One of the many fascinating aspects of the life of Jesus (as written in the four canonical gospels) is how many stories include women. Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba) are included in Matthew’s version of the genealogy of Jesus. Mary, Elizabeth, and Anna are included in the story of Jesus’ early life. Mary and Martha (the sisters of Lazarus), Joanna, Mary of Magdala, and Susanna are included as disciples who traveled with Jesus during his time of ministry. Mary (the mother of Jesus), Mary of Magdala, and Mary the mother of James and/or Joses are included in the resurrection story of Jesus. Dozens of nameless women who had ailments, illnesses, were widowed, or experienced unexpected loss are all recorded as interacting with Jesus during his itinerant ministry.
In first century Galilee and Palestine, where many women were deemed to be the property of their fathers or husbands, not once does Jesus treat women as being subordinate to men…Not once does he dismiss them from being a disciple, from participating with him in his ministry, from experiencing his joys and sorrows, or from doing life together with him. He treats women as equals.
Women are integral to his story, to his message, and to his ministry. If Jesus discipled both men and women, if he trained both men and women in ministry, if he treated men and women as equals, shouldn’t we do the same?