Many pastors place only men on the leadership teams of their churches, particularly if they will wear the title of elder or deacon. These leaders boldly declare that Jesus did not place women in such positions of leadership and they are only following His example. So, did Jesus have women in His posse? I am so glad you asked!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
In the book of Luke, chapter 8, verses 1-3 we see that, in addition to the twelve disciples, Jesus also had several women in his entourage; Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna and then some others who were lending financial support to His ministry. This, in itself, is monumental as Jewish rabbis in that time did not have anything to do with women, much less teach them, as their tradition stated that women were immoral, stupid and basically evil. Jesus was so "cutting- edge" to allow Mary of Bethany to sit at his feet and be taught by Him (Luke 10:38-42). Not only that but He praised her for it. If we are to use the argument that the twelve disciples were the exclusive pattern, then male Gentiles would be ineligible for leadership in the church because the original twelve were all Jewish. It was only a few years after Pentecost that there were Gentile leaders in the church and also a Roman woman by the name of Junia (Romans 16:7).
The women in Jesus day knew that He was unlike any other religious leader. He sat in public and had a theological discussion with the woman at the well (John 4) and He healed a woman in public, calling her a "daughter of Abraham" (Luke 13:16). No church leader had ever done that! No, the women around Him knew that He was different from the unadulterated chauvinism to which they had been subjected. And the women of today can know this, too. He has set us free to know Him intimately and to make Him known, leading in whatever capacity He so chooses in His church. I will address some of these "other capacities" in future posts....