Jesus the Feminist

As I have been reading through the Gospels this summer, I have not found anywhere that Jesus acted in a way that is contrary to feminism (simply the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of gender equality). Because when Jesus came to Earth he came to save women. 

Jesus and the women of the Gospels

As Jesus was born, honour was brought to the teenage mother. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a woman whose spirit rejoiced in God, the one she declared Saviour. She was humble but never weak. (Luke 1:47)

As he walked, Jesus knew that the blood of his ancestor Rahab walked with him. A woman who was a prostitute but who was also a model of so much more. She was courage and faith and hospitality. (Matthew 1:5).

As he talked, Jesus berated the Pharisees for not being like the Queen of the South. A woman who travelled from the ends of the Earth to know more of God. She was wisdom and discernment and leadership. (Matthew 12:42)

As he travelled, Jesus listened to the plea of a woman whose daughter was possessed. A woman who fell at his feet and with steeliness asserted her entitlement despite her place. She was shrewdness and wit and determination. (Mark 7:24)

As he watched the offering place, Jesus lauded the gift of the poor widow and raised her up. A woman who, out of her poverty, put in everything. She was both meekness, obedience and dignity. (Mark 12:44)

As he ate, Jesus accepted the abundant anointing of a woman who his host looked upon with disgust. A woman who was unholy but who was certain that Jesus was king. She was gentleness and love and faithfulness. (Luke 7:36)

As he preached, Jesus heard a woman in the crowd who cried out a blessing on his mother. He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it”, a blessing upon this woman, telling her that his words were for her, his words were a recognition of who she was. A woman who had made her voice heard. She was fearlessness and defiance and audacity. (Luke 11:27)

And, as he stopped for a drink of water, he brought rest to one who was restless, running from her past. A woman whose unfaithfulness had isolated her, but a woman who is addressed by Jesus as an equal, who is an outsider who is brought in. She is invited and restored and saved. (John 4)

Because when Jesus came to Earth he came to save women.

And as he completed his mission on Earth, and was raised to life, it was women who were entrusted to spread the news. Those whose gender prevented them from being witnesses in a court of law were honoured by being the first witnesses to the greatest event in history. And let us not forget the many women who were apostles and disciples and leaders in the early church. Dorcas, praised for her service to the poor. Junia, declared as being outstanding amongst the apostles. Tabitha, explicitly named as a disciple. Priscilla who lead a church in her home, and Phoebe, who may have been the first person to ever read Romans to a congregation (for she was effectively the courier for Paul’s letters). They were all invited, restored and saved by the the blood of Jesus.

The Gospels show us that Jesus was a feminist 

How the Bible is Feminist

We have already seen how the Gospels show us that Jesus was a feminist. He treated them as equals, invited, restored and saved them.

And the Bible also tells us that all are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). That the only qualification to be a disciple, or one who teaches, leads, heals, serves or prophecies in the name of Jesus, is to have a love of God. And gender could never disqualify anyone from that.

The Bible also teaches that the only authority is God. And so to feel indignation at the authority of man, where it oppresses and prevents Christ’s redeeming work in the lives of women, is a biblical thing. It is therefore a mistake to think that a woman’s place in the kingdom of God is one only of silence or submission.

A woman’s place is to be the love of God to all people in whatever way she knows how. 

The women we find in the gospels, as models of this. Women of humility, not of weakness, of courage and faith and hospitality, of wisdom and discernment and hospitality, of shrewdness and wit and determination, of meekness, obedience and dignity, of gentleness, love and faithfulness, of fearlessness, defiance and audacity. For all women are invited, restored and saved by Jesus.

Christianity and Feminism

What we are told by the gospels should lead us to feminism. Because the gospel is all about God’s provision of redemption for women in the world. God’s love, mercy and justice. And this is a world in which women are mistreated, mutilated, abused, raped and abandoned, a world in which women are policed for what they wear on a beach in France, attacked with acid for the crime of going to school in Afghanistan, banned from driving in Saudi Arabia, prevented from owning land in Lesotho, a world in which women are under-represented, underpaid and undervalued.

Because God is a God of justice, who is therefore concerned with the central modes of injustice. And to the extent that feminism fights injustice, it is directly linked to God’s redemptive movement. Because God’s kingdom is a kingdom of gender equality, where all are valued equally. And so being a Christian should synonymous with doing something about feminist issues. Because Jesus was a feminist and we should be too. 

Because when Jesus came to Earth he came to save women. 

3 thoughts on “Jesus the Feminist

    • Rachel says:

      What you need to lead well is a dependency on and love of God. My view is that so long as gender doesn’t impact on that, women should be fully included in the leadership of the church.

      Like

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