Jesus And Women

Did He treat them fairly?

Magdalen with the Smoking Flame, by Georges de La Tour (c.1640)

By modern day standards Jesus probably would be thought of as being unfair to women but he was much, much fairer to them than anyone else of His time. Jesus wasn’t merely righteous, He was intelligent. He realised that in that era if He elevated womens’ position too far, there might be a backlash that could end up with them being in a worse position than they were to begin with.

It is certainly true that the 12 disciples our Lord chose were all men. In those times, women had a lower status in society and so would not have had such authority when they spoke, as men would have been perceived to have. Jesus understood this and He needed people who would be heard to to get the message out, so He picked those people most likely to be considered credible to, to carry his message and teaching; men.

There were not any female Disciples; or were there? In strict biblical terms probably not, however the dictionary of today defines a disciple as ‘one who embraces and assists the spreading of the teaching of another’. Although Jesus’ Disciples number just 12 in the Bible text, He had other followers too some of whom were women, who clearly could fit the definition of Disciple.

Jesus needed people to carry his word to the world, so He needed people that would be listened to with credibility. In his time, it had to be men but nevertheless he treated women far, far better than probably anyone else of that time. So could Jesus have been fairer to women? Maybe, but perhaps only in private not publicly.

If Jesus were here today, I think He would treat women fully as equals. As a man of his time, albeit radical for that time, he treated them with as much respect as he could in that culture and society.  So could Jesus have been fairer to women? Probably not at that time but maybe you think otherwise.


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