Consider the following texts:
"And THE WOMEN also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the tomb, and how His body was laid."
"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with THE WOMEN and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren."
Let’s take a trip back to ancient Israel and look at how women were viewed before Jesus came. Generally speaking, the Jews had a dim view of women. Jewish women were not allowed to receive an education. Hence, they were largely uneducated. Their only training was in how to raise children and keep house.
Women were also largely excluded from worshiping God. In Herod’s temple, there was a special court that stood on the very outside. It was called the court of the Gentiles. The Gentiles could go into that court, but they were limited to that area alone.
Five steps above the Gentiles court was the women’s court. The women were limited to that one area. Fifteen steps above that was the Jewish men’s court. Thus men were given far more privileges to worship God than were women.
A woman had no voice in her marriage. Her father decided whom she would marry, when she would marry, and why she would marry. A woman couldn’t divorce her husband under any condition. Only a man could initiate a divorce.
Jewish women were to be seen as little as possible in public. In fact, young men were warned about talking to women in public. So much so that it was a shame in ancient Israel for a man to talk to a woman in public. Consequently, most women stayed out of the streets.
Women were regarded as inferior to men. They were regarded as property just like cattle and slaves. Jewish males prayed a daily prayer of thanksgiving. This prayer shows how poorly the Jews looked upon women. It goes like this:
Praise be to God. He has not created me a Gentile.
Praise be to God. He has not created me a woman.
Praise be to God. He has not created me an ignorant man.
This was man’s view of a woman in first-century Israel. It was not much better in other cultures. In fact, ever since the Fall of humanity, women have been regarded as second-class citizens—inferior to men. But something happened that changed all that.
In Jesus Christ we find God’s view of a woman. Not man’s view. Not the American view. Not the European view. Not the Asian view. Not the African view. Not the South American view. Not even the Chilean view. But God’s view.
Jesus Christ is God made flesh. As such, He embodies all of God’s opinions. In His earthly life, Jesus was the visible expression of God Himself. By His actions and His words, we discover God’s view of a woman. And that view was utterly contrary to the prevailing view of His day.
Consider this. When God decided to make His entrance upon this planet, He visited a woman. He chose a woman to bring forth the Eternal Son, the Messiah—the Anointed One for whom Israel had waited thousands of years.
The life of God was first placed in the womb of a woman before it got to you and to me. And God was not ashamed.
Sisters in Christ, this is your Lord’s view of a woman. Take your high place.
But that’s not all. As Jesus ministered, He ripped down all social conventions that were pitted against women. On one occasion, He rose to the defense of a woman caught in adultery. He became her attorney and saved her life. And God was not ashamed.
Jesus was noted for palling around with sinners. He supped with prostitutes and tax collectors. We are told in John Chapter 4 that He met a woman, and He did something that shocked the disciples.
He talked to her in public.
And He was not ashamed.
Not only was she a woman, but she was a divorcee. But not only was she a divorcee, she was actively living in immorality. Yet not only was she a woman, a divorcee, an adulteress living in sin, she was worse than a Gentile. She was a Samaritan—a half-breed. (A Samaritan was a person with whom Jews were never to talk.)
Your Lord talked to this divorced, adulterous, Samaritan woman in public, and He forgave her of her sins. And He was not ashamed.
Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.
But that’s not all. Jesus Christ had a custom of using women in His parables and making them heroes. He talked about the woman who searched and found her lost coin.
He spoke of the woman who was unrelenting in the presence of the unjust judge who honored her for her persistence. He spoke of the widow who dropped all the money she had into the temple treasury and praised her for doing so. And He was not ashamed.