God’s View of a Woman

The following is a transcript of a spoken message I delivered to a church in Chile, South America. The transcript has been expanded and appears in my book, Jesus: A Theography.

After tonight’s message, if this recording gets out of this room and someone hears it in your country, I will be declared a heretic. I may even be in danger of my life.

Further, after tonight’s message, some of the men in this room may not want me to come back. The women, however, will want me to move here!

Note the following passages:

And THE WOMEN also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the tomb, and how His body was laid. (Luke 23:55)

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with THE WOMEN and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren. (Acts 1:14)

Let’s take a trip back to ancient Israel and look at how women were viewed before Jesus came. Generally speaking, the Jews had a dim view of women. Jewish women were not allowed to receive an education. Hence, they were largely uneducated. Their only training was in how to raise children and keep house.

Women were also largely excluded from worshiping God. In Herod’s temple, there was a special court that stood on the very outside. It was called the court of the Gentiles. The Gentiles could go into that court, but they were limited to that area alone.

Five steps above the Gentiles court was the women’s court. The women were limited to that one area. Fifteen steps above that was the Jewish men’s court. Thus men were given far more privileges to worship God than were women.

A woman had no voice in her marriage. Her father decided whom she would marry, when she would marry, and why she would marry. A woman couldn’t divorce her husband under any condition. Only a man could initiate a divorce.

Jewish women were to be seen as little as possible in public. In fact, young men were warned about talking to women in public. So much so that it was a shame in ancient Israel for a man to talk to a woman in public. Consequently, most women stayed out of the streets.

Women were regarded as inferior to men. They were regarded as property just like cattle and slaves. Jewish males prayed a daily prayer of thanksgiving. This prayer shows how poorly the Jews looked upon women. It goes like this:

Praise be to God. He has not created me a Gentile.

Praise be to God. He has not created me a woman.

Praise be to God. He has not created me an ignorant man.

This was man’s view of a woman in first-century Israel. It was not much better in other cultures. In fact, ever since the Fall of humanity, women have been regarded as second-class citizens—inferior to men. But something happened that changed all that.

Jesus came.

In Jesus Christ we find God’s view of a woman. Not man’s view. Not the American view. Not the European view. Not the Asian view. Not the African view. Not the South American view. Not even the Chilean view. But God’s view.

Jesus Christ is God made flesh. As such, He embodies all of God’s opinions. In His earthly life, Jesus was the visible expression of God Himself. By His actions and His words, we discover God’s view of a woman. And that view was utterly contrary to the prevailing view of His day.

Consider this. When God decided to make His entrance upon this planet, He visited a woman. He chose a woman to bring forth the Eternal Son, the Messiah—the Anointed One for whom Israel had waited thousands of years.

The life of God was first placed in the womb of a woman before it got to you and to me. And God was not ashamed.

Sisters in Christ, this is your Lord’s view of a woman. Take your high place.

But that’s not all. As Jesus ministered, He ripped down all social conventions that were pitted against women. On one occasion, He rose to the defense of a woman caught in adultery. He became her attorney and saved her life. And God was not ashamed.

Jesus was noted for palling around with sinners. He supped with prostitutes and tax collectors. We are told in John Chapter 4 that He met a woman, and He did something that shocked the disciples. He talked to her in public. And He was not ashamed.

Not only was she a woman, but she was a divorcee. But not only was she a divorcee, she was actively living in immorality. Yet not only was she a woman, a divorcee, an adulteress living in sin, she was worse than a Gentile. She was a Samaritan—a half-breed. (A Samaritan was a person with whom Jews were never to talk.)

Your Lord talked to this divorced, adulterous, Samaritan woman in public, and He forgave her of her sins. And He was not ashamed.

Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.

But that’s not all. Jesus Christ had a custom of using women in His parables and making them heroes. He talked about the woman who searched and found her lost coin.

He spoke of the woman who was unrelenting in the presence of the unjust judge who honored her for her persistence. He spoke of the widow who dropped all the money she had into the temple treasury and praised her for doing so. And He was not ashamed.

Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.

Once Jesus was dining with a self-righteous Pharisee. And in walked a woman. But this was not just any woman. She was a woman of the streets—a prostitute. Upon seeing the Lord, she dropped down to her knees and did something unsettling.

In the presence of Pharisees, this woman unbound her hair and poured costly perfume upon the feet of our Lord. This unclean woman touched Jesus Christ in public. She wept, washed His feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair.

This scandalous and improper act mortified the self-righteous Pharisees. At that moment, these religious leaders lost all respect for Jesus and doubted that He was a true prophet. But your Lord was not ashamed.

Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.

But that’s not all. Your Lord allowed an unclean woman to touch the hem of His garment, and He was not ashamed. In fact, He praised her for it. He also gave a Canaanite woman who was viewed as a dog in the eyes of Israel one of the highest compliments He ever gave anyone. He also healed her daughter, and He was not ashamed.

In the Lord’s last hours on this earth, He stayed in a small village called Bethany. It was there that He would spend His last days before He gave His life on Calvary. In Bethany, two women whom Jesus loved had their home: Mary and Martha. They were His friends, and they received Him. And He was not ashamed.

Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.

When Luke writes his Gospel, he refers to the twelve disciples with the shorthand phrase the Twelve. The Twelve lived with the Lord for three-and-a-half years. And they followed Him everywhere.

But Jesus also had a group of female disciples. Luke also used a shorthand phrase to refer to them. He simply called them the Women (Luke 23:55; Acts 1:14). Interestingly, Luke used this phrase the same way that he used the Twelve. 

They were the Lord’s disciples also—the female counterpart to the Twelve. The Women followed the Lord wherever He went, and they tended to His needs. And He was not ashamed.

Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.

But there’s more. The greatest disciples of Jesus Christ were not the Twelve. They were the Women. The reason? Because they were more faithful.

When Jesus Christ was taken to die, the Twelve fled. They checked out. All the disciples (except John) said, “See ya!” But the Women stayed with Him. They didn’t leave.

They followed Him up to Calvary to do what they had been doing all along—comforting Him, taking care of Him, tending to His needs. And they watched Him undergo a bloody, gory crucifixion that lasted six long hours.

To watch a man die a hideous and horrible death is something that goes against every fiber that lives inside of a woman. Yet they would not leave Him. They stayed the entire time. And He was not ashamed.

Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.

Following His death, it was the Women who first visited His burial. Even after His death, they were still following Him. They were still taking care of Him.

And when He rose again from the dead, the first faces He met—the first eyes that were laid upon Him—were the eyes of women. And it was to them that He gave the privilege of announcing His resurrection, even though their testimony wouldn’t hold up in court. And He was not ashamed.

Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.

On the day of Pentecost, the Women were present in the upper room, waiting for Him to return, along with the Twelve.

Unlike His male disciples, the Women never left Him. They followed Him to the end. Their passion for and dedication to Jesus outshined that of the men. And God was not ashamed.

Throughout the Lord’s life, it was the Women who tended to His physical needs. It was the Women who looked after Him. It was the Women who supported Him financially during His earthly ministry (Luke 8:1-3).

It was the Women who cared for Him up until the bitter end as well as the glorious climax. Not the men. The Women were simply indispensable to Him. And He was not ashamed.

But beyond all these wonderful things that the Lord did in showing us how beautiful women are in His eyes, He did something else. He chose you—a woman to depict that which He came to earth to die for—His very Bride. And He is not ashamed.

Sisters, rise to your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.

Brothers, honor your sisters in the Kingdom of God. For God honors them. When our Lord pulled Eve out of Adam, He didn’t take her out of his feet below him. Nor did He take her out from his head above him. He took her out of his side.

Sisters, you are fellow heirs in the Kingdom of God. You are fellow priests in the church of God. You are honored. You are cherished. You are valuable. You are needed.

You are His friends, His followers, His daughters, yea, His own kin.

