Liberated Woman

by Saroja Santiago
29 November 2009

The women’s Liberation Movement, (Women’s Lib, Feminism) may have started as a good thing, but has now gotten some bad connotations.  Without generalizing all feminists, it appears that ultra liberal, man-hating women (some lesbians etc) have usurped its leadership. Phrases like, “male chauvinist pig” were once their war cry.

In a grand irony of galactic proportions, these women should thank their lucky stars for a man who started it all – Jesus of Nazareth! We know, as we read the gospels, that women were a large part of Jesus’ faithful foot soldiers and camp followers in his ministry to the villages and towns of Galilee.

“And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God, and the 12 were with him. And certain women, which were healed of evil spirits and infirmaties, Mary called Magdalene, out of which went seven devils and Joanna the wife of Chuza Herods’s steward , and Susanna, and many others which ministered unto him of their substance.”  [Lk.8:1-3]

Now, who is ministering to whom?! The women were probably giving financial support for Jesus’ ministry.

“And many women  were there beholding afar  off  (at the crucifixion site), which had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him (probably cooking and cleaning). Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses  (of Jesus, too – Mk 6:3), and the mother of Zebedee’s children (Peter and Andrew, of course).” [Mt.27:55].

Mary and Martha were Jesus’ best friends, along with their brother Lazarus. He liberated the adulteress from the stoning mob [Jn.8:4-10]. He liberated the Samaritan woman at the well from ignorance and from an adulterous lifestyle. Others women liberated: the woman with infirmity [Lk.13:11]; the child from death, Peter’s mother from illness, etc. etc.

The entire biography of Jesus is a metaphor for liberation, including women’s. His genealogy, by Matthew consists of 42 ancestors, of whom were 5 women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary). Guess who the first 4 were? – outcasts and downtrodden! First, the men were all socially elevated, upstanding Jewish men in the pure line from Adam (they were Jewish from Isaac onwards). They were patriarchs – Adam, Abraham etc; Kings – David, Solomon, etc; the Righteous – Boaz, Joseph etc.

Ruth was a poor girl of an inferior race of idolators in Jewish eyes, a Moabitess (Ruth 4 1:4). She was a foreign migrant worker, and a widow with barely any rights. And a woman!  Tamar was an adulteress, a Canaanite who posed as a harlot to seduce Judah (Gen 38 ).  Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute [Joshua 2:1]. Bathsheba, the Hittite wife of Uriah, committed adultery with David. She is the mother of Solomon. All of these foreign women could have been expelled from Israel for any reason. God not only redeemed (liberated) them but ensured an enduring mention in the book of books.

It is as if God planned the genealogy of Jesus as a safeguard against Jewish pride. While Jesus was promised to be born in the royal lineage of David, David himself started off as a humble shepherd boy. While Jesus hails from the pure line of Abraham, don’t let it get into Jews’ heads. These ancestors on the female side were non-Jews, except for Mary. By the way, the father of Jews, Abraham, was never a Jew!

Mary, the chaste Jewish virgin gets a mention in the A-list. Joseph is the last male in the genealogy before Jesus, but whereas the other male progenitors receive a “begat”, Joseph only gets a, “husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” In other words, Mary is the only woman who gets a “begat”.  Joseph was the stepfather or adopted father of Jesus.

Thank you God. Thank you Jesus Christ – Savior, Redeemer, Liberator. What a hope we have in thee!