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Introduction: Jesus Honors Women

Gender Equality

The journey towards gender equality in Christianity doesn’t begin with Christ’s death and resurrection; rather, it finds its roots in Jesus’ teachings.

These teachings, especially when viewed against the social backdrop of His time, were nothing short of revolutionary.

Understanding the context of Jesus’ era, or even reflecting on our society a century ago, reveals the groundbreaking nature of His message for women’s liberation and the emancipation of slaves.

Women’s Status in Jesus’ Time

Gender Equality

In Jewish society, women were not regarded as independent persons, a fact underscored by Deuteronomic law which denied them the legal status of witnesses.

Additionally, while men could easily divorce their wives, the reverse was not true. This was the context in which Jesus taught, a period dominated by the conservative Shammai school and the liberal Hillel school, both of which discriminated against women.

Hillel’s Interpretation of Divorce

Hillel’s liberal interpretations allowed husbands to divorce their wives for trivial reasons, such as no longer finding them attractive, minor cooking mishaps, or even a change in their appearance.

Jesus’ Teachings Against Divorce

Against this backdrop, Jesus’ teachings on divorce were not just about the sanctity of marriage, but also about protecting women’s rights in a patriarchal society where a woman’s survival could be jeopardized by divorce.

Jesus’ Radical Inclusion of Women

Gender Equality

In a time when women were not supposed to teach the law, Jesus broke societal norms. He taught Torah to many women, treating men and women equally and testifying to the gospel under the Old Testament law.

Among the women who received special instruction from Jesus was Mary, whom He praised for her love of teaching, a revolutionary act for the time.

Mary Magdalene: The First Proclaimer of the Gospel

Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection, making her His first witness. This act defied Deuteronomic law and was a bold statement about women’s roles in the early church.

The Gospels proudly record this, highlighting that even Peter, the leader of the disciples, became a witness to Jesus’ resurrection through Mary’s testimony.

The Role of Women in the Early Church

Gender Equality

According to Luke, it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James, who first told the apostles about Jesus’ resurrection. This act of making women the first proclaimers of the gospel came from a Judaism that discriminated heavily against women.

Yet, the early Christians did not consider this proclamation by women to be invalid; instead, they recorded it proudly in the Gospels.

Questioning Modern Attitudes

Despite this clear biblical record, many self-proclaimed conservative churches, especially in the Korean context, argue against women preaching, going against the biblical precedent set by Jesus.

This raises critical questions about whether these attitudes and arguments contradict the will of Jesus Christ and undermine the legitimacy of the gospel.

Conclusion: The Importance of Defending Biblical Truth

Gender Equality

It’s crucial to defend biblical truth, but it’s also important to recognize when certain conservative views are not defending scriptural truth, but rather, perpetuating unbiblical preconceptions and biases. These attitudes can be unconvincing and counterproductive to the mission of the church.

Dive deeper into your faith with our enlightening summary lecture on John Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion,” a must-watch for anyone seeking to enrich their understanding of Christian doctrine and its profound impact on daily living. Explore the core of Calvin’s theological insights and how they can illuminate your spiritual journey, exclusively Here.

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