Jesus had a way with women. I’m not suggesting he was some kind of tomcat or lothario, rather that the gospels show him facing off with men everywhere, while women sought him out, anointed him, traveled with him, and quietly financed his ministry.
Soon afterward, Jesus traveled through the cities and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom. The Twelve were with him, along with some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses. Among them were Mary Magdalene (from whom seven demons had been thrown out), Joanna (the wife of Herod’s servant Chuza), Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources. (Luke 8:1-3, CEB)
This picture of the traveling company of disciples, male and female, follows two stories in which male figures question not only his authority but his sense of how the world works (Luke 7:18-8:3). First John the Baptist’s disciples come to question whether he really is the one, and he responds that no one is ever happy, either with John’s ascetic approach to life or with Jesus’ more relaxed embrace of eating and drinking with both friends and foes. Names have been called, clearly: Glutton! Winebibber! (Thanks, Greek interlinear!) Next, he dines with a Pharisee who thinks he must be stupid for not recognizing a sinful woman when she came right up and anointed his feet with fragrant ointment.
How slow not to see that women loved him *because* he knew exactly who they were!
When I hear contemporary complaints about the feminization of the church, or hear that all a church really needs to come back from decline is a good, strong, male pastor, I wonder if people have ever read their Bibles. These women will be ready to go to the cross with him. He must have given them some sense that their faith mattered to him, in a world where what they thought may not have mattered much at all. Somehow, they knew they could rely on him.
Thank you, God, for caring that we believe in you. Thank you for encouragement to take the risks required to follow you. Thank you for being reliable. Amen.
I’m reading and blogging about Luke for Lent. Want to read along? The full schedule can be found here.
(And yes, today’s title is another Hamilton nod.)