Jesus and Women
Jesus and Women
Jesus Jesus Christ is believed to be the son of God who is a historical person that lived in Palestine about two thousand years ago and research has it that Christians who are believed to be his followers traditionally acknowledged him as their Lord and Savior and they take the initiative of imitating him since they believe that He lived a life without blemish and thus it is their duty to imitate him as much as possible.
As far as Christianity is concerned then the description of moral issues is based on the basis of the texts from the bible and is fully authoritative and bear the stamp of God’s authority and it can still be applied in our lives today directly without compromise. Though most people tend to give attention to the voices of Christian tradition that is outside the written scriptures, some to the psychological arguments, sociological, medicinal or even evolutionary biology and others to their personal intuition, we are all influenced by the culture of our times whether we like it or not.
Character is a very important thing in our lives since everybody will want to know how to associate with you according to your character since character determines a lot about an individual and that everybody including those outside the church have the idea of seeking guidance that is authoritative in our habits and the culture of our present times and this gives a lot of problems to Christians who want to participate in debates that deal with morals.
Research also states that reading the bible is like listening to a conversation that has many voices that continues to speak to us and arguing in our hearts and we feel like it continues in us as time goes by thus we need to have intelligence and creativity in the interpretation as we listen to it.
Mostly when questions were asked to Jesus during his mission, they were surrounding the references of the laws of Moses since people wanted to know his attitude towards the laws and people also wanted to know what they could learn from his attitude in order to get help on how to address similar issues in their own days whether the bible has something to say about it or it is silent.
The bible gives evidence that the attitude of Jesus to the Old Testament was not straightforward since he highly respected the law and giving interpretations that strengthened it though on the other hand he sometimes seems to set the law aside and finding himself in a position of arguing with legal elders of his time. As we try to learn the character of Jesus, it is noted that some of his actions such as the healing on the Sabbath and welcoming people who are unclean such as the woman who committed adultery tends to bring contradiction to the way people regard him and it also reveals an approach that is flexible to the aspects of the law.
A woman who was found committing adultery was supposed to be stoned to death according to the laws of Moses but when it happened during the time of Jesus and the woman was brought to him his response contradicted the law completely because he did not condemn the woman nor judged her actions but instead asked anyone who had not sinned to throw a stone at her but they all left without doing so as Jesus wrote on the ground and asked the woman to go and leave her sinful life and she was forgiven her sins and all this was a critical point of view of many elders of his time.
This action of Jesus triggers a lot of questions as far as women are concerned such questions as was Jesus a feminist? Or was he just showing love and compassion to the woman? And many questions that still remain unanswered to date because the verse in John 8:1-11 in King James Version gives a different meaning to what is recorded in other bible versions.
The love and compassion that Jesus had mostly leaned on the side of the inferior people in the society such as the lame, the blind, sinners who needed to be saved and also the women who were seen to be inferior beings in the society by the people of his time and also the old testament times since they could not be allowed to read the torah and thus Jesus wanted to call all these people to the equality that he believes they have in the kingdom of God.
The status of women during the time of Jesus and also in Palestine as a whole was that of people who were considered to be inferior although there were still heroines at that time. There are no negative attitudes that are indicated in the gospels by Jesus towards women and thus research has it that Jesus is considered to be a feminist because by his actions he tries to bring out the value of women that was not seen or was neglected by everyone and that women did not have any value in Palestine.
The attitude of Jesus is considered to be a positive attitude since he is the only person who did not disregard women as people who are inferior in the society and he does not portray it through the primitive Christian communal point of view of women and this gives out his feminist attitude which is referred to as feminism and is the personalism that is highly extended to women and is considered to be the constitutive part of the gospel which is the good news of Jesus.
