“A warm welcome to Zingcreed, the Christian/Atheist blog that can say things no church-goer would dare to say. In this blog I muse aloud about religion and life. The views expressed are strictly my own. I hope you get something out of it!” Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.
Jesus : “Why must you make this woman feel uncomfortable? She has done a beautiful thing for me.” (Matt. 26:10)
Shane Claiborne, arguably America’s most radical young Christian, discusses Jesus and his women friends and acquaintances in his book “Red Letter Christianity: Living the words of Jesus no matter the cost” p. 107 “Dialogue on women” (the dialogue of the title being with Tony Campolo, his fellow author and former teacher). The title of this Post is my own, the content of it is largely theirs. He describes “episodes ” in the New Testament where women are involved: (I have highlighted all their names)
- Jesus invites Mary the sister of Lazarus to sit with his male disciples and study the Torah.(Lk 10:38-42)
- Jesus broke societal expectations when he sat alone with a Samaritan woman and discussed religious issues with her (John 4:4 ff)
- As Jesus and his 12 disciples went around the country together, several women accompanied them: Mary of Magdala (a.k.a. Mary Magdalene), Joanna, Susanna, “and many others. These women provided for them out of their own resources.” (N.E.B. translation) Or, as the J.B.Phillips translation puts it “Susanna and many others who used to look after his comfort from their own resources.” (Lk 8:1-3). Hmmm… I wonder what that meant in practice?
- Jesus’ interaction with a Syrophoenician woman who asked him to heal her daughter is interesting. (Matt. 15, Mk 7) He puts her down with racist comments about dogs and bread, but she is determined and feisty, saying that even the dogs get to eat the crumbs under the table. (Mk 7:28). Jesus is clearly impressed: he applauds her courage, and backs down. (Yes, he did heal the daughter too.)
- Jesus broke Rabbinical law when he let a menstruating woman touch him to be healed. Jesus said to her “take heart my daughter, your faith has cured you.” (Matt. 9:20-22)
- According to the author of the Epistle to the Galatians, all baptized Christians are one in Christ Jesus, regardless of gender or any other issues. (Gal.3:28)
- When Jesus was crucified, the women remained by the cross while the men all fled. Among them were Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the (un-named) mother of the sons of Zebedee. “Many women there had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him” (Matt. 27:55-57)
- Whole books have been written by feminist theologians about the 2 sisters, Martha and Mary who were so hospitable to Jesus in their home in Bethany. They seemed to understand him better than the disciples did. (Lk 10:38-40) I shall return to them at another time.
- It was women who went to the tomb at dawn and found it empty. Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, with other women, proclaimed the resurrection to the apostles! Thus women were in fact the first evangelists to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus. (Lk 24:9-10)
- Women played key leadership roles in the early church, as when Priscilla and Aquila (Paul’s travelling companions – Acts 18:18) heard Apollos in the synagogue and “Took him aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately.” (Acts 18:26)
- Numerous women are mentioned in Romans 16 from “Phoebe who holds office in the congregation” and Prisca and Aquila who “risked their necks to save my life”, to Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Julia, Rufus’ mother, and Nereus’ sister. Andronicus and Junia are a husband and wife pastoral team.
- The writer of the epistle to the church at Philippi tells us that Euodia and Syntyche “laboured side by side with me in the gospel.” (Philippians 4:2-3)
- In Ephesians 2:14 we read how women and gentiles both have the same status in the temple as jewish men. Second class citizenship is abolished in Christ.
TO BE CONTINUED