MR says: Many of Christ's most poignant and transforming teachings involved women, and these teachings radically changed the way women were viewed and treated in ancient Jerusalem.
For more about Christ's powerful interaction with women, check out "Jesus & Women: 4 Powerful Moments from the New Testament."
During His ministry, Jesus Christ restored sight to the blind and mobility to the lame. He restored the higher law of love and forgiveness. He restored Melchizedek Priesthood authority to act in God’s name. Yet one of the most important things He restored is rarely discussed: He restored the sacred nature of the family and marriage by re-establishing a noble image of women and children.
In order to appreciate the dramatic change that Jesus made to the role of women and their relationships, we need to place His teachings in the context of His day. How did Jewish, Greek, and Roman men treat women and children? Combing through their volumes of documents, letters, poems, plays, histories, and holy books leaves the impression that in many cases their family relations went awry. We find startling differences when we compare their pages of misunderstandings, oppression, and dysfunctional relationships, to the New Testament stories of Jesus’ tender interactions with women and children.
Christ made abrupt and radical changes that restored women to a place of value with eternal potential.
During his mortal ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ loved, taught, healed, and interacted with numerous women. More than fifty specific women are introduced in the New Testament, with multitudes of others numbered among the Savior's followers. Whether these women were identified individually by name or simply mentioned as a devout follower in the crowd, their stories of sacrifice and eager service have rich meaning and application for our lives today.
In this well-researched and richly illustrated companion volume to Women of the Old Testament, author Camille Fronk Olson focuses on many of these remarkable women and explores the influence of Jesus Christ and his gospel on women living in the meridian of time.
Women Released from their Cultural Baggage
Jesus entered a society with many deeply instilled barriers to His teachings. He shocked his audiences with declarations of His Messiahship (i.e., Luke 4:21-28). Equally as shocking, He appreciated and validated women and children (Mark 14:4-6; Luke 7:39; 10:40; etc.). As decisively as He cleansed the temple, Jesus attacked the cultural falsehoods that surrounded Jewish family life. He tore down false practices and notions regarding women, children, and family relationships. He denounced centuries of harmful traditions that destroyed marital partnerships and led to misogyny.
The four Gospels describe Jesus refusing to follow the traditional social barricades that impeded relationships between men and women. As we read, the Lord speaks to women (John 4:7-27), incites their education (Luke 10:39-42), heals them (Mark 7:25-29), asks them to speak out as witnesses (Matthew 28:5-10), touches them (Mark 5:30-34; Matthew 28:9), and teaches the eternal nature of their marriage relationships (Matthew 5:3-11; John 17:21; Ephesians 5:25, 31). This was considered scandalous.
In order to demonstrate how dramatically Jesus changed family relationships, one must understand what Jewish family life was like and how it contrasted with what Jesus taught. By placing the Lord’s teachings and doctrine within their social context, His teachings become overpowering in their significance and beauty. This article highlights two cultural customs that affected women and then contrasts them with Christ’s empowering changes.