Jesus showed honor to women. It’s a simple fact. In a society where women were not held in high esteem, Jesus was counter cultural. In an environment where some men thanked God that they were not sinners, dogs, or women, Jesus elevated women to a position of importance. Consider just a few of His encounters with women.
- Jesus praised a woman for anointing him with a jar of expensive perfume. In fact, He said that what she had done would be told to future generations (Matthew 26:6-13). He honored her by causing her actions to be recounted throughout history to this day.
- Jesus praised a poor widow who gave two copper coins to the temple treasury (Luke 21:1-4). He told the disciples that, out of her poverty, she had given all she had to live on. He honored her by praising her sacrificial heart.
- Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well. First of all, she was a woman. Second of all she was a Samaritan (and Jews did not associate with Samaritans). Third of all, she did not have a good reputation. Yet Jesus spoke to her one-on-one and offered her eternal life in Him. He revealed Himself to her as the Messiah. He also commissioned her to share with others what He had done for her and sent her on mission (John 4:1-45). He honored her by giving her purpose and value.
- Jesus healed the woman who reached out and touched the hem of His garment. He called her daughter – a term of endearment. He told her that her faith had healed her instantly when she touched his cloak, and He told her to go in peace (Luke 8:40-48). He showed honor by healing her and blessing her with peace.
- Jesus showed mercy to the woman caught in adultery. He did not berate her or exact the allowable punishment of stoning. He gently told her to go and sin no more (John 8:1-11). Jesus honored her by sparing her life and giving her a second chance to live rightly.
- Jesus granted the request of a Greek woman who asked Him to drive a demon out of her daughter. When Jesus basically pointed out that she was not a Jew, she said that even the dogs eat scraps from the table. Jesus told her that because of her reply, the demon had left her daughter (Mark 7:24-30). He honored her by granting her request.
- Jesus appeared first to women after His resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10). He honored them by giving them the task of being the initial bearers of the greatest news of all time.
Jesus gave value to all the women he encountered. He engaged women outside of his ethnic group. He ministered to Samaritan women and Greek women, even though they were often looked down upon by other Jewish men. He spoke to women with gentleness and respect. He also offered women opportunities to minister. He sent them out to share about what He had done in their lives and even gave women the opportunity to be the first heralds of His resurrection.
Loving like Jesus means honoring women, valuing them as people created in God’s image, and equipping them to use their gifts to minister for Christ.