Christianity’s Contributions: Women respected (Part 2)

This month, the blog series focuses on how Christianity changed the world in terms of respect for women.  The Christian church’s attitude toward women as people worthy of respect and consideration was modeled by Jesus Himself.  Throughout the Bible, one sees many instances of Jesus interacting with women and giving them due honor since they are made in God’s image.

For example, in John 4:5-29, Jesus spoke with a Samaritan woman.  While this may not seem like evidence of a change in attitude toward women, it was.  By speaking with this woman at the public well, Jesus basically ignored rabbinic teachings like, “He who talks with a woman (in public) brings evil on himself” (Aboth 1.5).  Even as He spoke with this woman, Jesus revealed to her that He was the awaited Messiah.  The woman in turn testified to people in her town that Jesus was the Savior.  Many came to faith through her testimony.  By breaking a cultural taboo, souls were saved.

Another example of Jesus interacting with women shows Him teaching Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42.  This also was a taboo.  Rabbinic teaching on the education of women was seen in the words of Sotah 3.4, “Let the words of the Torah be burned rather than taught to women.”  Since women are worthy of eternal salvation along with men, Jesus saw fit to teach these sisters.  Later, Mary and Martha would be there to witness Jesus raising their brother Lazarus from the dead in John 11.

Eventually, Jesus Himself would rise from the dead, and women were there to tell of the event.  He chose to appear to various women after His resurrection, sending them to the Apostles to announce His victory over the grave (see Matthew 28:10).

Besides the 12 Apostles and many other disciples, Jesus had women followers as recorded in Mark 15:41 and Luke 8:1-3.  It is no wonder that the Christian Church followed the example of Christ and elevated the status of women.  More on that in the next blog.

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