Jesus is an example of treating women with dignity, respect, and equality. In a culture where women had no real individual rights, little autonomy, and were overlooked at best, Jesus listened to them and set a new cultural precedent in His lived example of how to treat women. Jesus was totally without prejudice and so should we be.
God revealed Jesus' true identity to women before Jesus was even old enough to speak for Himself. God's redemption plan for the world began with a woman. He chose to announce the coming of the Messiah to a woman—Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26–38). After Jesus was born, when He was only eight days old, God revealed that Jesus was the Messiah both to a man, Simeon, and to a woman, the prophetess Anna, at the temple (Luke 2:22–38).
When Jesus was in His ministry years, He was supported by women and they would come to listen to Him teach (Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 8:2–3). He also had friends who were women (Luke 10:38–39; 24:10; John 11:5). Throughout the New Testament names of women and their specific roles within the kingdom of God are mentioned, which was truly revolutionary.
One time, Jewish leaders brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus as an attempt to trap Him into having to choose between obeying the law or contradicting what He had taught about forgiveness (John 8:2–11; see Mark 2:15–17). According to Jewish law, the woman (and the man) should have been put to death (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22). Rather than banishing her to death or affirming her sinful behavior, Jesus used it as a teaching moment when He challenged the onlookers to examine the sin within their own lives by saying, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7). Not one person cast a stone, and they all left. Jesus provided mercy for the woman and conviction for everyone in the crowd (see Romans 3:23).
Jesus had a conversation with a Samaritan woman about her life, which sounds simple enough but was actually quite a powerful social statement. Not only was she a woman, she had an immoral lifestyle, and she was a Samaritan. The Jews were extremely prejudiced against Samaritans. In this conversation, Jesus revealed Himself as the Messiah to her. He used this conversation to bring healing and forgiveness to the Samaritan woman, and through this, He was able to use her when she shared the news of the Messiah with her entire town (John 4:4–42).
Jesus spoke with women, cared for women, and gave them a voice and a place in His kingdom. He shifted the cultural narrative for believers from not considering women at all to instead valuing them equally to men, showing that men and women are of equal worth and standing in God's kingdom. Human cultures may discriminate, but the good news of the kingdom does not discriminate and neither does God. Jesus took the systems of the culture around Him and upended them, showing His followers—and that includes us—a better way of doing things.
Jesus' apostles continued this journey towards true equality for women, which we can see through Peter teaching on marriage and how women should be respected and cared for by their husbands for they are co-heirs to God's promises (1 Peter 3:7). Paul wrote about how we are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). As followers of Jesus, when we are made aware of an inequality or injustice, we should similarly follow Jesus' example: "Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked" (1 John 2:6; see also Ephesians 5:1; 1 Peter 2:21).
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