In Praise of Those Women of Faith
It has often been said, “Behind every great man there stands an equally great woman pushing him forward.” Former First Lady, Barbara Bush, underlined this great truth by concluding her 1990 commencement address at Wellesley Woman’s College with these words:
“Who knows ladies? Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the President’s spouse — and I wish him well.”
We have come a long way from the days when women were not much more than mere chattels or slaves. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ changed all of that. The resurrection meant the liberation of all people, and especially women. It is no small detail that the first witnesses were women. In a culture that discounted the testimony of women, this argues heavily for the veracity of the resurrection. Had it been a fabrication, women would never have been accorded the role of first witnesses. Moreover, it was women like Mary Magdalen, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s Palace major domo, and many others, who literally “bank-rolled” the ministry of Jesus and his Apostles (Luke 8:1-3). Then, as one reads the record of the church’s growth in The Book of Acts, it becomes clear that women occupied very important and trusted roles. Women such as the mother of John Mark, author of the Gospel of Mark, Priscilla, Lydia, Phoebe, Apphia–all were instrumental witnesses alongside the Apostles. The list goes on and on. Many of these women will be the focus over the next several weeks in my new series on Extraordinary Women of Faith in the Bible. Let me encourage everyone, both men and women, to engage yourself fully in this important study series.
In a day when we struggle over equality and role identifications, it is interesting that the one thing Christianity did was give significance to everyone—both Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, all colors, all races, all languages. “Christ died for sins the just for the unjust in order to bring us, one and all, to God” (1 Pet 3:18). And that is the really good news out of the empty tomb. Pastor Mike