marvelous creation

Women and the Ministry of Jesus Christ

Despite being rather unprecedented for the time, women played a significant role in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. The Gospels portray Jesus as someone that not only spoke and interacted with women, but also treated women with compassion, dignity, and respect.

In the Judean culture of the time, the testimony of women didn't count, yet it was women that testified of Jesus resurrection. The Jewish religious elite believed that women in general should not be taught the Torah, yet Jesus taught Mary, the sister of Martha. A woman was considered untouchable (unclean) during menses, yet Jesus showed compassion to the woman with the issue of blood who touched the hem of his garment.

The Gospels portray women as:
  1. testifying of Jesus,
  2. receiving healing and/or deliverance from Jesus,
  3. learning from Jesus,
  4. responding in faith to Jesus,
  5. being used in Jesus metaphors,
  6. financially supporting Jesus ministry,
  7. ministering to Jesus

Men of the time generally did not publicly speak or interact with non-related women, yet Jesus publicly spoke and witnessed to women, even lowly foreign women. Jesus expected a faith response from women just as he did from their male counterparts. In fact, a Gentile woman is one of only two people (both foreigners) recorded that Jesus described as having great faith.

Sufficed to say Jesus was truly revolutionary in his treatment of women. Below is an overview of women mentioned in the Gospels.

Women of the Gospels

Name Matthew Mark Luke John
Elizabeth, John the Baptist mother
Was barren but "with God nothing shall be impossible"
Filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied
Anna, the Prophetess
Testified of the redeemer
Herodias and Daughter (Salome)
Wicked workers that have John the Baptist executed
14:1-12 6:14-29 3:19-20  
Peter's Mother-in-Law
Jesus heals her and she arose and ministered unto them
8:14-15 1:29-31 4:38-39  
The Widow of Nain with a dead son
She allows Jesus to interrupt the funeral procession
Jesus tells her to stop weeping and raises her son from the dead
The sinful woman that lovingly cleaned Jesus' feet
She received compassion, forgiveness, and salvation
The Samaritan woman at the well
Jesus cleverly and compassionately witnessed to her
She believed on Jesus and in turn eagerly witnessed to the townspeople
The woman caught in Adultery
Pharisees attempt to entrap Jesus
Jesus shows tact, compassion, and reflects truth
Female followers who gave financial support and ministered
Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna & many others
27:55-56 15:40-41 8:1-3
The Woman With Issue of Blood (Hemorrhaging)
"Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well"
9:20-22 5:24-34 8:42-48  
Jairus' Daughter
Jesus takes her by the hand and raises her from the dead
The Woman With a Spirit of Infirmity
Jesus heals her and honorably calls her "a daughter of Abraham"
The poor widow who gave everything (The Widow's Mite)
Jesus commends her giving
  12:41-44 21:1-4  
The Gentile Woman with great faith
She receives healing for her demoniac daughter
15:21-28 7:24-30    
The servant girl who recognizes Peter
Peter lies and denies Jesus
26:69-75 14:66-72 22:55-61 18:16-18
Salome, a follower of Jesus
The Apostle James' and John's mother
and Zebedee's wife
Mary,wife of Cleophas (Clopas), a follower of Jesus
the mother of James the less and of Joses (Joseph)
also probably the one called "the other Mary"
16:1-8 24:10 19:25
Pilate's wife (Claudia)
Dreams about Jesus
Pleads with her husband to "have nothing to do with that just Man"

Mary, the mother of Jesus

Description Matthew Mark Luke John
Lineage of David     3:23-38  
Angel speaks with her and she responds in faith     1:27-38  
Visits Elizabeth & praises God     1:39-56  
Birth of Jesus 1:18-25   2:1-7  
Welcomes Visitors 2:11   2:16  
Presents baby Jesus at Temple     2:21-40  
Flees to Egypt 2:13-15      
Returns to live in Nazareth 2:19-23      
Looks for twelve year old Jesus at the Temple     2:41-52  
Has more children 13:55-56 6:3    
Jesus turns water to wine at Mary's request       2:1-11
Follows Jesus       2:12
Seeks to speak with Jesus in a crowd 12:46-50 3:31-35 8:19-21  
At the crucifixion 27:55 15:40 23:49 19:25-27
In the upper room (Acts 1:14)        

 Mary Magdalene

Description Matthew Mark Luke John
Healed and delivered of seven evil spirits   16:9 8:2  
Ministered to Jesus and provided financial support 27:55-56 15:40-41 8:2-3  
Observer of the crucifixion 27:55-56 15:40-41 23:49 19:25
A witness of Jesus' burial 27:61 15:47 23:55  
Returns to tomb to anoint Jesus' body with spices 28:1 16:1-4 24:1-3 20:1-10
Speaks with the angel of the Lord 28:5-7 16:5-8 24:4-8 20:11-13
First to witness the resurrected Lord 28:9-10 16:9   20:14-17
Testifies of the resurrection to the unbelieving disciples 28:8 16:10-11 24:9-11 20:18

Sisters Martha and Mary

Description Matthew Mark Luke John
Mary learns at Jesus feet while Martha cooks
"Mary hath chosen that good part,
which shall not be taken away from her."
Brother Lazarus raised from dead
Martha makes a tremendous statement of faith (Lk: 11:22)
Mary anoints the Lord with expensive ointment
"What this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her"
26:6-13 14:3-9   12:1-8

Women used in parables

The parable of the lost coin: Luke 15:8-10
The parable of the widow and the unjust judge: Luke 20:1-8
The parable of the woman and the leavened meal: Luke 13:20-21 and Matthew 13:33
The parable of the ten virgins: Matthew 25:1-13
Women grinding at the mill: Matthew 24:41 and Luke 17:35