Guests: Darold Bigger and Larry Veverka
Key Texts: Mark 5:25-34; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 8:1-3; Luke 10:38-42; John 4:4-30.
Key Issue: This week the lesson looks at the various women who became followers of Jesus. There are quite a few who are mentioned. And there are doubtless many more who are never mentioned. Right from the start, they can been seen involved in Jesus life and ministry. And to the very end they were also present. A careful review of the role these women played would indicate their place and effect was significant. Of course, what we read about those women will have an effect on how we perceive women today. It is unfortunate that issues today are such that the place of women in Christ’s ministry is now diminished.
1. Let us review the record of some of the major instances in Jesus life here where women played a prominent role:
a. Mary Jesus’ mother should come first. Is it not a wondrous thing that God chose a young woman to raise His son? Notice Mary’s response to the enormous and very unexpected request the angel made to her. Luke 1:38, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” What kind of person do you envision this young Mary being? How is it that she accepted this responsibility so readily?
b. Luke 8:1-3 mentions a number of women who followed Jesus on his second Galilean tour. This is of considerable interest because most teachers in those days did not allow women to become followers/disciples.
c. The story in Luke 10:38-42 is long been of interest to Christians, the story of Mary and Martha. Women who have an affinity to working like Martha regularly feel put out by Jesus words to her. They also point out that had things been left up to Mary, the dinner would never have been prepared. So, apparently, there is something to be said on both sides. Rather than seek to advantage one over the other, how can we all find a way to achieve a better balance between meditation/devotional activities, and getting the work done?
d. It is particularly interesting that the women who followed Jesus seem to have been able to get into places, and witness things (like the crucifixion) without having to fear the authorities. Do you think there is a dynamic that sometimes accompanies womanhood that might allow for ministry in ways that are not open to males? How might this affect the prospect of ministry, particularly under authoritarian regimes? (This is not to suggest an inequality here, but, perhaps, a difference in role that should be exploited).
e. The woman at the well is a very interesting episode in Jesus’ ministry. The nameless woman is usually vilified as one who had loose morals. But, when she spoke in her village, people listened to her with great effect. Might it be she was a beautiful, vivacious, attractive, magnetic sort of person (after all, the men lined up to marry her!) who would not be tamed by the men or by social strictures, one for whom marriage did not work because she would not fit the expected, subservient profile? She proved to be a very effective witness.
f. In view of Galatians 3:28, what might you do to open more doors of ministry to women? Do you think things should be equal for men and women in ministry? Do you think there might be different spheres of ministry for men and women, the lines of which should not be crossed?