"Woman, behold thy son!"
In a time and culture where women had very little worth, God made a way. When God made the decision to repair the fracture in the spiritual realm, He had the power to simply appear on the scene. Instead He chose a woman as the instrument of His earthly arrival. Doing so allowed Him to become one of us but also allowed Him to show the worth of a woman.
All throughout Christ’s earthly ministry, He reached out to women. In fact, if you read the Gospels, you learn that women traveled with Jesus and they worked behind the scenes. We don’t memorize their names, but they were there just the same. Women also financially supported Christ’s ministry.
“Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” Luke 8:3
Reading the Gospel also allows you to learn how Christ reached across the gender divide to touch women’s lives and affirmed them as equal partners in God’s kingdom. The woman at the well is one example. Someone who not only carried the stigma of being female in a male-driven society, she was a woman of ill repute. Christ spoke to her and reached out to her at her point of need. She, in turn, proclaimed Him as the One True Messiah.
The woman caught in the act of adultery is another beautiful example of Jesus understanding the double standard women were forced to face. When the crowd sought to stone her, Jesus realized she could not have been caught in the act alone. Guilty men were allowed freedom from public ridicule. Guilty women were used as the public whipping board.
To make Christ’s story even more amazing is the fact that the women in His life stood by Him even after His death. While His male disciples were disappointed, afraid and went into hiding, the women continued to hold a public vigil of grief. Jesus stood up for women while He lived and women stood beside Christ during and after His death.
As Jesus hung dying on a cross, the sign of capital punishment in His time, He remembered His mother. His earthly father, Joseph, was long since deceased and Jesus knew women struggled living alone in a society that didn’t see them as more than a piece of property. Christ called out to her from the cross and appointed His friend John to take care of her.
“Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother and her sister, as well as Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold thy son.” Then He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” So from that hour, the disciple took her into his home.” John 19:25-27
From the cross, He cried, “Woman, behold Thy son!” From His Spirit He shouts, “Women, behold Your Savior!”
The older I get and the more I read scripture, I realize just how often Christ worked with women and worked for women. I’m not sure why that surprises me since Jesus’ entire ministry was to seek and save the lost while offering a hand to the oppressed. Poverty and personal worth were key aspects of Christ’s ministry. Women in Christ’s day were victims of oppression and were devalued. His love brought healing to their wounds and scars. They returned the favor by remaining loyal and active in His ministry.
Christ leads women from the place of victim to the role of survivor and then empowers them to become warriors for Him.
*The artwork entitled, “Victims-Survivors-Warriors” is copyrighted along with this blogsite.