Under normal circumstances: I think and then I write. Tonight I will write while I think and so this is an immediate follow-up to my last post…although it’s been on my mind for well over a year.
Have you, men, ever noticed the pattern in Jesus’ communications with women? I can only think of two times when He addresses a woman without telling her to–essentially–shut-up. One is the woman who is dragged before Him for adultery in John 8:1-11
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
Before I go on let me also point out those closing brackets “]]”at the end of the passage, and the fact that John 8 begins with a lowercased conjunction. They inform us that this passage–which actually beings in John 7:53–is not recorded in the earliest known manuscripts of the book of John.
Even when Jesus’ own mother comes to Him, Jesus is, at least in speech, dismissive.
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
And later when His ministry is in full season:
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers[c] are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
This last passage in Mark is of further interest because it seems to share a pattern with a passage from Luke 11 which I quoted in the previous post. In Luke 11 Jesus calls out to the scribes and pharisees because they are whispering to each other that Jesus is from Beelzebub and that is where He gets His power over demons. The same thing occurs in Mark 3. In both cases–immediately after Jesus’ preaching to the people and just condemnation of the pharisees–He is interrupted by appeals to and for His mother. In both cases Jesus rebukes the interruption and says that His family is whosoever does His will. (Go read Luke 11 and Mark 3. See for yourself!)
The second woman is another adulteress, the Samaritan woman at the well; another story only recorded in the Gospel of John chapter 4.
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
See that? As soon as talk gets real, Jesus asks for her husband.
17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’;18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?”
They marveled that He was talking with a woman.
[…] 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
There’s nothing else like that in the NT. It is not recorded that people don’t believe because of the apostles, or that people don’t believe because of John the Baptist. Yet John decided it should be noted that the authority of Jesus should not rest on this woman’s verbal testimony.
There’s the story of Jesus’ visit to Martha and Mary. Mary sits quietly at Jesus’ feet while Martha busts her butt in the kitchen and complains. Jesus says Mary chose the better part.
What I am describing to you goes on throughout the Gospels. Women do not believe it, but they have power in their quiet obedience; ordered, focused power that is greater and more glorifying to God than their utterances before men.
They just don’t believe it. It is analogous to the way in which most Christian men do not believe that there is power in turning the other cheek to an insult or giving our jacket to those who ask for our shirt.
These are the hallmarks of the conservative.