We don’t talk often enough about the amazing women of the Bible. We're regularly not given their names but time and again, we definitely know what they did, whether it's ‘The Woman of Samaria’ or the woman who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet.
There are named men in the Bible who we know little about but Bible women are almost always included for doing something amazing.
With Women’s World Day of Prayer just gone and Mother’s Day upon us, this blog is about celebrating some of these amazing Bible women.
Mary of Nazareth
Mary, Jesus’ mother is probably the most famous woman in the Bible. Many depictions of Mary show her as innocent, meek and obedient. If you look at what she takes on as the mother of Jesus, above everything, she was courageous.
Mary was told, as a young girl and a virgin, that she was going to have a baby that isn’t her fiance’s. She would know it would be a threat to her personal safety enough without knowing that the baby is going to grow up to be the Messiah. She knew the Messiah would go on to take on those in power. She knew her child would face up to that threat and, by extension, she would too. She knew how important it was and she bravely agreed to it.
Elizabeth was Mary’s relative and, at a much older age, became mother to John the Baptist. He was another dangerous person to be parenting and ultimately John was beheaded for what he said. Elizabeth was brave too and incredibly kind and supportive because when a pregnant Mary came to visit her, possibly because she had no one else to run to, Elizabeth said:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
If Mary was worried about being a mother, this was exactly what she needed to hear! Elizabeth gave Mary a home and kept her safe for about three months so she really went above and beyond to support Mary.
Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ followers and in John’s account was the first person to see, at his grave, the resurrected Jesus. No one else was around because all the other disciples were hiding thinking they’d be killed next. That threat doesn’t seem to concern Mary in the same way and she becomes the first to know the most amazing news.
The Canaanite Woman
While Jesus had withdrawn away from the crowds, another unnamed woman, this time from Canaan, came to him asking for help for her demon possessed daughter and Jesus actually said something apparently rather cruel;
‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel...It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’
The woman replied, ‘Yes it is, Lord. But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’
Then Jesus said, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed at that moment.
This is an impressive exchange. The woman answered in a way that is both wise and courageous. She stands up to him and wins, it’s important because, arguably, it’s partly this conversation that opens up Christianity to being a separate religion in its own right. It introduces the idea that God should be for everyone.
Take time to notice and appreciate the Bible women. Like many great women today, they are changing the world in small ways and big ways. Happy Mother’s Day to all the women in our lives.