Women Disciples

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Women Disciples

Picture Credit:
The Holy Women at the Sepulchre
By Peter Paul Rubens, 1614.



T he Bible has been used for years to oppress and limit women.  Yet Jesus clearly elevated women from property to persons  to partners in ministry.  No basis exists in the gospels for denying leadership to women in ministries of evangelism, preaching, teaching and pastoral care.  Paul's writings have been taken out of context and distorted to oppress and alienate women.  Jesus and Paul both were revolutionary in their acceptance and respect for women.

Women in the synagogues were neither seen nor heard.  They were required to sit behind a screen when the law was read for fear that angels, thought to be present at any reading of the law, might be seduced.  Rabbinical traditions about Genesis 6:1-8 blamed the union between "the daughters of men" and "the sons of God" (angels) and the Great Flood on the seductive powers of women, which is a constant theme in the Old Testament.  See Proverbs 7:1-27; 9:13-18.  This is why Paul said in I Corinthians 11:10 that women should cover their heads "because of the angels." 

Religious rules in the time of Jesus forbid women to read the law or speak in the synagogues.  No woman could be a rabbi or the student of a rabbi.  Women could not be Priests, Pharisees, Scribes, Sadducees or Levites.  Women could not go to the synagogue during their menstrual flow.  When a woman had a baby, she was "unclean" and could not go to the synagogue for a month.  If the baby was a girl, the woman was "unclean" for two months! 

A rabbi would not speak to any woman in public, not even to his own mother.  Some Pharisees would not even look at a woman in public; so they shut their eyes whenever a woman came into view!  A woman was the property of her husband. Adultery was against her husband or father, not against the woman.  But Jesus said in Mark 10:11, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery AGAINST HER." 

Devout men prayed three times a day to thank God that they had not been born slaves, Gentiles or women!  Since a woman could not be circumcised with "the sign of the covenant," she was included only by her relationship to her husband, father or brother.  See Paul's clear challenge to this in Galatians 3:28-29.  Many other rules and traditions made religion totally "a man's world" in the time of Jesus.

Read: Luke 8:1-3; 10:38-42; 23:49-24:12: John 20:1-18; Romans 16:1-6; Galatians 3:26-29.

Update for Christmas 2003

God and Jesus were having a discussion in heaven about how to get the world's attention when Jesus came to earth.  God said, "Let's let your mother be an unmarried homeless teenager named Mary.  That should be noticed.  And it was.  We celebrate the event every Christmas.

The discussion continued.  Jesus said, "How will we get the attention of the world when I am resurrected from the dead?"  God said, "Let's let the first person to see you after the resurrection and to be the first apostle and preacher of the good news be another woman named Mary.  She will be a woman with a bad reputation that you have helped along the way.  So they arranged for Mary Magdalene to be the first witness to the risen Jesus and to be the first preacher to proclaim the Gospel.  The world noticed.  But soon forgot.

2000 years have gone by.  God and Jesus have been discussing what to do to get the world's attention back on Jesus instead of on churches and abusive religion.  God said, "We need a whole army of "Mary's"!  There is a already a special group of people who are gay and lesbian and who like to go around calling themselves and each other "Mary"!  Let's use them to bring the whole world back to Jesus.  So they did.

Rembert Truluck
Christmas Eve 2003

Take a look at this Christmas Greeting!

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