Archive for the ‘Jesus on Women’ Category

Not the Women You Expected

December 12, 2016
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December brings us all back to the gospels to reread the narratives about the birth of Jesus.

Matthew interests me because his gospel tells us about the visit of the Magi and all the troubles with King Herod. The gospel begins, however, with what some might consider the most yawn-inducing opener of any book ever written: “So here’s the genealogy of Jesus …”

It’s a wonder anyone ever gets past the first 17 verses to the wonderful news of Immanuel (“God with us”). Despite the popularity of Ancestory.com, few people enjoy reading biblical genealogies. The names are unpronounceable, and who even knows who half of those people are?

Matthew’s genealogy is actually worth paying attention to, though, because it contains some hidden gems—details not common to most of the biblical lineage lists: Women! (Read More)

Now Available: The Gentle Savior (2nd Edition)

May 23, 2015
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The Gentle Savior coverI haven’t written a new post in a while, but for a good reason. I’m excited to announce a new edition of my women’s Bible study workbook, The Gentle Savior: Seeing Jesus through the Eyes of the Women Who Met Him.

After discontinuing the relationship with my prior publisher, I self-published this edition. It sports several updates and improvements in the study itself, as well as a new smaller size and better graphic design inside. (Read More)

What Kind of Man Was Jesus?

July 25, 2014
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He v. She?I know I usually write about Jesus and women, but as I study the life of Jesus in the gospels, I am left with some questions about how Jesus embodied masculinity.

I see that he wasn’t very competitive. He said the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

He wasn’t into power or domination. He said that he who would be lord of all must be the servant of all. He said when someone hits you, you should turn the other cheek, and then he went to the cross like a lamb to the slaughter. He blessed the meek and the peacemakers. He taught love of enemies and living through dying.

He usually sided with the underdogs, ministering to the sick, disabled, poor, and marginalized. (Read More)

Have You Seen this Man? Part 2

February 17, 2014
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I often try to imagine what it might have been like to see Jesus in the flesh back when he walked this earth — to look into his face, to feel his smile directed toward me, to speak to him, to hear him teach, laugh, actually speak to me.

I know he was fully a man, but I wonder how different he seemed from other men—other kind and good men of his day. I know for sure that he was different from many of the religious leaders and teachers in his culture, and that’s why so many women followed Jesus throughout his ministry.

His authoritative teaching and healing power drew crowds of people, both men and women, but some things about Jesus probably seemed especially meaningful to women. I wrote about two of these characteristics in my previous post.

Women saw a man who saw them.

and

They saw a man who respected what they had to give.

 

Now, I’ll tell you more… (Read More)

Have You Seen this Man? Part 1

February 3, 2014
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Have you ever worried when your child was smiling and you didn’t know why?

One day twenty years ago, when our older daughter Jessi was four, she and I were in the car together. She was seated in the front passenger seat next to me, when I looked over and noticed that she was leaning forward. She seemed to be looking up at the sky through the windshield, and she had this big, forced grin on her face.

Jessi at age 4

Jessi at age 4

Curious, I asked, “Honey, what are doing?”

“I’m smiling at Jesus,” she responded, as if that was completely normal, and I shouldn’t have needed to ask.

At that tender age, Jessi saw Jesus as a God whom a little kid could smile at and expect a smile in return.

What kind of Jesus do you see?

Two millennia ago the divine Jesus walked the earth in human flesh, and a number of women got to see him in person. I believe preschool Jessi was right about the smiling, and I’ve been thinking recently about what else they saw in this man.

They saw a man who saw them.

Jesus was a busy man on a three-year mission to seek and save the lost, fulfill Old Testament prophecies, and prepare 12 men to turn the world upside down. Jesus was never so wrapped up in his mission, however, that he ignored the people around him. He had an amazing propensity to notice individuals—women, no less—and to stop and engage with them and to LISTEN TO WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY. His conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well is the longest recorded dialog in the Gospels.

A lot of men hate to see women crying. They don’t know how to fix the problem, so they run for the door. The Gospels tell us of four different occasions on which Jesus noticed women crying.  Women who were grieving looked through their tears and saw a man who was still there, smiling with compassion. He saw their need, whether it was physical or spiritual, and responded with healing.

