Our church family is reading through the gospels during the weeks of our current sermon series, Jesus The Messiah. A recent reading took me to Luke 8 and the unique role of women in the life of Jesus:
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. (Luke 8:1-3 ESV)
The first century was a male-dominated culture. "Women, slaves and children were classed together. In the Jewish morning prayer, a man thanked God that God had not made him 'a Gentile, a slave, or a woman.'" Despite the cultural "no girls allowed" policy, women played a remarkable role in the life of Christ. Jesus encountered, talked with, healed, trusted, and relied on women. Women had significant roles in the early church as well. Just read Romans 16. As we open the pages of Scripture God wants us to see:
- Joanna, the wife of Herod's household manager, who used her resources to fund Jesus' mission
- Mary who was commended for her worship (read more)
- Rhoda who was noted for her simple act of service (read more)
- The persistent widow for her prayer (read more)
- Priscilla for her kindness and devotion to the gospel enterprise (read more)
- Lydia who provided hospitality for Paul, Luke, Silas, and Timothy (read more)
- Timothy's grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice, whose stellar example impacted him (read more)
This post would run through your lunch hour if I were to identify all the women of our church who make their mark for Christ through selfless service. God sees fit to love people, share the gospel, teach a younger generation, mentor, care for the sick, and lead ministries through the hard work of women. And ladies, you do that while loving your families, caring for your relatives, attending school, and holding down jobs. Amazing!
Closer to home, my mom (now 93) has been a steady example of Christian love and devotion. As for Shannan, my wife of 30 years, let me just say that I know what the writer of Proverbs meant when he said, "She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." (Proverbs 31:10-12 NIV)
Thank you, Lord, for women of faith.
 William Barclay, The Letters To Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. 3rd ed. 2003. Page 74.