So sisters, take your high place . . . this is God’s view of you.

See alsoJesus & the War on Women

About Frank Viola

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  • http://frankviola.com/ Frank Viola

    Thx. for the comment!

  • Joshua Rogers

    Wow. Thank you Father for giving me a godly mother who epitomizes these qualities you have highlighted in the Women of the New Testament.

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  • Roberta Jackson

    I’m female and thankful for the posts about Jesus, God and women. As Christian persecution is ramping up in the U.S., I appreciate someone stepping up and speaking in a cogent way on this highly politicized topic. Ignorance (sometimes purposely) on the subject has fueled a massive firestorm that I fear will continue to worsen. I have frequently found myself furious about the misunderstood “Christian” in our country, but we only have ourselves to blame. I was glad to have a link to “Jesus and the War on Women” on Facebook in hopes that some of my democrat friends and family could see what truth looks like. Thank you, Frank.

  • Frank Viola

    Thx. Not making anyone a “foil,” just stating an overlooked fact. In the NT, the women generally outshined the men. In addition, John outshined the other male disciples. Lazarus who never speaks a single word in all the NT was greatly loved by Jesus. Not a big deal. I don’t find any of that threatening and neither should anyone else. I do find it fascinating that some will zero in on one line or word and have that overshadow the entire message. Sorry you had trouble with that line. You do realize that someone else picked that line to promote the post. Which is interesting. Seems like promo lines stick.

    If you give a message like that, I’m sure you would do it in your own way and do a better job according your own standards. :-) Glad you found the blog and that it was a blend of all those elements. The worst thing a writer wants is an apathetic response. :-) Oh, Tim D. is the man! Have a great weekend. You may find the other posts of interest as well as the free book.

  • Doc Mike

    Let me say first that I certainly am in agreement with equality for women. I have argued, taught, and preached that very point for decades.
    Nevertheless, I cannot help but believe that God could have used your sermon just as effectively without the comparison to men or without using men as a foil. Surely when you say “The greatest disciples of Jesus Christ were not the Twelve. They were the Women” you are at the very least implying that the women were superior to the men as disciples.
    In response to your question, I’ve been a regular (lurking/stalking/whatever) reader at Patheos for quite some time. I was drawn here primarily by Dr Tim’s writings; I have continued to frequent the site for the same reason. I am often encouraged, sometimes rebuked (in my own mind), intermittently disappointed, and rarely discouraged or frustrated. (Your post is a blend of the first and the third, FWIW.)

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  • Frank Viola

    Thank you for your comment. When I delivered this message in Chile, both the men and the women were weeping. The room fell silent when I was finished and the men began repenting for treating the women as second class citizens. The women were stunned to discover how much the Lord valued them and their emotions exhibited this also. It was a remarkable moment. Since the talk has been published, many women have written saying it has liberated them to see how much God values them, shattering deep seated inferiority complexes. The post doesn’t say or argue that one gender is greater or lesser than the other. I don’t think the Bible says this and most evangelicals would agree that it doesn’t. Nonetheless, many people, Christian and non-Christian … evangelical and non-evangelical … regard the talk to be valuable for the reasons I’ve given. Your mileage may vary of course.

    I’m new to Patheos so I’m curious how you found this blog post. Thx.

  • Doc Mike

    I simply fail to see the wisdom or value of posts such as these. The net effect is to pit one gender against the other by proclaiming one as “the Greatest!” Why not a post on how the Gentile disciples were so superior to the Jewish disciples? If the latter is rejected as racist (and it should be), is the former not sexist?

    Do we lack sufficient divisiveness in the Church that we need to stir up more?

    I just don’t understand the evangelical mind (in Noll’s sense of the phrase).

  • Frank Viola

    The artist’s masterpiece is always created last. ;-)

  • http://www.progressivechristianitybook.com Roger Wolsey

    well, since women were created after men (according to 1 of the 2 creation stories) that makes women the penultimate crowning glory of creation. i agree. : )

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