What can we learn from Luke about Jesus’ attitudes to women?
In order to discuss what we can learn from Luke about Jesus’ attitudes to women we must first understand a little about Luke himself. According to Charpentier E (1981:81) Luke had been seen as the, ‘beloved physician’, which is also cited in Hayes, M A. and Gearon L (1998:145) whom further state that Luke travelled with Paul from Troas to Philippi in Greece, Paul, (Col 4:14) expressly calls him, ‘the beloved physician’. He was in fact Paul’s medical adviser. Luke’s acts were written in c AD 80.
The status of women in Palestine during the time of Jesus was very decidedly that of inferiors. The women is, ‘in all things inferior to the man,’ as stated by first century historian Flavius Josephus (as cited by Jesus central.com). Historically and traditionally, Jewish men did not speak in public to women even to their own wives. However, Jesus never treated women in the expected ways of his culture at all. He talked with them, he taught them and he also expected and trusted them to be able to proclaim the Good News. Jesus therefore acted and spoke as if women and men were equal before Gods eyes. According to churchofgoddfw, Luke’s gospel portrays Jesus as the one, ‘…who fully accepted women. Regardless of their social or marital status.’
It seems that Luke give’s greater prominence to women throughout his Gospel. It is obvious that Mary plays a central role in Luke’s Infancy narrative according to Hayes, M A. and Gearon L. Mary’s role in history was to be an extraordinary one. God chose her to be mother of Jesus Christ. ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ (Luke 1:34-38) Though Mary knew she was facing shame and humiliation, in faith, she willingly submitted herself to God’s will. Mary acted in great courage and faith. Jesus therefore honoured his mother throughout his life and also at his crucifixion. Mary was actually at the foot of the cross where Jesus compassionately let her know that she would be cared for after his death and resurrection. At the same time Jesus rejected the notion of woman’s role within Luke (8:19-21),
‘Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him. ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’ He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.’
Here it seems Jesus refutes the notion of gender-restricted roles (women have their place). However, here it also seems that Jesus is saying that they do not have favoured status because of their family or gender relationships, rather a relationship with Him is attentiveness and regards for Gods’ Word, according to Gods word to women.org.
Through reading Luke’s Gospel, Jesus’ honour and respect was not solely reserved for his mother ‘Mary’. It was extended in fact to all women, which is unexpected as mentioned earlier. Moreover, women became disciples and followers of Jesus (Luke 8:1) Mary Magdalane, Joanna, Susanna and several others journeyed with Jesus on his travels and are also present at his crucifixion; whilst the disciples flee; at his burial and at the tomb on Easter Day according to Hayes and Gearon. They become the first preachers of the Easter message (Lk 24: 1-13). It therefore seems that Luke makes a point that women are the first to come to Easter faith according to Hayes and Gearon and the first to proclaim it. According to Judaic Law, ‘women were not allowed to bear legal witness,’ as cited by Jesuscentral.com. However, the fore mentioned bared witness of the risen Jesus Christ to his disciples. Luke highlights here also that Jesus revealed himself in one of his key roles according to Jesuscentral.com, ‘as Messiah, to a woman.’ The Life Light Home Study Course also highlights that Luke emphasizes, ‘the fact that it was women that were the first resurrection evangelists.’ The fact...
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