Monday, March 28, 2016

What God Thinks About Women

An open-minded reading of the Scriptures reveals Jesus
was perhaps the greatest feminist of all.
Since my wife and I have four daughters, seven granddaughters (plus one on the way), one great-granddaughter, and a daughter-in-law, I suppose you could say I’m very cognizant of women and women’s issues. Often I find myself immersed in the world of femininity. I’ve also read through the Bible, all 66 books, many times. So when I hear people say things like “Christianity is chauvinistic,” or “the Bible is sexist” or “opposed to women’s rights,” I can’t help scratching my head.

True, according to the creation account, Adam – a male – was the first human God introduced to the world. But not long afterward, the Lord declared, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18), so He decided make for him a “helper” or literally, a “completer.” This completer’s name was Eve, not Steve. Even though the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, it was God’s way of saying, “Vive la difference!” as the French later would express it.

I’m not interested in challenging arch-feminists to a debate, but if we look at just four of many possible examples through the eyes of Jesus, we’ll find women are held in extremely high esteem by the Son of God.

Consider, for instance, Jesus’ resurrection. Granted, all of the 12 primary disciples that followed Him everywhere had been men, fitting the culture of the day. But have you ever thought about who were the first witnesses at the empty tomb? It was women. “It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles” (Luke 24:10). I’m convinced this was not due to happenstance, but because God wanted to entrust this happy news – the announcing of this event central to the heart of Christianity – to women, giving them the great privilege and honor of informing others.

How about the woman who entered the house of Simon the leper in the town of Bethany. She proceeded to break an alabaster container and pour expensive perfume over Jesus’ head – and He did not discourage her from doing it. When some present responded indignantly, arguing the woman had foolishly squandered the fragrant oil, Jesus defended her and declared, She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her" (Mark 14:8-9). Does that sound like someone thinking lowly of this woman?

We see the account of Jesus in John 4, interacting with a Samaritan woman – the “woman at the well” – as His disciples went into the town of Sychar. The culture of the day would have dictated that Jesus not even address her because, 1) she was a Samaritan, people who were despised by the Jews, and 2) she was a woman. But He spoke to her with sensitivity and compassion, without judgment even though she had been married five times and at the time was living with a man not her husband. Jesus recognized not only her social and relational struggles, but also her deeper spiritual yearnings.

And then we encounter a woman that the Pharisees – the self-righteous religious leaders of the day – had “caught in an act of adultery” (John 8:3). The culture of the day demanded she, not the man she was with, be stoned for her sin. But Jesus intervened, instructing her pious accusers, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” After the men had sheepishly dropped their stones and retreated, Jesus turned to her and said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" When she responded, "No one, sir," Jesus concluded the matter by saying, "Then neither do I condemn you…. Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:7-11).

I could present numerous other examples from the Bible, both Old and New testaments. Entire books have been written on this topic. But only those ignorant of the Bible, or unwilling to give it an honest, unbiased look, could possibly conclude Christianity – and the God of the Bible – are in any way anti-women.

Jesus was, undoubtedly, counter-cultural in many ways, including His perspective of women. But that’s because as the Son of God, God in the flesh, He was showing His view was – and remains – the right view.

1 comment:

mehrotra001 said...

Women in Indian scriptures, have the highest place. Power rests with Goddess Durga, Wisdom/ Music/ Art & Culture etc. is with Goddess Saraswati and wealth is with Goddess Laxmi. Can there be a life without these three?