Jesus action towards the woman who committed adultery is really not to be questioned as far as positive attitude is concerned because in many occasions in the gospels Women were treated as second-class citizens and also treating women not as persons but as sex objects and they also expected Jesus as he was one of them to do the same. Seeing a woman as an evil sexual creature does not necessarily mean that she is was one of the points that Jesus wanted to get to the minds of the Pharisees when they saw the woman who came to wash the feet of Jesus with her hair when they were having dinner at a Pharisees house.
Jesus wanted to make a difference in the opinions that people had towards women since that was one of the only way he could give them hope because nobody could give the women a second chance due to their strong beliefs that women were not supposed to be treated as humans but did by showing them that women deserve equal treatment to men through his actions of forgiving the woman and not condemning her.
The language that Jesus used when responding to the issue of the adulterous woman is seen to be a critical language that is used to enlighten the moods of the reader and to make the people who were hearing the message from Jesus to understand what he fully meant by telling them to throw a stone at the woman if they did not have any sin.
Jesus is still not in a position to be condemned since the laws of Moses indicated that both the woman and the man should be stoned to death once caught in the act of adultery and this was not the case when the woman was brought to Jesus because the woman was brought alone and it is evident that she did not commit adultery alone and that the people were referring to the laws of Moses and so they were the people to be condemned anyway through their unfair action.
Due to facts that women were never regarded as of any value, the character of Jesus proved to be unique and with a plan since he was the only person who could see the value of a woman in any given situation whether good or bad since the woman who committed adultery was considered to be an evil person who was not even supposed to be in the presence of Jesus and never expected that Jesus could treat her the way he did.
The translations of different versions of the bible concerning this event of the adulterous woman has to be criticized since they all portray different opinions that don’t give a matching conclusion since the language that can be found in the New International Version is quite different from that in the King James Version and also the New King James Version of the bible. As part of this discussion of Jesus and the women it is good for us to take a close look at other instances where Jesus was seen to be supporting women in the bible or even in his mission.
Most of Jesus disciples were men but he also had women disciples who also played a big role as far as his ministry is concerned. The attitude of Jesus towards women is seen to be a good attitude since he taught them the gospel, what the scriptures meant, and the truths in the Christian religion in general. According to Judaism some of the actions of Jesus towards women is considered to be very improper like teaching the women the scriptures and as it is recalled this was very wrong.
Jesus was always seeing the potential of women which other people could not see and through this he tried his level best to break some of the customs deliberately in an extraordinary way since this custom was invidious to women As the men tried to tempt Jesus with a question regarding the adulterous woman he did not tense because he knew that the same people who were condemning this woman were also sinners, he used a style of rhetorical questions where he did not have to answer them the way they expected him to do so.
There were many women who were following Jesus both the married and the unmarried and they all wanted to be part of his ministry since they had been given the privilege to have a say in his ministry that made them feel like they belong somewhere since they had been feeling rejected by all people and they had been feeling very inferior in the society since nobody was in the position to give them a helping hand in their weaknesses.
In the book of Luke 8:1 the presence of women in the number of disciples that Jesus had is felt since there are those who are even mentioned by name in the sentences with the twelve disciples when Jesus made his way through towns and villages and the twelve were with him preaching and proclaiming the word of God which was the good news of the kingdom of God.
At that time the twelve disciples were with him as well as certain women who were there to provide for them the resources that they needed. The roles that were played by these women in early Christianity are the same as those played by the present deacons of the churches today since in the Greek language the words used in the bible such as “provided for” has the same meaning as the word “ministered to” as used in the gospel of Mark.
It is significant to appreciate the freedom of women being in a position to follow him and minister to him when it is recalled that women were not even supposed to leave their households whether married or still a daughter of someone and even being allowed to read the scriptures or study it in the more observant settings. The connection of women to Jesus is still very intimate even during his resurrection from the dead because there are other three accounts of the resurrection of Jesus in the bible that are all related to the raising of a woman, Jairus’ daughter in the book of (Mathew 9:18.
