IT TAKES A WOMAN
Good morning. Yesterday we looked at Jesus and the poor in the Gospel of Luke. Today I want to look at the treatment of women in Luke's account of the story of Jesus. As you may remember Luke's birth narrative of Jesus was quite different than Matthew's. While Matthew had the angel approaching Joseph, Luke had the angel breaking the news to Mary that she was to conceive. In Matthew, Mary was silent, in Luke, Joseph was silent. So, does Luke say more about women elsewhere than the other gospels? Yes! There is more material found in Luke involving women than in any other gospel. Consider for a moment Luke's pairing of males and females. (no other gospel does this)
*Mary compares favorably with Zechariah. She exemplifies how to receive God's Word while Zechariah does the opposite.
*Simeon the Prophet discloses the meaning of Jesus' birth, and then immediately afterward Anna the Prophet does the same. (Luke 2:25-38)
*Jesus raises a widow's son from the dead and then raises Jairus' daughter from the dead.(the son of a mother and the daughter of a father) (7:11-17; 8:40-42, 49-56)
*Jesus cures a woman on the Sabbath and then cures a man on the Sabbath. (14:1-6)
*Jesus brings salvation to a "son of Abraham" and then does the same to a "daughter of Abraham." (19:9, 13:16)
There are other examples, but you get the picture. Luke also gives us a look inside the home of Mary and Martha. This is an interesting story. "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 me sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'" (Luke 10:38-40)
We discover (based on this and John's Gospel) that Jesus was apparently close friends with Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus. According to how this is worded, who owns the home? Yes, Martha. She seems to be the head of the household. This was not entirely uncommon as we will see in the Book of Acts. In this scene Martha demonstrates proper hospitality. She is where? Yes, in the kitchen cooking. (Or something like that) But, where is Mary? Well she is with Jesus. Oh, she is not only with Jesus, she is at his feet. Martha does not like this one bit. "Tell her to get in here and help me!" she says to Jesus. Hmm...Mary is not only with Jesus and sitting at his feet, she is where? She is where the men are and she is doing what the men do. *Sitting at the feet and listening is a model of discipleship.
Jesus does not give in to Martha's command. Instead, he says: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'" (Luke 10:41-42) This is almost an affirmation of Jesus that women can be his disciples who choose to listen to His word rather than do more conventional things. What is interesting is that while the characters of Martha, Mary and Lazarus appear more than once in the story of Jeuss Lazarus never said a word.
Well, where else are women portrayed favorably? How about the resurrection scene? "The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee (followed him the whole way) followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. (Luke 23:55-56) Here the women are seen obeying the Torah. Then they return to the tomb where they find the stone rolled away. Then they encountered two men in blinding white garments who say to them: "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again. Then they remembered his words." (Luke 24:5-8) The angel implies that these women were with Jesus in Galilee and also the teaching of Jesus was directed toward them along with the men. Then, "when they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others." (Luke 23:9) Yes, the first evangelists were women. When we get to the Book of Acts we will see that Luke continues to portray women in a favorable manner. (At least for the most part) He will also continue to pair males and females. Luke includes women in the work of the kingdom.
Tomorrow we will take a look at another parable found only in Luke; The Parable of the Prodigal Son. Please join me. -Pastor Rick