Summary: "What Jesus really meant", standing up for truth over tradition.
We are back and speaking out on our favorite subject "What Jesus really meant", standing up for truth over tradition.
Our last truth was dealing with HIERARCHY and the opposite of hierarchy is equality, and Jesus was a radical egalitarian. The early church reflected this value, as we can see from the hymn that Paul quotes: For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:26-28 )
The equality of men and woman was a thing so shocking in the patriarchal society of Jesus’ time that his own male followers could not understand it. " And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled ( ethaumazon) that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seeekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? " (Joh 4:27 KJV)
It was a source of scandal for women to travel openly with a rabbi; but "many " women followed Jesus through Galilee (And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. (Luk 8:2-3 KJV)
After a close study of social conditions in Jesus’ time shows that Jesus was defending the woman who would be criticized in His era for acting outside her condoned space, entering the world of the learned (signified by siting at the deet of the Teacher (Luke 10:38-42 ). So far from closing women into a closed convent away from the world, He was becking them to come out into it, to join men in knowledge and action!
Please note Gentle Reader: There was a crowd of women followers at the cross, when all but one of the male company had run away or stood far off. There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem. (Mar 15:40-41 KJV) Three of these women who were at the cross were also the first to discover the empty tomb and to anounce their findings to the male followers, becoming the first evangels of the Resurrection. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. (Luk 24:1-11 KJV) One of these women was the first person to converse with the risen Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (Joh 20:15-17 KJV)
Women continued to play a prominent role in the early gatherings. They were prophets ( I Cor 11;5 ). The apostle Paul addresses them as leaders in the various gatherings he formed- Chloe in Corinth, where she speacks for "her establishment" (1 Cor 1:11 ); Phoebe, the manger (diakonos) at Cenchreae (Rom 16:1); Apphia at (probably) Colossae (Philemon 2), where Nympha was also a leader Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. (Col 4:15 KJV). At Philippi, Eunoe and Syntyche And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. (Php 4:3 KJV). Lydia, the dealer of fabrics, lead a whole group of women instructed by Paul (Acts 16:13 ) Other women mentioned as partners in ministry activity. Junia (there has been a concerted effort for centuries to make Junia a man because of how Paul addresses her). Paul calls her along with her husband an emissary (apostolos=apostle) And some will tell you Gentle Reader, only men can be Apostles,! Junia and her husband Andronicus shared Paul’s imprisonment (Rom. 16:7 ). Prisca and her husband are "fellow workers who risked their own necks to save my life," so that the whole assembly owes them a debt of gratitude (Romans 16:3-5) Paul refers to four women - Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis - as having "toiled with effort" (kopiaein, Romans 16:6, 12) for the Christians the same verb he uses for his own activities ( Gal 4:11, Col 15:10).