“… My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” – John 10:10 (NLT)
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3: 28
When people start the gender debate, my response is that Christ came that we may have life, abundantly. Not fathers, or just sons, or brothers. Everyone. Because I am Christian, my freedom is a given, not a gift that is measured out to me in doses. I have also read my Bible enough to know that God loves women and uses them just as he loves men. The angel spoke with Sarah, as with Abraham. God used Deborah, and Jael to deliver the Israelites, just as He used Esther to rescue the Jews from Haman’s noose.
Obviously, it’s easy for people to confuse God’s equal love for women by quoting levitical laws that deemed certain aspects of a woman’s biology unclean. But here’s the thing – in that era, God expected a certain level of devotion to His commandments such that only priests who were ceremonially clean could minister in the temple.
“At that moment, the curtain in the sanctuary of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split” – Matthew 27: 51
Now we have to give it to Jesus (who by the way was a disrupter) for His examples on how women are. How did Jesus teach the woman with the issue of blood? Bible records say that Jesus told her faith had made her whole. Jesus was respectful to His mother at the wedding at Cana, even though He said his time had not yet come. And when He asked the woman at the well for a drink, He didn’t impose his will or go at her with any sense of entitlement. Mary of Magdala was in Jesus’ inner circle, which was controversial in that era. She was there at the crucifixion and was at the tomb at the resurrection. Jesus also implied that Martha shouldn’t get caught up in activity so much that she would forget that the essence of life itself was a relationship with God, so He clearly wasn’t one for stereotypes.
Clearly, from Jesus’ life, it is easy to infer that Jesus treated women and men as equals, having won us freedom. I think that we would be limiting that freedom if we let our own man-made customs and laws confine us to what we can do or what we cannot do when we have examples of Bible women who thrived in spite of the times they lived in. While within the context of marriage, there is a hierarchy, what is required of women is submission (a willing surrender of will, out of love), and not subservience (useful in an inferior capacity). Submission occurs within relationship, in which love thrives.
In the end, is “But God, I am a woman” a valid excuse for not fulfilling purpose?