In this column I would like to help us see an overview of Jesus and women. I have been discussing Jesus and women for many weeks now. Most have dealt with a certain woman but in this column I want us to see that many women were with Jesus and often traveled with Him.
This must have been in itself a revolution in that day 2,000 years ago. There were so many taboos about men and women being together in this Bible time. So many religious laws and customs restricted the movement and contact with religious men and women.
Yet Jesus as He did in so many ways opened the way of women ministering with men to a lost and needy world.
I will focus in coming weeks about Jesus and several specific women but let’s look today at how many women traveled and ministered to and with Jesus.
Please read the scriptures below. I am only using the references and not dealing with the context.
And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar,
among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
Mark 15:40-16:11 There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee; and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.
Luke 8:1-3 Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities– Mary and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.
Luke 23:26-33 Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and
Luke 23:49-24:11 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.
Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
Luke 24:1-11 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.
Luke 24:22 “Yes, and certain women of our company,
who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us.
John 19:25-27 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Acts 1:13-14 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
I would like to point out a few things from these scriptures.
Note the phrases used of the women traveling with Jesus.
“With the women’
“Certain other women’
“The women who followed Him from Galilee’
“And certain women’
“Many other women’
“And many others’
This is simply awesome. How many women traveled with Jesus we do not know? We know Mary His mother was with Jesus at the beginning of His public ministry, during it, at the Cross and in the upper room where the Holy Spirit came upon both the men and women.
In these scriptures we see some of the types of women traveling with Jesus:
There were women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities (sickness).
Mary Magdalene out of whom had come seven demons.
Joanna was the wife of Chuza, a steward of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee (his father), Herod the Great attempted to have the Christ killed as an infant, while Herod Antipas saw the deaths of both Jesus and John the Baptist. Joanna was among the many women who were disciples of Christ; she was one of those who discovered the empty tomb on the morning after Christ’s resurrection. (Luke 11:10) So her husband’s boss was the enemy of Jesus and yet she was a faithful follower of Jesus even being there on the resurrection morning! Praise God.
And of course the other women listed below.
and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities– Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance. And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee; and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.
What did the women do? They followed Jesus! They traveled with Jesus and the disciples on the road and as they ministered. These women ministered to Jesus! These women were ministers!
Now remember this column is about Jesus and women. It is not a study of all the New Testament scriptures and women.
The Greek word for ministering or ministered is given below. Please read this carefully.
MINISTER (NOUN AND VERB)
1. diakoneo ^1247^, akin to A, No. 1, signifies “to be a servant, attendant, to serve, wait upon, minister.” In the following it is translated “to minister,” except where “to serve” is mentioned: it is used (a) with a general significance, e. g.,
(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
Here are a few examples of how the word is used in the New Testament.
Romans 15:25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.
Acts 19:22 So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.
1 Timothy 3:10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.
Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
1 Peter 1:12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven– things which angels desire to look into.
1 Peter 4:10-11 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.
This is powerful. These women were ministering to Jesus. It is the same word used very often in the New Testament for ministering as you have read in the above scriptures.
Jesus had women ministers traveling with Him.
These women ministers were faithful and endured all the persecution the other disciples did.
Yet these women did not leave Jesus at the cross’¦and some of them were there for the resurrection of Jesus, saw Him and were sent by Jesus as the first evangelists to the disciples with the message of the resurrection! Glory.
Jesus needs, wants and desires women ministers Today Just as He did then.
Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
Just as the angels are ministers so women and men are to be ministering in this world today.
Jesus had both men and women ministering to and with Him. We need the same today.
If you have a problem with this then you have a problem with Jesus, not me.
Study the scriptures and the Greek word and see what they were doing.
“Who provided for Him from their substance.’
Remember some of the women who ministered to Jesus only had food to give Him, others gave their tears, others their kisses, others their perfume and some gave their substance, their money.
It is the same today. In my ministry about three out of every four donations have a woman signing the check. That is about the same for e-mails I receive.
I have found women to be so faithful and committed in ministering Jesus.
So I ask a question to the women reading this?
Are you ‘with’ Jesus? Have you received Him as your Savior and Lord? Right now you can pray and invite Jesus to save you as you repent and commit your life to Him right now.
Are you following Jesus? I’m not asking you if you are following your church or your pastor but are you following Jesus. Not are you following the ‘world’ but Jesus!
Start now. Are you a woman minister? Jesus invites you to become one now. As you serve the least you serve Jesus.
Are you a woman witness? These women were the first evangelists. You can start telling others that Jesus is alive and how they can know Him personally.
Are you a woman giving of yourself in service to Jesus? Start now!
Are you a woman giving of your substance? Are you giving your money to Jesus? How can you give money to Jesus? By giving to the poor and needy; by giving to a person in need; by giving to a church; by giving to a ministry that is sharing Jesus with others and fulfilling the commission of Jesus.
Should you not be giving your money then start now! Pray and let the Holy Spirit of God tell you where to give and how much to give. Don’t let this be a onetime thing but start now with a lifetime of committed giving of you money to Jesus in the service of others. A tithe would be a good place to start but it’s all the Lord’s anyway. Release the money and receive the blessing! Glory.
Well this column is probing and provocative. Pray and start being a minister to Jesus as we serve Him in the way we serve others.
Oh, one last thing I want to say is that as you look at these women and you look at Jesus you see clearly ‘¦’Love’!
They loved Jesus so they ministered to Him. They loved Jesus so they followed Him. They loved Jesus so they forsook the things of this world to be with Him. The loved Jesus so they gave what they had to Him, money or tears.
Jesus loved these women. Jesus called for people to follow Him and these women did that. Jesus loved these women and allowed them to be close to Him. Jesus loved these women and trusted them. Jesus loved these women and cared for them. Jesus loved these women and commissioned them to be His witness.
These women mixed with the male followers of Jesus made up a beautiful and glorious road traveling ministry! Wow.
When the day of Pentecost came and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit this group of men and women started the church and it was full of love, fellowship and community just as they had experienced in their traveling with Jesus.
I think the church you see in the first few chapters of Acts is a glimpse into the lifestyle and pattern of the men and women around Jesus during His time of ministry for that three year period.
A pilgrim follower of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt