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Jesus’ Radical View of Women

Jesus went out of His way to challenge the cultural biases against women that were pervasive in Israel during the New Testament era.  We must understand that in the primitive world in which Jesus lived, women were considered little more than property. They were also viewed as evil, ignorant, and repulsively immoral. This was the view taught by Jewish religious leaders, who did not allow women to enter parts of the temple and segregated them from men in the synagogues. Many in that time believed that to acquire a wife was to acquire the “best possession”.

In Jesus’ day, women were considered the source of all evil because they represented sexual temptation and the original sin of their forebearer, Eve. And because they were valued only for their subservient role as wives and mothers, they were not permitted to be taught by rabbis. Basically, women were inferior servants, and their place was in the field, at the well, or in the kitchen. If they ever left their houses, they were expected to be veiled. They were not allowed to talk to men in the public (except their own husbands), and they were not permitted to testify in a court of law - since the witness of a woman was considered untrustworthy.

It was into this context that the Messiah came, preaching a message of unrestricted access to the Father's love. Because women in the twenty-first century have basic human rights, we often take for granted the revolutionary aspect of Jesus’ bold efforts to elevate women in a society that degraded them. What seems like a normal action to us – Jesus’ intimate conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, for example - was really a dramatic act in a culture in which it was inappropriate for a man to speak with women in public.

Jesus welcomed women among His disciples, and He angered other rabbis by breaking this ironclad cultural restriction. With so many instances of Jesus’ personal interaction with women in the Gospels (Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet; the “sinful woman” who anointed Jesus’ feet; the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well; the woman who was caught in adultery; the bleeding woman who was healed, and so on), it's become obvious that He was underscoring an important truth -  that He came to redeem women from their sinful condition and elevate them to experience His Presence as true followers of the Messiah. The Gospel we preach today should have the same effect on the women who hear it.

What is needed in the church today are women who are ablaze with the Holy Spirit.  What we need in this hour are women who have a passion for Christ, who yearn for His Presence, who love the loss, whose hearts have been set on fire by His Holiness. We need women who have discovered the joy of their calling in Christ and are ready to proclaim the glory of God and influence those in the territories that they have been called. God has called and created each of us for a special role. Are you ready to walk in your calling?

Excerpt taken and summarized from “10 Lies the Church Tells Women by J.Lee Grady”.