He also saw their faith. He made a point of commending a ritually unclean woman, a Gentle mother, a poor widow, and a prostitute for their demonstrations of faith, generosity, and love.

They saw a man who respected what they had to give.

Brief passages like Luke 8:1-3 and Mark 15:40-41 speak volumes about the role of women in Jesus’ ministry. These women who traveled with Jesus, cared for him, and supported him financially were not women with a pristine past. They were the very women Jesus had noticed and helped. No wonder they followed him.

Jesus enabled them to give what they had to offer, and at the resurrection—the climax of the Christian story—he gave women the key role in finding the empty tomb and witnessing to the resurrection.

Although the Gospel of John omits any mention of these women disciples, it reports a conversation in which Jesus cares very much what Martha believes about him. John’s gospel gives her—rather than Peter—the role of first proclaiming, “I believe that you are the Messiah [Christ], the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:27)

And there’s more…

In my next post, I’ll highlight more characteristics of this man.

People imagine a lot of things about God’s nature, but Jesus came as a man so that you could see more clearly who God is. Be sure that you truly see this man for all he has to teach you.

Jesus on Women – The Summary

November 24, 2012
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Over the past six weeks, I have been sharing with you a series called Jesus on Women. Considering the things Jesus said about women in his ministry has expanded the understandings of God we had already gained by looking at what Jesus said to women. This final post in the series sums up all we discovered.

As Jesus traveled the region of Palestine and taught about the coming kingdom and his Father’s will, he made sure that women knew he wasn’t running a boys-only club. He featured women in his illustrations and made reference to their familiar experiences, clearly communicating that he both invited and welcomed women’s presence among his public audiences as well as his more intimate circle of disciples. (Read More)

Jesus on Women – Part 6

November 16, 2012
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Adultery and Divorce

I’m going to be totally honest and tell you that I saved this topic until last  in the series for a very good reason. I was hoping the extra time would bring some brilliant spiritual insight on some scriptures that confuse me. Alas, it never came.

Yet, I am not deterred from sharing with you some words of Jesus on Women when discussing adultery and divorce.

The first statement of Jesus is easy-breezy to understand and very pro-woman given the culture of the day: (Read More)

Jesus on Women – Part 5

November 9, 2012
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Women in Apocalyptic Discourse

In this series on the sayings of Jesus about women, we have covered instances in which Jesus used women as his story illustrations, as well as statements Jesus made specifically about widows and about women in their family roles. Last week we looked at passages in which women were involved in Jesus’ confrontations with the Jewish religious authorities.

Today we will take a brief look at Jesus’ discourses on the destruction of the Temple and the coming of God’s kingdom (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17, 21), because Jesus mentioned women in these contexts too.

The interpretation of these broader passages has been debated by learned scholars for centuries. I won’t claim enough wisdom to sort out all the details, but I will provide some context. Understanding of these teachings is complicated, because the language Jesus used bears the characteristics of apocalyptic literature.  (Read More)

Jesus on Women – Part 4

October 31, 2012
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Jesus and Women v. Jewish Religious Authorities

The Jewish religious leaders frequently felt threatened by the popularity of Jesus and his refusal to defer to their authority. Twice when they challenged Jesus, he used references to women in his responses. On another couple of occasions, the compassion of Jesus toward women itself became the point of contention.

The Queen of the South (Matthew 12:38-42) 

Some Pharisees and teachers of the law challenged Jesus one day to show them a miraculous sign. Jesus offered only that he would spend “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,” comparable to Jonah’s three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish. Then, he told them, 

The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.  (see also Luke 11:29-32)  (Read More)

Jesus on Women – Part 3

October 18, 2012
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References to Women in Family Roles

This week we will take a look at Jesus’ references to women in the variety of roles we play in our families—mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters. 

Not surprisingly, Jesus reaffirmed the Old Testament commandment, “Honor your father and mother.” He specifically quoted this command along with several others in his discussion with the rich young ruler:

…As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 
(Mark 10:17-19; also in Matthew 19:18-19 and Luke 18:20)

Jesus had referred to this commandment and a related one in an earlier discussion with some Pharisees and teachers of the law: (Read More)