Dear brother and sisters,
Who was Jesus?
Jesus was a person who loved and respected women.
In male-dominated Israel then, women had a low status. Women generally were not respected and not allowed to do certain things. However, Jesus loved and respected women. Jesus looked after them.
Jesus healed the crippled woman on the Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17).
Sabbath: In Israel then, Sabbath was a day to rest and worship. People would not be allowed to do anything on the Sabbath. However, Jesus broke the law. He healed the crippled woman on the Sabbath. To Jesus, women were higher than the law.
Jesus healed the bleeding woman (Mark 5:25–34, Matthew 9:20–22, Luke 8:43–48).
The bleeding woman: Perhaps she had heavy menstrual bleeding or menorrhagia. This was the woman “who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.”
In Israel then, the bleeding woman would be regarded as unclean and she would be isolated from her society. If she had been married, even her husband would have been forbidden to touch her. She was also forbidden to touch anyone.
Not only this woman suffered physically, but she might have been isolated from her society for 12 years. She was a suffering woman.
When she heard about Jesus, she believed in Jesus. She thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” (Mark 5:28) And indeed, “Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:29)
When Jesus knew she touched his clothes, which was a major offense, Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34) This means, Jesus didn’t fear the law. He only cared about the suffering woman. He loved her.
Jesus raised from the dead the son of the widow (Luke 7:11-15).
The dead: In Israel then, the dead would be regarded as unclean. “Whoever touches a human corpse will be unclean for seven days.” (Numbers 19:11)
The widow and her son: The widow was the woman who had lost her husband. When she had lost her only son, no one supported her. She could not have inherited the land. She would have to depend on the charity of more distant relatives and neighbours.
Jesus loved the widow. So Jesus broke the law. Jesus raised from the dead the son of the widow.
To Jesus, his religion is to look after widows. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman and declared first with her that he was the Messiah (John 4:4–26).
Samaritan woman: In Israel then, Jews did not associate with Samaritans. Jesus was a Jew. Moreover Jesus was a rabbi. A rabbi would not be allowed to talk with a woman alone. However, Jesus talked with a Samaritan woman and, even worse, declared first with her that he was the Messiah. He had not declared his messiahship to anyone before, not even his disciples (John 4:4–26)
Jesus chose Mary Magdalene as the first witness after he had risen from the dead (John 20:11-18).
Jesus had the twelves apostles. They all were men. However he chose Mary Magdalene, a woman, as his first witness.
In Israel then, a woman’s testimony was absolutely worthless. Jesus’ rising from the dead is the most important event in the history of Christendom, and he chose a woman to be his first witness.
Jesus loved and respected women. He loved and respected people in lowly places.
Have a Jesus day.
Phạm Thu Hương