by M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

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Season of Pentecost -- Choices Then and Now (6 of 8)
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

As we have seen, as time when on, there was a tendency under rabbinical teaching to make the man more prominent and to assign women to an inferior role. This happened toward the end of the Old Testament and especially throughout the New Testament.
However, with the coming of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Gospel, we find he was concerned for the well being of women. He gave them their true worth and took note of their ideas and opinions whether he accepted or rejected their ideas. His attitude toward women was startlingly new as he mixed freely and naturally with women of all sorts. Women followed and ministered to him.
He does not warn his followers against looking at a woman as was the rabbinical teaching, but he warns them not to look with lust. Women were to be looked upon as fellow human beings not objects of man's desire or possession. He ignored any injunctions regarding "legal or ritualistic impurity" after he had talked to or touched a woman. This may be an indication that in fulfilling the law Jesus makes purification rites of all kinds unnecessary and/or shows the significance of the place of women under the new covenant.
He used examples of women in his teachings, as yeast in bread making, childbirth, grinding meal, wedding attendants, housewives and widows. He used women to illustrate vigilance, perseverance in prayer, or divine mercy and of the joy of God over the salvation of a lost sinner. Even the adulteress was dealt with as a sinner according to her needs.
He had four recorded theological conversations with women; the Syro-Phoenician woman (Matthew 15:21-28; March 7:24-39), the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:7-12), Mary and Martha )Luke 10:38-42; John 11:29-33), and the anointing of Jesus by that same Mary (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8).
Women have a very special place in Christianity. We don't find the desperate ...

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