Many women in the Bible are mentioned by name. This should be an encouragement to us – especially us Christian women – in this day and age, where gender equality has become a topic of heated discussion and debate in person and in media.
But let’s consider this: how did Christ relate to the women He met during His ministry, and how did they fit in His Father’s will? And what can we as Christian women learn from Christ’s example?
Here are some ways that Christ related to women as He ministered to mankind on this earth, and what we can learn from them.
Christ Made Sure Women Knew His Word
Jesus talked to many women in during His earthly ministry, but He made sure that they knew His message. For example, He talked to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:1-26, and He didn’t just make small talk. He got right down to her heart, and because He knew and loved her, He wanted to make sure that she was aware of the living water only He can provide; ““Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13b-14). He also told the woman who was nearly stoned to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11b). He pardoned her for her sins, but He wanted to make sure that she knew to repent of those sins. He does the same for us today through His word, and we should take every opportunity to learn from it.
Christ Placed High Value on Women’s Specific Roles
Women were to be submissive to their husbands, something that Paul emphasizes later on after Christ finished His earthly ministry (Ephesians 5:22). But Christ doesn’t discount women for their more submissive role. Let’s look at His visit with Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. When He tells Martha that Mary is doing exactly what she needs to do, as opposed to helping maintain their household, He isn’t chastising Martha for doing housework, nor for being hospitable to Him or His fellow guests. He tells her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41b-42). He valued both of their roles – both service and worship – not just one or the other. I feel that His emphasis here is that sometimes, He wants His followers to serve in different capacities at different times, whether that’s taking a pause to be spiritually fed through His Word or getting out there and serving when it’s needed. This idea is definitely something we as Christian women can take away, especially as we transition into roles such as wives, mothers, and ladies’ class teachers.
Christ Desired that His Message be Given to Everyone – Both Men and Women
“Hold on,” you might be telling me, “I thought this article was just about women?” Christ’s message isn’t specific to one gender or the other; it’s meant for all, and He purposefully meant for His message to be preached for all. We don’t need to worry about making His message easy to cater to one gender or the other, either; all we need is the truth, and He can take care of their hearts. I really feel like the example from Luke 7:36-50 of Christ and the woman who wept at His feet fits here. If the tables were turned between Simon the Pharisee and the woman, and the woman were in a position of power and the man a citizen, He would say the same thing: “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48b) and “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:50b). Jesus even related a parable about forgiveness to the situation regardless of the fact that He was talking about the way Simon should relate to the woman, even when no woman was mentioned in that parable (Luke 7:40-46). Christ’s message transcends societal expectations and stereotypes; all that matters is that everyone find and follow the truth as given in His Word.
All this being said, Christ valued women in a culture where their value seemed conditional, based on their social standing or reputation in their communities. Jesus made sure that everyone He came into contact with – including the Samaritan woman at the well who had made some mistakes in her past – knew that they were loved and knew the truth regardless of their reputation or what they had done previously (John 4:16-26).
Also, while we need to serve within the parameters and guidelines of His Word, we need not let gender keep us from serving to the fullest of our ability. Just because women cannot lead in worship doesn’t mean that they can’t serve in other ways (1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). If anyone has a talent they can use to further His kingdom, then they really need to use it; all it takes is asking God to provide that opportunity, and He is faithful to do so (Matthew 7:7). Christ made His message relatable to everyone, and we should relate it to everyone in the same way based on the example He gave us.
By Savannah Cottrell