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Women’s Day Special Edition – March 8, 2017
Originally Published June 1991
Jesus Christ changed women’s lives infinitely more than the women’s lib movement, the “pill,” famous feminists like Molly Yard, and all the so-called “equal rights” legislation that has been or ever will be passed. Jesus never marched for equal rights, He simply died for them.
It amazes me (I’m obviously still naïve) that both Christians and non-Christians alike fail to verbally appreciate or highlight Christ’s accomplishments on behalf of women in a day and age which spends so much time analyzing women’s rights and roles within the culture.
Until Jesus came along, women were even less than second-class citizens; they were virtually chattel in every culture. Despite their God-given rights and the requirements to protect them as spelled out in the Pentateuch, even male Jews prayed and thanked God “for not having made me a woman.”
Prior to Christ, to be a woman was, at best, a benevolent curse. Even Plato and the Greek culture whose intellectual foundations are worshiped in the West, viewed women as inferior in every way. They were good only for procreation; outside of the home, a woman’s highest station in the culture amounted to not much more than a carefully attended harlot who could, with intrigue, fascinate the probing intellects of the men who were their benefactors. Christ amazed and scandalized the religious community and even His disciples by the unprecedented way He related to women. He openly engaged them in the “men’s things” by discussing theology and world management issues. His most powerful teachings on the resurrection were delivered to Mary and Martha and, likewise, he first made known his own resurrection to his women followers.
It was the women who financially bore the weight of Christ’s ministry support, and a woman, Mary, who elicited his first miracle. His teachings on divorce and remarriage literally rescued women from the capricious and arbitrary male practice of dismissing a wife because she didn’t please her husband. Paul, following in Christ’s footsteps, recognized the reality of the female prophetess, which was no small feat in first-century Jewish circles. In every way, the manner in which Jesus responded towards women as first-class human beings indicted both Jewish, Roman, and Greek cultures’ place and treatment of them.
I rhetorically ask the question, for I believe I know the answer: “Why don’t Christian women challenge Islamic women or Buddhist women or Shinto women to an open debate on women’s roles in religion and life?” Why don’t we challenge women like Molly Yard or Gloria Steinem to openly discuss the debris from their movement including the growing army of middle-aged single women who will never marry and whose fears and frustrations cloud their faces on every street. Men cannot properly address these issues because both our chauvinistic history and perceived self-interest tend to disqualify us. Thank God for Jesus; He at least shows women the real possibility and example of a liberated and secure male in terms of how He relates to them.
Let the other so-called gods and prophets of the ages be openly shown for their true anti-women attitudes. Let Marx and his ideals of a society of shared women and polygamy sit down and shut up. Christian women of the world unite; Jesus, the standard bearer, has given you a ton of ammunition with which to light up the sky of debate. Unlike Muhammed, who was known to have owned slaves and had multiple wives, and Buddha who was indifferent to the whole issue, Jesus stands alone. And that is…