; Mark 5:22. ; Luke. 8:41. ) The second resurrection that was performed by Jesus was that of the only son of the widow that lived in Nain, Jesus had compassion on her and asked her not to weep and made his son well. The other resurrection that Jesus performed which was the third resurrection was that of Lazarus at the requests made by his sisters Martha and Mary who were also women in the book of (John 11:43-44).
For Lazarus to be resurrected it was the efforts of the women who were his sisters, at first Martha and Mary had sent for Jesus when Lazarus was ill and when he finally came, Lazarus had been dead for four good days and Martha pleaded with Jesus to resurrect him. Thus Jesus raised one person and the other two were raised at the request of women. In the case of Jairus daughter Jesus touched her corpse but in the case of Lazarus and the Widow’s son Jesus just used words to raise them.
We can wonder why He chose to violate the the laws of the rituals of purity in order to help a woman and not men and also the message about his resurrection is revealed to a woman. Jesus is seen to violate the common code that was concerned with the relation between men and women when he found a Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob and talked to her and yet the Jews were not allowed to talk to Samaritan women and a man would not also speak to a woman in public and once again the messianic nature of Jesus was also revealed to a woman.
Jesus revealed himself as the “resurrection,” to Martha, the “risen one” and also revealed himself as the “messiah” which was his key role in his ministry to a woman again and she immediately bore witness of that fact to all the villagers that were around to come and see Jesus who was the messiah and this would seem like John the Gospel writer was trying to deliberately highlighting this event and clearly wished to reinforce thereby Jesus’ on the equal dignity of women to men that he saw.
As the Samaritans approached Jesus was talking about the field and the sewers and the way people would reap what others had sown. He was speaking of the souls of men directly and he did it in general and not only Jesus in particular though it would seem like the evangelist was also meaning specifically to include the Samaritan woman among those Samaritans since he added the mentioned verse “Many Samaritans of that town had believed in him on the strength of the woman’s testimony…”.
As far as marriage of women is concerned the most important stand of Jesus in relation to their dignity is his position on marriage. He had an unpopular attitude towards marriage though his stand highly sided monogamy and elimination of divorce since both the man and the woman were to have equal rights and responsibilities as they related with each other (Mk10:2; Mt.
19:3 New International Version) This is one of the instances that was rather thoroughly assimilated by the Christian church though it can be doubtless since it was reinforced by many sociological factors and historical accidents like the present strength of the Greek world of the Stoic philosophy though the notion of equal rights between man and woman and their responsibilities as far as marriage is concerned was not extended very far in the Christian marriage.
Jesus had never thought of women as people who could only have their roles as in restricted terms such as only being a housekeeper like when he visited the house of Martha and Mary and Martha was taking the typical role of a woman of being in the house and preparing food for the visitors and complaining that Mary was not helping her and Jesus responded by treating Mary first as a person and applauded her for putting his service as the priority in her life and told her that she had chosen the better part compared to Martha and it was not to be taken from her.
In short Jesus was trying to let people understand that Martha was not doing a bad thing but the way she had put her priorities was the problem that he had since he wanted women to know that women also have the right to engage themselves in intellectual life and also acquire religious authority and spiritual life just as men were called to.
There is another instance in the bible in the gospel in the book of (Luke 11:27 Revised Standard Version) when a woman who was impressed with the way Jesus was teaching and she gave her compliment by mentioning the womb that bore Jesus and the breast that fed him and talked of how happy she would be to have a son like Jesus though it was not typical at that time for her to utter such a word since this reduced his sexual linage of a woman and Jesus felt it necessary to reject it by insisting on the personhood, the intellectual and the moral faculties of a woman by saying that blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.
Jesus has tried in so many ways possible to help people in whichever condition he has found them because even when he was busy teaching a group of men came to interrupt him with the issue of the woman that they wanted him to condemn for her actions of adultery. Jesus wanted to show the equality between men and women and mostly communicate the equal dignity of women and he did this through the parable of the woman and the lost coin and here Jesus projected God in a way that he put him as a woman when the despised tax collectors and the sinners were all gathered around him but the Pharisees and the scribes all complained about it.
