Jesus’ View of Women (and donors)

In the male-dominated Jewish culture, what caused these women to show up at a post-resurrection prayer meeting with Jesus’ male disciples? Who were they? We find them a few days earlier at Jesus’ crucifixion.

Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Him from Galilee while ministering to Him.
— Matthew 27:55

Going back to Jesus’ early Galilean ministry we find more clues:

The Twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene…Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.
— Luke 8:1b-3

Many others.

Who were these many women? Donors! They financially supported not only Jesus but also His ministry team—their support (Luke 8:3). It is commonly misunderstood that they performed only servanthood duties—like cooking meals. But Luke says they contributed out of their private means—the word is huparchonte, “signifying one’s goods” (Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words). They gave material things—not merely service.

These passages reveal three important insights about Jesus, women, and money.

Jesus elevated women’s status.In Jesus’ day, Jewish, Greek, and Roman women were not allowed to speak in public nor to own property. Husbands could divorce their wives with ease. Greek women were not permitted to leave their homes unless accompanied by a trustworthy male escort.

Wandering religious philosophers often targeted women, but their intentions were often sexual or financial (2 Timothy 3:6). Knowing that people would whisper, Jesus could have excluded the women from His band as a precaution, but He did not.

In speaking to women, in healing women, and especially in welcoming women to support and accompany Him, Jesus elevated women above the cultural norm—an accomplishment of Christianity seldom acknowledged.

The women verified the truth of the resurrection. Critics say the Church fabricated the resurrection out of thin air about 300 A.D. during the reign of Constantine. However, if the resurrection accounts were rewritten in 300 A.D., the new authors would not have included women as the first witnesses to see the resurrected Jesus—women’s testimony was not accepted in courts of law. In re-writing the witnesses to the resurrection narrative, the editors would have inserted credible male witnesses—perhaps Joseph of Arimathea, the Roman guards, or Pilate. Our text is reliable.

The women modeled repeated giving. They supported Jesus for three years and counting. They were with him from Galilee to Golgotha—70 miles south of Galilee—a four-day walk. In today’s passage, after Easter, we find them in the upper room praying with the disciples. Later, Mary, the mother of John Mark, provided a large home as headquarters for the early church (Acts 12:2). 

Though custom did not allow them to preach, these women were true partners in Jesus’ ministry through their financial support. Plus, they were not casual one-and-done givers but gave repeatedly.

Friend, do you ever feel taken for granted in your giving? If you are not giving big bucks, you might wonder if anyone even notices. It is easy to feel insignificant, but Someone notices. Ask this question:

To whom did Jesus first appear after His resurrection? 

Not to Pilate, not to the 12 disciples, but to the women—the giving partners(Mark 16:1)! Jesus highly values giving partners. That includes you.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for going against the culture to highly value women. And thank You for highly valuing giving partners like me. As You showed Your Presence to the women after the resurrection, will you also reveal Your Presence to me? Amen.