Wednesday, May 12, 2010

For the Women


I appreciate the tender and respectful treatment which Luke's Gospel gives to the women of Jesus' time. We must remember that women were effectively chattels with no independent commercial or judicial standing. They were married off by parental arrangement. It was shameful for them to consider training in a trade. They were physically separated from the men in the places of worship. They were subject to the whims of the husband in the eventuality of divorce.

But then Luke speaks of Elizabeth the priest's wife; young obedient Mary of Nazareth; the widow of Nain; the sinful woman at the feet of Jesus in the pharisee's house; the infirm twelve year old daughter of Jairus; the faithful woman with the issue of blood; Mary Magdalene and others who ministered unto Jesus of their substance; the attentive sisters Mary and Martha; the importunate widow of the parable who persevered before the judge; the mothers who brought their little children for Jesus' blessing; the poor widow with her sacrificial offering in the temple; the women who wept on the Via Dolorosa; the women who lovingly came to the tomb for final respects to Jesus' body; the earliest witnesses to the resurrection.

Might I add a thought on that final item. It has been argued that if the disciples were concocting a story of the resurrection of their Master, they would not have used women as the primary and most direct early witnesses. In the prevailing schemes of men at that time women were not competent witnesses. But in the schemes of God...

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