The most neglected texts about women in ministry in the entire Bible are texts about Mary, and because our class has been looking at Mary of late, I thought I’d make a few suggestions about Mary and Ministry for women. It won’t do to dismiss these points as nothing more than what only the mother of Jesus could do.
I’ll suggest that Mary was first in many ways.
1. Mary was the first to know about arrival of the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of the Most High God (Luke 1:26-38).
2. Mary was the first to surrender to God’s new redemptive plan in Jesus (Luke 1:38). One could say she was the “first disciple” from this.
3. Mary became — however you care to say it — the first witness to Jesus Christ. Only she was there at the very beginning, so only she was able to tell this story.
The words we use, the words that shape what we believe, are words that have their human origins in Mary.
6. Mary is the first (along with Joseph) to hear that her Son would not only cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, but that the “sword” would pierce her own soul — surely an indication of the crucifixion at some level (2:33-35).
7. Mary is the first (perhaps along with Joseph) to hear that her Son had a unique and transcending relation to his Father (Luke 2:41-50).
9. Mary, with others, was the first to participate in the Spirit of Pentecost (Acts 1:14).
Put together, we’ve got Mary as not only a unique person in history but a dynamic woman minister — she verbally and theologically shaped how you and I understand who Jesus is.
Can anyone tell me why Mary is so often neglected when it comes to talking about women in ministry?