Read Luke Chapter 2
Women play many vital roles in the gospels. It is Mary who is seen as essentially the first believer in the Messiah as we just read yesterday. And it is Anna the prophetess who waited patiently and prayed night and day to see the savior of Israel come, and even understood that his ministry would be outward focused. As Jesus grew in stature and understanding, likely other women shaped and formed the experiences he had that lead to the example we find in the gospels of a man who would include women in his circle, teaching them at his feet as a rabbi would teach a disciple. Jesus spoke to women across cultural and ethnic lines as we see at the well in Samaria, and more than that released that woman to bring the gospel to her village. It was women who discovered the tomb was empty and it was women who brought word of the resurrection back to the male disciples.
Jesus had great compassion for the lived reality of women. He stood up to the teachers of his day who taught it was acceptable to take advantage of vulnerable women by marrying them and then looking for a fault somewhere where they might send them away disgraced and deflowered, rather than honor the responsibilities and good faith in marriage. Jesus even stood up to those who brought a women caught in the act of adultery, people who were quick to stone the woman but not name the man in their midst who was equally guilty of the crime.
Despite the equality with God seen in the act of creation at the beginning of the bible, despite the prophecy of Joel being fulfilled in Peter’s early speeches in Acts, and despite Paul’s teaching about how there is now no longer male and female in Christ: the church still struggles at times to grant women equal status. Men, often ignorant of their positions of privilege, can unfairly dismiss and tune out the contributions of women, devalue their work, and limit their opportunities to do the things we see so readily in the scriptural example of Jesus radically including women in his traveling ministry. Jesus had deep spiritual friendships with women; he used his power to heal them physically, and to advocate for them socially.
The video following this devotion might be somewhat controversial due to its language and explosive subject matter, but its ability to help men and women understand the different realities women face are unique and worth the risk in my opinion. It is truly a powerful and unflinching look at the world women inhabit, and I believe one that unmasks privilege and gives us a chance to see the world from a gender reverse perspective. But be warned, you might be offended at some of the language and content. The short video below is in French and its title in English translates as Oppressed Majority.
Query: Where does your striving for humility and Christ-likeness give room for the minority voice? How do you challenge the ways the world receives or rejects you that stand against the God given equality of others as children on God?