women to a place of freedom and respect that they had not known before in Judaism.

Jesus showed that He valued women when He spoke to them. This must have been shocking to those around Him. We know from John’s Gospel, for example, that even the disciples were “amazed that He had been speaking with a woman,” (John 4:27).

Jesus knew His Scriptures better than anybody. Women were created in the image of God at the same time as men (Genesis 1:27). Putting aside all of the issues in today’s “gender debate”, let us focus on how Jesus treated women. What can we learn from that?

First, let’s get a picture of the social structure in the early first century.

To start with, not every group of Jews was the same. There were urban Jews and country Jews. Some were rich but most were poor. There were elite groups – Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, and Essenes. These groups all differed from each other and each was convinced that their own teachings were the correct ones. We read more about the Pharisees and Sadducees in the Gospels than the other two groups.

pharisees:sadducees

The Sadducees were the wealthy class. They controlled the temple and the high priesthood. They were open to the Greek culture that was prevalent at that time. They were also supportive of the Roman government, which you may recall was in charge of much of Europe and the Middle East. The wives of the Sadducees would have been very different from those of ordinary priests who were much poorer. Probably none of the women we encounter in the Gospels were of the wealthy Sadducee sect.

Often we think of status being given to the wealthiest class, but in Jesus’ time there was already a change beginning to take place. The Pharisees were the scholars of their day. To this day the Pharisees are considered to be the religious authorities. Great honor was given to those Pharisees, such as Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), whose piety and learning made an impression on the Jewish people. The Sadducees were often forced to give way to the rulings of the Pharisees due to popular opinion. A premium was placed on scholarship in the Law rather than just wealth. Hints about the rivalry between the Pharisees and the Sadducees are all throughout the Gospels. (See Mark 12:18 for example.)

The large majority of the population, whether in Galilee or Judea or cities or rural areas were poor. Most of the men were farmers. Many worked as day laborers to supplement their income. There were fishermen, such as Peter and Andrew. There were shopkeepers and many trades-people. Joseph was a carpenter. Many wives worked along side of their husbands, as did children. The wives sometimes sat in the market places and sold the wares that were made by their husbands. The majority of women that we meet in the Gospels were among this class.

The Jews in Judea, especially around Jerusalem, were stricter in their holy land:time of Jesusobservance of the religious rules. The Jews in Galilee were perhaps less strict because they were some distance away from Jerusalem; Samaria was in the middle geographically. A look at a map of the times is helpful in following Jesus’ journeys.

 

I’ve never heard a sermon on the interaction of Jesus with women. I’ve heard only a handful of sermons on any woman period. This really concerns me. At the very least it leaves the impression that women are not important. At the worst, it gives the impression that we have not learned anything from the Lord Jesus about how to treat women.

My goal over the next few weeks is to show that Jesus began to change things. He changed the way His followers should think about much of what they had been taught. Because of this, Christianity is different from all of the rest of the world’s religions.

While the leaders in Israel would cater to the rich, Jesus would go to the poor. While the Pharisees would only speak with other men, Jesus would speak with women. The leaders would emphasize the externals of religion; Jesus would emphasize the heart condition.

Jesus showed over and over again that the religious leaders did not really understand their Scriptures. One example is found in Matt. 22:29 where Jesus told the Sadducees, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.” If the religious leaders were mistaken about this, is it just possible that their treatment of women was not biblical either?

I believe that Jesus wanted His followers to worship God in the way they were intended to right from creation. The Jewish leaders had strayed further and further away from true worship. Jesus would teach the right way by word and by example.

My prayer is that women will feel comforted that their Savior esteems them highly. I am not interested in the leftist version of egalitarianism; those women are not Christians. I have a sneaking hunch that they really want control not equality anyway. On the other hand there are many churches that teach that women are somehow second class Christians unable to learn or share in the ministries of the church.

Jesus did not try to replace the patriarchal system of His day; He wanted to reform it. In the course of the next few weeks I hope to show that Jesus treated women as though they could be faithful followers using their gifts and serving in the Kingdom alongside men. Jesus’ teaching is different from any other in the world. I pray that as we look at these stories, we will learn at the feet of the Master the way of true discipleship.

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