The way women are represented in some Christian communities, gives cause for concern.
Women characters the Bible are portrayed as weak, sinful and needy and none are ever the heroes. Every Bible character is weak and sinful, but the men can be held up as role models, but the women are often in the shadows. Women seem to come across portrayed as total failures in every aspect of life, and need a man to come along and support them.
Sermon illustrations with women in them position the women as supporting characters, and are usually silly and appear foolish, especially older women. I have never heard a sermon illustration story where the woman is the hero, and therefore we should all be like her. Perhaps I have not been listening to the right sermons..?
There is a difficulty when a woman displays virtues that could be paralleled with the character of Christ. This becomes a political nightmare, as our philosophy does not allow female strengths and virtues to be that of the Saviour of the world.
This has a detrimental effect on everyone, and because it is also psychological, it shapes attitudes in men and women, and gives rise to prejudice, misrepresentation and unfair treatment in the social situation. We end up regarding each other in a warped way, and the acceptance of this, causes a warped culture within the Christian sphere.
JESUS treated women very differently than present “Christian” culture. Women were the ones who cared for him in every way. They provided a place to rest, food for him and also the 12 men disciples who followed him. They laundered his clothes, mended his sandals, cut his hair and trimmed his nails. The Lord Jesus knew he needed them and he loved their devotion and attention.
Some used their profit in business to provide the things he required and he overlooked none of them. He spoke into their intellect, as He did with everyone.
As he died on the cross, a crowd of women who loved him, watched from afar as he hung there to pay for their uncountable sins. They fixed their eyes on his body as life left it and their loving Lord was gone. John was there- that dear disciple, who was always leaning on JESUS, and couldn’t let him go. The women took his body down from the cross and rubbed in some fragrant spices and put him in the tomb.
The tears that would have been shed, the memories recounted as they remembered how JESUS raised Mary and Martha’s brother- Lazarus, and how this man who needed them, could overcome death and rejoice with them, in the victory of his love for failures, that is, every man and woman who has ever lived.
These women were also the first to see JESUS alive again, and he gave them the first message to his disciples, to declare the good news that JESUS is alive. Surely the honours he bestows on his beloved women, and better that all praise or fame.
His love for them is so touching, as he meets Mary Magdalene in the garden of the tomb, and calls her name- so personal, so careful and full of love. What would you give to have him call your name? To be so loved by him in that way, and to know he loves you, as you. It makes every heartache worth it, and enlivens for every work that he calls you to do for him…
Do not take to heart the negativity and downplay of us as women, but rejoice to be counted worthy to be regarded as second best, even as he was.