The earthly ministry of Jesus was supported by women. Two thousand years ago, there were women who made more money than Jesus and his 12 apostles. And they were the ones who provided the finances for their food and travels.
Jesus had zero issues with that. He had no macho pride to hinder it. Actually, they are the only supporters mentioned in the gospels. These incredible women did not merely write a check to cover the expenses. They also served meals, preached the gospel and accompanied Jesus as he moved from town to town.
Fast forward two thousand years later and I’m watching Patricia Arquette win the Best-Supporting-Actress Oscar for her role in the movie Boyhood. During her acceptance speech she said, “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights, it’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
And Twitter went crazy.
(So did Meryl Streep.)
“Yes!” I thought. “Jesus agrees with Patricia Arquette.”
I know that it’s hard to mix religion and politics. It is dangerous (and a lot of times, stupid). Yet if done as beautifully as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did it, it is necessary. We the people of God have an opportunity again, to stand up for what is just. Because it really is mind-boggling that a woman in America, working exactly the same job, and having exactly the same preparation, would not make exactly the same amount of money as a guy.
I know that other issues appear to be “more spiritual” or even “more important”. And maybe Jesus is not that interested in the politics of it, but I have no doubts that he’s committed to showing women the honor and respect they deserve. And I believe we should do the same.
You see, in the times of Jesus, Jewish rabbis comfortably began every temple meeting with the words, “Blessed art thou, O Lord, for thou has not made me a woman.” #Yikes
However, Jesus took a completely different approach.
Completely different approach.
We read the Bible without realising that addressing women directly, and in public, was extremely unusual for a Rabbi to do. “For women and other oppressed people, Jesus turned upside down the accepted wisdom of his day. He violated the mores of his time in every single encounter with women recorded in the four Gospels.” – Philip Yancey in Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News?
When the woman broke perfume over his feet and washed them with her hair, or the woman with the issue of blood touched his robe, or he took the hand of the dead daughter of Jairus, or Mary sat at his feet listening to his teaching, whenever those multiple occasions happened, they defied all the normal rules of that society.
With his ministry, Jesus taught that women were equal to men in God’s eyes. That they could receive forgiveness and grace. That they could be among Christ’s personal followers. Full participants in the kingdom of God. And these ideas were revolutionary!
It seems like they continue to be.
Sometimes male leaders in the church fight hard to push for the “guidelines” set by the Apostle Paul concerning women (the ones that seem antiquated and irrelevant). And yet at the same time they ignore the incredible legacy Jesus left for the role of a woman with authority in the ministry. Paul himself made the most stunning invitation to us (the male husband) to, “Love your wives as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for her.” Which is the highest standard and the greatest sacrifice, and the main verse we men need to focus on.
I want to become a man who believes in the destiny of the women around me and who works hard to protect them from the traditions and people who would hold them back.
“The church should be the safest, freest, and most empowering place for women – …But the fact remains that the patriarchal paradigm still exists in the church.” – Danny Silk from Powerful And Free: Confronting The Glass Ceiling For Women In The Church
It is ironic that with the low status of women in his day, “the first Christian preachers of the Resurrection were not men, but women.” Jesus did not first appear to the leader of the church, Peter, or even the beloved disciple John. He appeared to Mary and the women who followed him and served him. Mary saw him first, and she became the first person ever to let other people know, “He is alive!” – The ultimate message of Christianity.
Deliberately he appeared to Mary first. He was sending his church a message spoken through actions, not words. And he is sending the message still today.
I have five strong and beautiful sisters. I was raised by a funny, God-fearing, hard-working mother. My best friend in the world, and wife of 10 years, is a gorgeous English lady. I have been surrounded by powerful ladies my whole life. And I am grateful to God for their tenacity and example. The image of God is incomplete without their compassion, their strength, and their radiance.
I hope we have the guts to at least say something about it. To call it as it is: wrong, unfair, outdated, and incredibly dumb.
And if you think this is not that big of a deal, ask a female doctor or lawyer or teacher or pastor or the single mom who is making less than her male counterparts. They would write to say, “it is wrong.” And I know Jesus is willing to make it right.
A Hollywood actress stood up for your cause today ladies. We (the church) got next.
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And as always your comments are welcome below.