Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” – Luke 7:47-48
It is Holy Week – and in keeping with the recent International Women’s Day and our text for today and our times, it goes way back to first century Palestine when the way Jesus treated women was considered revolutionary.
At the end of creation, God made man in His own image and likeness, then remarked that it was not good for man to be alone and hence Eve came into being.
As soon as Mary became a teenager, arrangements were made by her father, as was the custom, for her to be married to Joseph whose calling was a carpenter. From birth, her role in life was set, as she was female and Jewish. God chose her to be the mother of Jesus, and throughout this global village, she has been revered.
Jesus Christ honored His mother throughout His life; and standing close to His cross were His mother, His mother’s sister Mary the wife of Cleophas, Mary the mother of James and John and wife of Zebedee, Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother there and John, the disciple whom He loved standing next to her, He said to His mother, “He is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “She is your mother.” From that time, John took her to live in his house.
Jesus’ honor and respect were not reserved simply for His mother. It was extended to all women, an attitude largely unexpected and unknown in His culture and time. Jesus, unlike the men of His generation and culture, taught that women were equal to men in the sight of God.
Among the group of women who traveled with Jesus and His 12 disciples from one town and village to another proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God were some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases including Mary called Magdalene from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna and many others. These women were helping to support Him out of their own means.
Some of the women were widows and had control of their finances, perhaps all-in-all wealthy by reason of their husbands’ demise, and they cheerfully supported Jesus’ ministry.
Although Jesus worked with the cultural traditions of the first century, He ignored the limitations that had been placed on women by their culture. Women were free to follow Him and to take part in His ministry to the world.
The work of women in today’s world is not limited to just the acknowledgment of a day, but all the days of the year. They rock the cradle and also wear the crown of nobility, acknowledgment and authority. They have mastered the washing board and became elevated to head of the board room. From being the first educators of their infant children, they have become presidents of colleges and universities. They have risen from the prayer room to the pastorate. Women have come from obscurity to vast oceans of opportunities, engagements, industry, discoveries and the list continues to grow.
We give God thanks – for when there was need for the redemptive salvation of lost mankind – He sent His only begotten Son, born of a woman to live, work, die, and be buried; but He arose triumphantly, ascended to His Father in Heaven and assured this lost world that He will come again. O glorious Day!
Women, the time is ripe for us to be about our Father’s business. The harvest is plenteous.