Women of the Bible
When we think of the Bible, at least when I do, I call to mind Jesus’ interactions being primarily with men. I mean, Jesus’s twelve disciples were all men. This is a something that I just accepted for a while and never chose to put much thought into it. However, through Lenten journaling and my current weekly bible study, I had a huge realization. Women were there with Jesus all along. Women were walking alongside Jesus from his birth to his death to his resurrection. I felt that Jesus was calling me to allow these women to guide me through His life during this Lenten season. I had the beautiful opportunity to learn and grow with these women in growing closer to God the way they did.
The Mother of God
I began my journey of walking with this women by first going back to the Annunciation. God entrusted His only son, the savior of the universe, to a woman. A woman who was created without original sin who was in God’s plan all along to bear the son of man, Jesus. God could have created Jesus the same way he created Adam, out of the earth. He could have done anything he wanted, but He chose to have a woman carry him in her womb and care for him. When the angel Gabriel approached Mary, he said “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary, you have found favor with God. What an immensely important task to be entrusted with! A woman, given the duty to birth the savior of the universe. Though Mary was frightened, she still accepted her fate in saying “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” We are all called to be servants and accept the task that God is calling each and every one of us. For he will equip us with whatever we need to fulfill our destiny. Even if we think we are not worthy, we know that with Him all things are possible. Even if we need a reminder every now and again.
The Woman at the Well
Not only do we have women present at the beginning of Jesus’ life, but throughout. One of the very first people Jesus revealed His identity to was indeed a woman. He told an ordinary woman of Samar’ia who was an outsider and a sinner. He sees all of us. When this woman at the well said to him “I know that the Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things.” Then Jesus replied that “I who speak to you am he.” Even the disciples marveled that their teacher was talking to a woman of her stature! Yet, she was also given the task of sharing her encounter with Jesus to the rest of the town. She immediately ran to them to tell them of Jesus whose hour was coming.
Mary of Magdala
(John 20: 11-18)
Mary Magdalen is another woman who Jesus kept close company with that baffled everyone around him. She was right next to his mother Mary throughout Jesus’ crucifixion mourning and staying with him until the very end. It doesn’t stop there. Mary Magdalene was the first person Jesus revealed himself to when he rose from the dead. How joyful! Mary was incredibly distressed and hurt when she happened upon an empty grave that once held her savior’s body. What she didn’t know is how monumental the next few moments would be for her. For Mary was so sure that Jesus was dead that she mistook him for a gardener. It wasn’t until Jesus addressed her and said “Mary” that she turned around and recognized him as her teacher, risen from the dead. How significant it was for Jesus to call her by her name for her to realize who stood before her. Not only is he revealing himself to her before anyone else, but he again gives a woman the task of spreading the good news. “Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my father”.
Ladies, do not be discouraged! Christ had a special purpose for the women in his life, as he does for you and me. He intended for us to spread the Gospel in a way that only women can with a special courage, humility, and joy. These women had completely different backgrounds and personalities, but still did something beautiful with their lives for God. There is confusion in our culture about what it means to be a woman. I find so much clarity in reflecting on the lives of these women. He had big plans for these three, and I know he has big plans for you too.