We all know the story of how Satan used God’s own words to twist the truth as he spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden. He caused Eve to question what God said, but what is interesting is how Eve responded to him from Genesis 3:1-5.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?’"
And what is Eve’s response? Instead of repeating exactly what God told her, she added to what God said to Adam which was, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) But when Eve was tempted, she said, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it or you will die"
I am sure that after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden, Eve analyzed that whole conversation over and over in her mind. It would have changed the whole of humanity if Eve had simply acknowledged that God is God and that the serpent is a liar.
While Eve’s ultimate sin has cast a shadow on the ways in which men throughout the centuries and even to this day look at women and their roles in society, in the church, and in the family, Jesus has come! He has risen! The shadow of Eve’s sin and all sin is no more! Not only did Jesus remove sin from the equation, Jesus’ words, teachings, and preaching cast a bright light on the sins of racism, classism, and, yes, sexism, not only in the world but in the church.
Jesus was radical in the way He treated women versus the ways in which women of the time were expected to be treated. Just give this some thought:
In John 2: 1-11, Jesus turns water into wine per his mother's request. He listened to His mother even though He was an adult male, and could just as easily dismissed her, leaving the women servants to deal with the problem.
While women were seen as less important and left to live in the background of men, Jesus decides to heal a dying little girl. And as He moved among a crowd of people, most of whom probably thought that He should be restoring someone more righteous than a little girl, He thrusts an insignificant woman with insurmountable faith into the spotlight when He says, “Who touched me?” Then He looked at her and said, “DAUGHTER, your faith has healed you.” (Mark 5:21-43)
Not long after that, he went to the house of this 12-year-old little girl, not a king, or a leader, or a Rabbi, but a little girl, and said, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”. And she did!
In Luke 13, a woman with a disabling spirit who was physically bent over came to Jesus in the synagogue and was healed. The ruler of the synagogue rebuked her for coming on the Sabbath. Being that she was a woman, she certainly could not question or speak or defend herself. Jesus turned around and rebuked the ruler of the synagogue in her defense.
Jesus, unlike most male leaders of the time, allowed a woman to be in the room as He sat and ate with the Pharisees. She worshipped Jesus instead of doing what she was expected to do, which was to serve the guests. (Luke 7)
Not only did He allow women in the room, but Jesus also had women disciples. And what is a disciple? A disciple is a person who follows and who learns!! Wait, women were permitted to learn from Jesus? Absolutely. There are many references of women disciples, and in chapter 8 of Luke, some are mentioned by name.
So, yes, Jesus saw women as valuable, useful, teachable, and even capable of sharing the good news of the gospel!! Take a look at Mark chapter 16 which describes how women discovered that Jesus had risen. God could have chosen a high priest, a king, a soldier, any man of high influence, or even an ordinary man, but instead, He chose the women.
These women got up early out of a need to serve, even though they had no idea how they were going to move the stone to the tomb. Now that is service and faith! I am guessing they just kept on walking and believing that somehow, God would work that out once they arrived. Perhaps they even believed in their hearts Jesus was no longer there anyway. In any case, it was the women to whom the angel spoke and announced that Jesus had risen! Luke tells us in chapter 24 that when the women share the news with the other disciples, they “did not believe the women because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” Wow!
In Mark 16, we read that, Mary of Magdelene, the woman whom Jesus delivered from seven demons, was the one to whom Jesus made his first appearance! Yes, she believed. She believed that Jesus could heal her. She believed that she had been healed. She believed that Jesus was the Messiah. And she believed that He had risen and stood before her! Jesus gave this good news to Mary of Magnelene and she was given the privilege of sharing this good news with the other disciples.
So, it was, that a woman was deceived in the beginning, but a woman who believed in the end. Women were significant to the gospel of Jesus then and we still are. We are called to believe, to teach, to lead, to write, to speak, to preach, to uplift the Word of Truth through the power of the Holy Spirit. To show the world that regardless of Eve’s downfall, regardless of our own personal sin, we have been made new through the resurrection of Jesus Christ!