Growing up, women were an integral part of my life. My mom went out of her way to ensure I was well cared for, my sisters were by my side, protecting my tiny self from bullies, and my girl cousins helped me with my homework.
I valued them, and they made a huge contribution to my life and to this world.
During His ministry on earth, Jesus stood for the dignity of women, contrary to what the culture of the day stipulated. It is evident through his interactions with women that His view of women’s place in society was radically different from that of religious and cultural perceptions during His time.
Jesus valued women and treated them as the important members of society they were.
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Let’s look at some of His encounters with women:
Jesus Heals Women from Demons and Disease (Luke 8:1–3)
In the Book of Luke, we learn that Jesus has cured Mary Magdalene, Joanna—the wife of Chuza (a manager of Herod’s household)—and Susanna, rescuing them from diseases and evil spirits. The passage says that seven demons have come out of Mary Magdalene, who goes on to become one of Jesus’s most devoted followers. Jesus has healed these women, and they, in turn, are showing their gratitude by financially supporting His ministry. (Yes, the ministry of Jesus was financially supported by women.)
Jesus Heals a Woman on the Margins (Mark 5:25–34)
The Book of Mark tells the story of a woman who has suffered from a bleeding disorder for 12 years. Not only does she suffer physically from this condition, but she also undergoes psychological turmoil, having been ostracized as unclean. But she knows she has a chance with Jesus:
“For she said to herself, If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.”Mark 5:28
The sick woman gathers her courage, touches the hem of Jesus’s garment, and is healed instantly. When He looks for the person who has touched Him, she throws herself at His feet. With love and care, He says to her,
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”Mark 5:34
Jesus Defends a Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8:1–11)
A woman accused of committing adultery is brought into the temple by a group of angry men intent on degrading her and testing Jesus. They insist she be stoned according to the law of Moses. Jesus doesn’t contradict them but calmly suggests that he who has never sinned be the first one to throw a stone. The men slip away, chastened.
Once Jesus and the woman are left alone, He affirms to her that she is free to go—and, more importantly, free of condemnation.
Jesus Loved His Mother (John 19:25–27)
While on the cross, Jesus beseeches His disciple John to take care of His mother after He is gone. Even in His pain and suffering, Jesus has the needs of His mother, Mary, on His heart. This is a clear demonstration of His commitment to her and love for her.
Jesus Appears to a Woman First (John 20:11–18)
Jesus assigned Mary Magdalene the vital task of being the first witness to His resurrection—one of the most significant moments in Christian history.
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Further, He instructs her to inform His disciples that He is indeed alive—a direct contradiction of the first-century belief that a woman’s testimony was of no consequence.
One Christian Family
Jesus challenged the status quo on numerous occasions, including in His interactions with women. He came to set us all free and to empower us, women and men, as one Christian family.