What Drew Women to Jesus?
Sharon W. Betters
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
Why did women follow Jesus, especially when to do so became increasingly dangerous? Jesus’s full acceptance of women as persons, equal to men, demonstrated how much He valued their presence, friendship, physical and financial support, prayers, and life-transforming stories.
All four Gospels tell us that women stood near the cross and many unnamed women stood at a distance.
Women who ministered to Jesus:
There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Matthew 27:55-56).
Women who followed Jesus:
There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and Joseph, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem (Mark 15:40-41).
Women who mourned and lamented as Jesus was tortured, unjustly convicted, nailed to the Cross, and died:
And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him (Luke 23:27).
Women stood at the foot of the cross:
But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene (John 19:25).
Whether male or female, being identified as Jesus’ disciples carried great danger. Yet, these women stayed. Only one man stayed close to the Cross – John, the one whom Jesus loved (John 13:23).
Why did the women stay? Throughout all four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we see specific examples of Jesus’ tender treatment of women. We cannot overemphasize Jesus’ counter-cultural treatment of women. We must understand that just speaking to a woman publicly was frowned upon. Yet Jesus regularly spoke life into women, to all kinds of women:
Dismay filled the disciples when Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman at the well:
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?” (John 4:27).
Jesus’s treatment rebuked the male accusers of the woman caught in adultery. In contrast, He spoke tenderly to her (John 8:10-11):
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11).
Jesus spoke compassionately to the widow of Nain :
Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep” (Luke 7:11-13).
Jesus healed rather than rebuked the woman with the bleeding disorder:
Jesus did not ignore a woman who called to him from a crowd:
As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27-28).
Jesus initiated the conversation with a woman bent over for 18 years and also healed her on the Sabbath:
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God (Luke 13:10-13).
Each of these women experienced life transformation when they met Jesus. Though He had not yet died on the cross and risen from the dead, Jesus gave each one a taste of the resurrection power that was to come. He called them from darkness into the light of His love. Jesus physically healed many of the women. He did not identify them through the grid of their past sins but instead covered them with lavish love and acceptance. Nothing would keep them from staying with Him to His very last breath. They simply loved Him and refused to let Him die alone. Were they in the crowd, watching the crucifixion? I believe they were.
Dear sister, where has Jesus’ light entered the darkness of your soul? Have you experienced His resurrection power in your salvation? If so, there is no greater gift. But Jesus’s victory over death means resurrection power is available to each of His children every minute of every day. Ponder this incredible truth as you go about your day, on your way to Easter. Ponder it through the grid of these uncertain days and how you can reflect resurrection power to those in need. Write in your journal this question, “Where have I experienced resurrection power and where does the Lord want me to experience it today?”
Oh Father, Your love for each of your children, demonstrated by the giving of Your only Son so that we can experience eternal life, overwhelms us. May we walk today recognizing we are covered with Your love and resurrection power.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sharon W. Betters is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, pastor’s wife, and cofounder of MARKINC Ministries, where she is the Director of Resource Development. Sharon is the author of several books, including Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness, and co-author with Susan Hunt of Aging with Grace. She is the co-host of the Help & Hope podcast and writes Daily Treasure, an online devotional.
For more from Daily Treasure please visit MARKINC.ORG.