This one is going out to all those who’ve told me they would never listen to a woman or follow a woman because it’s unbiblical, unseemly, or because women’s voices are too high-pitched. Take a breath, folks. Look at what Jesus did. Go and do likewise…
When Jesus walked the earth, gender inequality was so entrenched in Jewish society that an adulteress could be stoned without trial and men could divorce their wives for virtually any reason.
In a nation of God-fearing and moral men, women were considered little more than property. They were servants whose place was in the kitchen or the field.
Some of the religious leaders taught that women were ignorant, yet there was no point teaching them because they had weak minds. Since women were untrustworthy chatterboxes, their testimony had little value in a court of law.
Then along came Jesus.
Jesus encountered all sorts of women, good and bad. Yet unlike the rabbis and the philosophers, he never diminished their humanity. Instead, he treated them with respect and kindness.
By including women in all that he did, Jesus provided us with a prophetic picture of the kingdom come. He showed us the world as it was always meant to be.
As Gene Edwards has said, “To see how Jesus treated women is to understand what God thinks of women.”
Have you ever noticed how Jesus began his earthly ministry by listening to a woman? The woman was his mother Mary and all she said was five words: “They have no more wine.”
Mary and Jesus were at a wedding and their hosts had run out of wine. Mary knew that her son could do something about it.
At first, Jesus seemed reluctant to help. “Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come.” But Mary turned to the servants with a smile and said, “Do whatever he says” (John 2:1–11).
Jesus told the servants to fill some jars with water, wine came out, and that was the first time Jesus publicly revealed his glory.
It’s a great story. But if all you see is the wine and the wedding, you have missed the significance of the woman.
Look again at how Jesus responds to Mary. He does not say, “I was already planning to make wine,” for that would diminish Mary’s part in the story. Instead, he chooses words that draw attention to both her lowly status and influence. He calls her woman, tells her this is not the right time, and then he does what she suggests.
We are left with the impression that the miracle at Cana was entirely her idea.
It’s like Jesus was saying, “Woman, because you said it, I’m going to do it.” And this at a time when men did not listen to women.
Do you see? By choosing to reveal himself in response to her words, the Son of God effectively made Mary a partner in his ministry. He heeded her. He followed her lead. Then he made sure that John recorded the story so that we would never forget it.
Extracted from Paul’s forthcoming book The Silent Queen: Why the Church Needs Women to Find their Voice. Pre-order your copy now.