Jesus, Women and Paul..!
Mr. Robert Clements
Just about a hundred years ago in what was then and is still, the most advanced country in the world; the USA, women couldn’t vote. In so many churches till date, women can’t preach or hold leadership positions! And very often whenever women protest about this rather unseemly unfairness, what is thrown at them is not the Constitution of the Country, but the Bible. “Look,” we shout in holy righteousness as we with revered hands open the Bible to 1st Corinthians, “Look where Paul says you women should be!”
And in words loud and clear as if exorcising a ghost with the Holy Book, we throw, shove and push our women back into the closet, or kitchen while mouthing words like ‘Love Jihad’!
As an aside, the Bible was also used by slave owners to tell slaves they were merely obeying the scriptures about keeping blacks in bondage.
But coming back to womenkind: What did Jesus do? Just imagine, in those ancient times, a man going up to a woman at a lonely well and speaking to her so freely!
I wonder what Paul would have said if he’d seen the scene, “Woman don’t speak back to him so impertinently! He’s a man!”
And when Jesus had his body anointed with costly perfume by Mary, who even used her very hair to tenderly wipe His legs, did Jesus admonish her? Did He draw His legs away quickly? Did He shout, “Get thee behind me Satan?”
No, He didn’t! He loved it!
He accepted her fragrant offering, even though the very hair she used to wipe the oil was what Paul had said should always be covered.
I’m sure there are many who’ll say, “Jesus is God!” Of course He is! But remember, when He lived on earth, He lived a man!
So why the difference in what both say about the place a woman occupies?
I believe Paul quite often spoke within the framework of local customs, and Jesus addressed people, with a timeless divine view, as His Father saw it.
A Mary Magdalene followed Jesus wherever He went and blasphemous present-day writers who have no idea about the holiness of the Son of Man, have even linked her physically with Him. I am sure Jesus knew this would happen, and yet allowed her to be with Him. Because He knew that there would finally be many who would understand that the Kingdom of Heaven in a true Christian is when we don’t look at each other carnally, but as brothers and sisters in Christ!
I am sure Paul knew this, but as a student of English Literature, I know that a person’s writing reflect the customs of his or her time, and in Paul’s writing we see the same.
Two thousand years have passed and liberation has taken place, “Yes Paul, women can vote and preach!”
Can you feel Jesus smile, even as I whisper to you, “Where do you keep your women, in a cage or on a stage?”