We, as women, are looking for courage and hope. We want to live as we were created to be, but this old world has a painful past that speaks of the harsh realities we face. We are seeing more and more women coming to the forefront of #metoo and other such movements. Women are experiencing disturbing situations that are forcing us to confront just how broken this world truly is. It seems as if we will never see the light at the end of this tunnel. But, there is hope. God, through his Word, shows us how he sees our story. He desires us to represent that story of restoration to the world.
We have a 21year-old daughter. I would love to tell her that she will never have to experience pain at the hands of broken people. I would love to shelter and protect her from a world that would love nothing more than to break her spirit. Unfortunately, I am powerless to do so. But, there is something we can do. Educating both men and women about sexual harassment is important. We as parents and educators must learn how to talk about these difficult topics with our young people, whether in the classroom or at the dinner table. Teaching identity, worth and respect for others is just the beginning.
We can feel equally powerless within the church body. There are movements rising within the church that realize it’s time to come forward and decry how the world’s story has tried to define us. One way to find comfort in these turbulent times is to dig deep into Biblical history and discover how Jesus himself viewed and valued women. We must practically engage in the conversation and stand for the marginalized like Jesus did.
Jesus had a counter-cultural view of women. A woman’s standing in the first-century Roman world and in Judaism was that of a second-class citizen. Jesus held women in higher regard as we clearly see recorded in many portions of scripture. They had intrinsic value, equal to men.
In a previous post, I listed how Jesus interacted with many women. One such woman was the widow of Nain. Jesus showed deep compassion to her by bringing her son back to life.
We read in Luke 7:11-17: "Not long after that, Jesus went to the village of Nain. His disciples were with him, along with quite a large crowd. As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession—a woman’s only son was being carried out for burial and the mother was a widow. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, “Don’t cry.” Then, he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped. He said, “Young man, I tell you: Get up.” The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother. They all realized they were in a place of holy mystery, that God was at work among them. They were quietly worshipful—and then noisily grateful, calling out among themselves, “God is back, looking to the needs of his people!” The news of Jesus spread all through the country.” (The Message Version)
The story begins as Jesus comes along a large funeral procession. It’s described that the deceased was the only son of his mother and she was a widow. Women depended upon their sons to provide for them as they aged. It’s clear that this woman now had no other way of supporting herself. Jesus was moved with compassion, his heart broke for her. I love how Jesus comforted her told her not to cry. The fact that he spoke publicly to a woman was significant. It makes my heart beat all the more with love for our Lord because He felt such sorrow for her. Seeing how He would love and care about one woman in the midst of her pain shows us that he understands. Christ raised the son back to life, displaying both his pity and his power. Jesus then presented him back to his mother. Jesus gave her back her son.
The pain of losing a child can be nothing but unbearable, much less an only son. She must have been numb walking in that processional. Now imagine this man, God in the flesh, coming along and restoring all she had lost. The Message Version says, "they all knew they were in a place of holy mystery”. I think that’s an understatement! I can’t even fathom what the crowd must have been like. It says that the resulting declaration was that God was back and looking out for his people. I love that the end of the story resulted in Jesus' fame being spread throughout the country. That is the ultimate message here. He chose this moment in this woman's life to spread the news of his care and message of reconciliation to a broken world.
How do we now apply the truth of this story to our own lives? The fact that Jesus cared enough about one woman’s loss should be an example of how we should live and treat each and every woman, regardless of age, race or status. He cared for the least and the least we can do now is teach others that he desires to bring the same restoration to this broken world around us.
Remember what women are looking for during these trying times? Courage and hope and to live freely as who we were created to be. This is how he sees women in our world. Let’s be sensitive to the needs of others, seeing through Jesus' eyes and following his example.