How Jesus Broke The Cultural Norm Regarding Women

How Jesus Broke The Cultural Norm Regarding Women

Before we get started, I want to be clear that this article isn’t meant to advance the feminist movement, because, quite frankly, I highly disagree with pretty much everything that modern feminists stand for.

Okay… Now that we’ve established that…

All throughout history, women have been fighting for their “place at the table”. They want to be seen and treated as equals, yet, all throughout history there are instances of women being repressed.

Right up until the early 1900’s women were seen as being a man’s property. They could do only as a man told them to do and nothing more. If a woman’s husband died, the house she lived in was passed down to the closest male relation, if she only had daughters or didn’t have children at all, she was left at the mercy of a distant relative that may-or may not have allowed them to stay on in their home.

Yet, all throughout the Bible, Jesus is seen to test these cultural norms. He didn’t see women as only useful for bearing children and keeping a house. He didn’t see women as intellectually inferior. No! He spoke to women like they were intelligent beings that had purpose beyond just being wives and mothers.

It was through a woman the knowledge of Jesus first came to the Samaritan people;

“Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!”  When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” ” John 4: 39-42

Not only that, but Jesus broke the cultural norm by letting Mary sit and listen to him as he taught-something that simply did not happen during these times.

“Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” ” Luke 10:39-42

In a time where women were thought of as only being useful to run a home and raise children, Jesus made points to display that women were meant for more! He showed that a woman could sit and listen and be taught the scriptures-and not only be taught them, but that she could comprehend the scripture just as much as any man. He taught that it was a woman’s testimony that could lead people to him.

So how does that relate to modern times?

Well, we have all heard both sides of the story; the chant of the feminists calling for “equality” and the traditionalists who believe that men and women should keep to the tasks “meant for them”.

I want to challenge both of these things by saying that, yes, there are tasks in life that are distinctly a man’s or woman’s, yet at the same time women are more than capable of being in ministry and that women can preach the gospel and-with the help of the Holy Spirit-lead many people to Jesus.

In the United States, the First woman in more than a century was elected to be the Assembly Of God’s National General Secretary! (You can read the full article here)

This is just an example of how God is redeeming and reestablishing that women do have a place in ministry! All this being said, there needs to be a balance! Now, more than ever, the world is needing women who can lead and yet are willing to step back for a man to take the lead where necessary as well as men who are willing to step back and let a woman take the lead because the task is better suited to her than it is to him.

If you look back in the Bible at any of the women who were in ministry, who taught and praught, they knew when to step back and let one of the men take lead. They also made sure they took care of the menial tasks of the day-cooking and cleaning for their counterparts-before they went to tell people about the Good News of Jesus!

“Older women must train the younger women…to live wisely and be pure…” Titus 2:4-5 

This generation of young women is in desperate need of being trained by those who have gone before. Women who will come alongside of the younger generation and teach and guide women who know how to both be in ministry and yet also know how to step back and take care of her responsibilities back home; women who know how to both teach and minister to others as well as knows how to clean and cook and take care of all the mundane tasks of everyday life!

Jesus is redeeming women’s roles in ministry-which is wonderfully amazing– but in the midst of that, we can’t forget the ordinary tasks he has also set out for us in our home lives!



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