Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having a spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be Holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27
Woman, a daughter of Zion and a bride inherited by Christ. The Father has created all humanity and by nature, all men are His children. However, not all of us can be co-heirs with Christ. This because of the choice we have made that excludes some of us from partaking in the benefits of the kingdom of God.
Christ, having been in the world understands the temptations and challenges of the world, and also that just by being members of Adam’s lineage, we are sinners. We have not chosen to be sinners, but our lineage made us inherit problems we probably might have avoided. So, Christ inherited a lot of defiled women as wives, but His mercy promises to cleanse women to present them to Himself blameless. There is a lot of judgement placed upon women in the world specifically based on their behavior. Except no one, especially those who judge make an effort to understand the history and the contributing factors to the way women behave in this day. There is a lot of exhortation around the issue of equality, which sort of gives women a platform to try and make themselves valued. The whole society has made women feel unworthy, valueless, sex objects or just wives whose place belongs in the kitchen. In response to these labels, women also embraced them as what defines them. Those who fight for equality are the ones pursuing a career or business and want to be recognized in the industries they are in. But what does this then say about society at large? Is it that the role of a woman was originally defined by God as a mere thing that men can survive without? Or is it that because of lack of understanding, men fail to place women in a more productive and substantial role in their lives?
A woman used by the scribes and the Pharisees to trap Jesus into a corner is one example of a mindset of men towards women. Those men who view women as mere sex objects.
Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say? – John 8:3-5
In this scripture they did not take into account that this woman is a person and the least that can be done is to treat her with respect. Instead, they saw her as an object that they could use to achieve their own selfish goal with Christ. Had Christ said, ‘do as Moses commands’, the poor woman would have been stoned to death for absolutely nothing. Many are these women who have been turned to prostitutes by men who purely see them as objects of satisfaction for their greed, for power and wealth, some just to fill their lustful desires. Same men then turn and label these women, when they are the ones who corrupted them. Yes, you might say, some are not forced. Christ’s response below would beg to differ …
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” – John 8:11
A pure and blameless Jesus does not condemn her for her actions, instead He delivers her by command from the bondage of sin. So who is a mortal sinful man who has no understanding, to condemn any promiscuous woman? Jesus saw beyond what was presented to Him by sight or word. He saw deep in the spirit and therefore, would understand the actions of any person based on truth and not perception. Jesus helped her instead, but many men like these destroy even further a woman that is already at her low state, then turn and put a label on her.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” – Luke 10:38-40
A woman’s first instinct to show a guest that they are welcomed is to prepare for them something to drink or food. Martha immediately steps into this position when Jesus visits their home. It always seems like one woman is never enough to make these preparations, hence Martha expected Mary to assist. This tradition would have been passed down from mothers to daughters. Any woman failing to step into such position is deemed as lazy. Yet another label given to a woman who doesn’t meet people’s expectations. It is what Martha is expecting of Jesus when she approaches Him, to rebuke Mary for her laziness, as He was a teacher. However, Jesus sings a different tune …
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:41
Now, for a man who sees the role of a woman in the kitchen, or another woman who has learned this as tradition, that women belong in the kitchen, Jesus’s answer doesn’t make any sense. He tells Martha that only one thing is needed and Mary has chosen it. This being at the feet of Jesus to learn from Him. Something that Paul also added on in 1 Corinthians 7:34, when He said – The unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the work of the Lord, how she can be holy in both body and spirit. But the married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world, how she can please her husband. Most traditions are formed on the basis of giving pleasure to humans than they are to please the Lord. This was no different. Hence Jesus corrects Martha and gives her a different perspective to what she seems to understand about a woman’s role. Would it make sense this day if a woman chooses not to marry but to follow Christ? Would it make sense if she decides to make things of the Lord a priority to the things of her household? Does that then qualify us to judge this woman based on our understanding of tradition?
Mary Magdalene discovered something about Christ. Something pure, of great value and out of this world, and she could not allow herself to lose it. She was a woman confined and imprisoned by demonic spirits to a life that she didn’t plan for herself, but Jesus came and gave her a new meaning to life. Because of this gift, she fell deeply in love with Him. There was no human nor man who was like Him, who could give her what He was giving her. Jesus had given her fulfillment, He completed her. Because of that, nothing else mattered but Him. So, she completely lost herself in Christ, dedicated herself, her entire time and resources to His ministry. She truly believed in Him therefore, she gave herself to Him. Can you imagine a woman not being like this to a man, a husband who is transformed to this image of Christ? Would she not lose herself, completely give herself and dedicate all she has to him? There are many women who do all of that for men who are not anywhere close to a fraction of this image of Christ, and in the end they are broken, bitter and resentful. They were purely being women as they are designed, but their ‘help’ was misplaced. Jesus treasured these women. As a result, one who started doing such for Him encouraged others to do the same.
The Twelve were with Him, as well as some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna the wife of Herod’s household manager Chuza, Susanna, and many others. These women were ministering to them out of their own means. – Luke 8:1-3
When you do good and see good you attract good. Women are responsive creatures than they are initiators. They are designed to reflect than to form, and they will reflect anything be it good or bad. Hence Paul says,
but the woman is the glory of man. – 1 Corinthians 11:7
They are in constant desire to showcase the man’s glory and to this day, that is what they are doing. Therefore, in all the labels they are given based on their behaviors, they are literally reflecting the glory of men in society. That is why when a woman finds Christ before she gets a husband, the possibility of her wanting to marry is zero to none, especially if she has a background similar to that of Mary Magdalene. She latches on to the beautiful, unconditional and authentic love of Christ. This was the case with Mary M.
I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has brought me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. – Song of Solomon 2:3-4
This is how a Mary Magdalene feels about Christ. When Jesus died, on the morning of the third day, Mary was the first at His grave to see if truly her Savior had risen. When she couldn’t find him, she went back to Peter and John to share what she had seen. They came and checked and indeed confirmed that He was not there. They left but she stayed behind. The one whom she loved was gone and she had no more promise to hold on to. All she needed now was His remains.
“Woman, why are you weeping?” Jesus asked. “Whom are you seeking?” Thinking He was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried Him off, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to Him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”) – John 20:15
Jesus called her by name because He saw that she wasn’t seeing Him. It is then, that she saw Christ, whom she loved dearly. So is this with many women whom Christ has redeemed and calls by name. They are His and He is theirs, and love is the language that they are accustomed to with Him. They are forever grateful to Him for taking them from the dark pits where they were seen as nothing to the house of glory, and nothing can surpass that. With Him they realise and fulfill the purpose of their creation.
Perhaps men can learn to understand what the meaning of a Helper is as defined by God, rather than mistreating women, labeling them and expecting them to be everything that they desire. For a woman, Christ is to live and He is hope for love in its true form. He takes each one of them from gutter and cleanse them to give a true reflection of glory.