A 1st Century Look at Interactions with Women & Jesus

By Dr. Laurel Shaler

Take yourself out of the modern day, “who runs the world – girls,” gender equality mindset, and reflect on the fact that almost 2,000 years ago, the Savior of the World chose to reveal His resurrected self, first to women. And not for nothing, but Mary Magdalene was a former demon-possessed gal. But when Jesus liberated her – as He has countless others – she became a faithful follower of His. Along with Joanna, Susanna, and others, Mary Magdalene helped support Jesus financially.  She loved Jesus. And He loved her.

The fact is that Jesus loved women. I have heard it said that the gospel of Luke is the ‘gospel of women.’ In the first chapter, Mary, the mother of Jesus, visits Elizabeth and shares the words of her now famous song. Mary was with Jesus throughout His time on earth, and she was there at the cross, as well. But it wasn’t unusual for Jesus to interact with women, and there are many of these interactions recorded throughout Scripture.

In our 21st century, we often overlook these encounters because they don’t seem out of place in our current society. But, make no mistake, it was not common for a man to speak to women in that day and age, at least not like Jesus did. The book of John records two of the most well-known examples of his dealings with women. People often confuse them but the Samaritan woman (or the woman at the well) and the woman caught in adultery are not one and the same. This is important because it proves that it was not a “one and done” kind of event. It was not an anomaly. Jesus spent a great deal of time with women. 

Today, men and women frequently interact with little fanfare. To be sure, there are ongoing discussions, debates, and even arguments about whether or not one man and one woman should be alone together. There is still talk of the “Billy Graham Rule,” which has now shifted to talk of the “Mike Pence Rule,” (where men should not be out alone under any circumstance with another woman). Regardless, for most of us, women and men being together in a wide variety of settings is not unusual. Jesus sat with women, ministered to women, admonished women, and taught women during a time when it was highly out of the ordinary. But it wasn’t unusual for Him. Jesus did not care what people said or what the consequences would be for Him. He was – and is – God, and because of that, He already knew what would happen. Long before He overcame death, He knew how He’d reveal Himself to the people He walked among as a man. 

The disciples first heard about the resurrection from women because the resurrected Christ first appeared to those women and told them to spread the word. This is Holy Scripture and this is why we need to hear about the resurrection from women: the same women that Matthew and Luke tell us about; the same women that shared the Good News with the disciples share the Good News with us. But, there’s one difference between us and the disciples. The disciples didn’t have the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Even though they walked intimately with Jesus and knew He promised them He would return, they still did not believe the women when they heard the news. The NIV says that they thought what the women were saying “seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11). Of course, we know now that it is not. And the disciples caught on to that pretty soon after discounting the women, as so many had done before. But women can’t be discounted because Jesus Christ didn’t discount women! He doesn’t today either. As Paul says in Galatians 3:26, there is neither “male nor female…for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” While we do not lose our uniqueness as men and women, this verse does mean that we are equal at the foot of the cross. The resurrection of Christ Jesus is the most important event in history.  And it was for us all. Take the word of a woman.

Disclaimer: All views expressed by those associated with this ministry or on our platforms do not necessarily represent the opinions of Women in Apologetics, Inc. or its individual team members.

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