Life after death. Hope after despair. Freedom after bondage. Forgiveness after condemnation. Acceptance after rejection.
Grace after judgment.
Is it any wonder this is my favorite time of the whole year, of my whole existence?
I’m so grateful for Jesus, and how He went out of His way during His life time on earth to demonstrate what His attitude would be toward me as a woman and an individual before I was even born.
I’m sure we can agree nothing Jesus did during His three year ministry was without significance, so consider a few examples.
The first person Jesus told He was the Messiah was a woman. And not a super-upright uptight upper-middle class woman in Israel, but a wrong-side of the tracks social outcast living with her boyfriend. He told her He was the Messiah before He told His own disciples. According to His culture, He shouldn't speak to her at all, he should cross the road and not even look in her direction, and yet He boldly looked her in the eyes, engaged her in conversation and trusted her with his most important revelation. (John 4:1-42)
Jesus publicly stood up for a woman condemned to death for adultery by religious law and saved her from being stoned. Then He humiliated the men who were pointing fingers at her, and openly offered her mercy and forgiveness. (John 8:3-11) Culturally men did not stand up for women at that time. (And rarely in this.)
Jesus also made a point of showing that He valued women as individuals, and not for their domestic role. Two women, Martha and Mary competed for His approval, one by doing housework and cooking meals and another by sitting and talking with Him. Jesus expressed preference for the one who used her mind to listen and learn, and her heart to have a relationship with Him, over the one who could keep house and cook a mean roast lamb. (Luke 10:38-42)
And most amazingly...
Jesus revealed Himself first to women after His resurrection. He chose women as the first eye-witnesses that He was alive, and appointed them as the first evangelists. He trusted them as reliable, and put them first, in a culture that didn't trust them, and put them last. (Matthew 28:1-10) Under Jewish law at that time, a woman was not even considered a reliable witness in court.
Jesus showed that in His kingdom, unlike in the ones on earth (both past and present, both secular and religious), women could be trusted, could be forgiven, were worth defending, were valuable and worth having a relationship with, and finally, were individuals whose testimony and witness of the gospel could be trusted.
And so, when it was my turn, Jesus welcomed me. When I was rejected, when I was judged, when I was abused, when I was deemed not worth standing up for, when I was labeled not good enough, when I was lied about, when I was condemned, when I was mistrusted and maligned, when I was told my value was limited to a domestic support role, Jesus had already contradicted all those lies over 2000 years earlier.
And most of all, when I was told I could not hear from God myself reliably to obey and follow Him, that I needed to be “under a covering” or I would surely be deceived and get it wrong- Jesus said differently.
He says I can give a reliable testimony of His resurrection and freely share the good news.
And so I do, and boldly.
Jesus is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!!