A quick history lesson will show that women living in Jesus’ time were far from honored members of society. Women were not respected or acknowledged as having the right to own property, speak their opinions, or obtain an education. Women were some of the lowest members of society, and without a male counterpart, they were relegated to the position of outcast.
Jesus was a master at defying social norms. He dined with thieves, touched those who were seen as unclean, and showed unconventional grace to those who denied and defied him. Jesus ministered to all people, but he took on the risky role of investing in women in a way that shattered social boundaries.
Jesus had a heart for women and included them in his inner circle. He knew the value of Mary sitting at his feet when the rest of the rabbis would have chastised her for being out of place. Jesus chose Mary Magdalene as the first person to whom he appeared after his resurrection. Jesus was not repulsed by the outcasted woman at the well or the woman who had been bleeding for years. Instead of loathing, he offered these women grace and hope. Imagine the culture shift that happened when Jesus, the respected teacher, modeled what it meant to elevate those who were considered “less than” others.
Life for the modern American woman is different than that of women in Jesus’ time, but some things have stayed the same. There are still women whom the world deems “less than.” There are women who are still viewed as “dirty” or “unclean.” Status and wealth are still defining factors in women’s opportunities. Imagine the culture shift that could happen if we approached ourselves and one another through the same lens Jesus saw women—each as a valuable person who has ideas to share and love to offer, as people who are more than their social and economic statuses, as humans who are capable to doing great things for the sake of the Gospel.
Take a minute to think through the different circles of women you know. Is there a woman who needs to be seen today—one who would benefit from a genuine compliment or affirmation? Are you able to offer an opportunity to a woman who might otherwise not have a chance at advancing? Is there a woman who needs community and a friend? An offer to meet for coffee or a walk is an easy way to build a relationship. Is there a woman who is viewed as an outcast—a woman who desperately needs to know she is accepted and loved? A friendly text or invitation to meet might be just what she needs today.
Jesus has a special place for women and that is with him, receiving his daily gifts of love, life, and forgiveness. All are forgiven, loved, and—through his blood—worthy of his gifts. Today we are called to share those gifts with other women as we seek to spread the Gospel and live in community with one another.