The Role of Women Followers of Jesus
"And when day came, he (Jesus of Nazareth) called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also named as sent ones (or the English transliteration 'apostles')... (Luke 6:13)
"Soon afterwards, he began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means." (Luke 8:1-3)
"Calling them to himself, Jesus said to them, 'You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all'. " (Mark 10:42-44)
The only reason that things are not clear on this issue is because of contemporary women of the world (that includes the vast majority of christian women) not wanting to be servants, especially not a "slave of all". Women are not exempt from coveting power and authority over others, for women have pride too, just like men.
Here are some facts that have a direct bearing on this issue.
Jesus of Nazareth did not choose one woman as one of the twelve sent ones. To argue that he was constrained by the culture would call into question all of Jesus' actions and teachings as being governed by 'the culture' instead of governed by his Father. In fact, Luke 8:1-3 tells us plainly that women did travel around with Jesus, and so even a 'the-culture-would-forbid-women-traveling-with-Jesus' argument holds no water. Jesus did not choose a woman as one of the twelve because Jesus did not believe that women should be in the role of being the main or primary examples of following Jesus. If Jesus of Nazareth wanted women to be the lead examples of following him, he would have included at least one women amongst the twelve, and yet he did not. It is not necessary to look further, but we will.
Unlike today where christian women sue their religious organizations for discriminating against women by virtue of women not making up at least 50 percent of the board of directors, Jesus of Nazareth validated his Father's natural order - which order has existed since the beginning of creation - and didn't give it a second thought. God created "male and female", male first and then female as the helper. Jesus choose twelve men, and the women, like in Luke 8, were the men's helpers.
There is not one example of a woman teaching a group of disciples that included men. It was always men taking that role.
Jesus identified the Most High God as his Father, not mother. Jesus of Nazareth was a male, not a female. Obviously God wants us to know him as a Father, which includes male-ness. Obviously God, who is Spirit, does not have a physical aspect to male-ness, but rather a spiritual one. In these days, when lawlessness is increasing so rapidly, it is difficult to know how a Father is to be any more, for there are so few good examples of such. The weak, submissive, confused, apathetic man as father is the current sad model today. But for a person who has not lost all discernment, it is very easy to identify the spiritual aspects of Father-ness which again carries with it a gender identification, while not a physical manifestation.
Women have a very special place in God's kingdom. They compliment men, as God has created women so differently from men. As is obvious from the passage from Luke 8 quoted above, women contribute much to supporting the men as they do what they are called to do. So, in reality, the women have just as important a place in serving God as men, it is just that their role in serving is different. They are to be the helpers, not the decision makers. They are to be daughters, not sons. Women are just as valuable to God as men are, but they are different and should stay in roles where their differences can best be expressed and used.
Women's role in the natural family, as wives and daughters, is to be submissive to their husbands, dads and elder male relatives. Women's role in the Family of God is to be supportive helpers, and not part of the male decision making group.
Women who have children have one of the most important roles in both the natural family as well as the larger spiritual Family. A mother's job is to raise and train her children in the ways of the Lord...to prepare them to be faithful followers of Jesus. This is a time consuming, often difficult and demanding job - oftentimes more difficult than the work of the husband. Of course women disciples who are raising their children teach their children themselves (known in the world as "home schooling"), and so the task of raising and training the children becomes more difficult as the number of children grow. Truly, being a faithful and loving wife and mother is a role second to none as we try to follow Jesus together and encourage others to do the same.
If you are a women reading this, and you are offended at these simple truths, then perhaps you have a problem with pride or fear? You need to ask yourself why you are offended with trying to be "the lowest servant" to all around you. And please, before you point the finger at the men around you who you feel are not doing a very good job at being the lowest servant, why don't you be the example, for in this way, you might really help them to see their need.
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