Jesus related three parables at a go and they all depicted that God was more concerned with those who were lost and the first story was that of the shepherd who left the ninety nine sheep for one sheep that was lost and the shepherd is God the second story is that of the woman and the lost coin and the woman is God and the third was that of the prodigal son where the father is God and in all this instances Jesus tries to portray a woman as a special being that has equal dignity to a man.
A woman is still regarded as a dignified creature by Jesus Christ since there are other instances in Christian history where the Holy Spirit been associated with a feminine character that is woman like in the Syrian Didascalia where speaking of different offices in the church states that deaconess should be honored as the linage of the Holy Spirit.
Giving the Holy Spirit a feminine lineage would give a rather negative result which would be a rather positive one since in many cases pictures show Jesus carrying the sheep on his shoulder as the shepherd, in the parable of the prodigal son the father takes the position of God the father and finally the woman who looks for the lost coin takes the position of God the Holy Spirit and if this interpretation has existed then it has not been common or maybe it might not be accepted by many people as far as male chauvinism is concerned.
If there is lack of logic for the attribute of the general denigration of the culture of women of the pagan goddesses though Christian abhorrence of pagan gods has never resulted in a Christian rejection of God’s male linage.
As far as the life of Jesus is concerned talking of his attitude in various events is quite hard to understand since his attitude changes from time to time and from event to event because if we take a look at his attitude towards the laws of the Old Testament then we should be in a position to point out that his attitude was not straight forward since he wanted almost everything to have new interpretations from the way they had already been written and that in another possible way he tried to strengthen the laws.
The fact that Jesus ignored speaking the large or great towns in Galilee and using a wide imagery of rural areas in his teachings also tells a lot about his social character and are at variance with the predominantly urban character of the primitive church and it gives no reason that the church concerns have dominated the gospels in the ministry of Jesus. In other words dealing and coming to a conclusion about the attitude of Jesus since it changed a lot during his ministry and this is obscured for us by the orders of the events which are uncertain to talk about.
It can be thought that Jesus was a charismatic innovator and was tamed by experience and maybe he began as a conventional and a man who abided in the laws and later on became disillusioned by the way the laws had to be applied since in adultery he extends the commandments by emphasizing the thoughts to actions, in loving the neighbors he extends to enemies and also performing a miracle on the Sabbath day bringing a controversy in the teachings had already been given out.
It is therefore a fact to say that the attitude of Jesus is not something to come up with a conclusion to since the way it changes it brings about controversies in many possible ways in both his life and ministry at large. References Amba, M. (2001): Introducing African Women’s Theology. Pilgrim Press Ann, L. (1992): The Meaning of Gender in Theology. Problems and Possibilities. Batterd, J. (1995): Marriage, Sex and Violence in the Hebrew Prophets.
Minneapolis. Fortress Press. Bright, H (1998): Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage. Smith And Helwys. Dickey, P. (2000): Feminism Theology/ Christian Theology: In Search of Method. Elizabeth, F. (1993): Searching the scriptures. I. A Feminist Introduction. London King, U. (1995): Religion and Gender. Blackwell, Oxford Letty, M. (1985): Feminism Interpretation of the Bible Mollenkott, V. (1992): Men, Women and the Bible.
New York Phyllis, T. (1978): God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. Rosemary, R. (1995): New Woman New Earth: Sexist Ideologies And Human Liberation. Beacon Press. The Holy Bible, Luke 11:27 King James Version (KJV) The Holy Bible, John 11:42-43 King James Version (KJV) The Holy Bible, Luke 8:41 King James Version (KJV) The Holy Bible, John 8:1-11 King James Version (KJV) The Holy Bible, Romans 8:1 King James Version (KJV)
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 23 September 2016
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