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Jesus the Game Changer: Women and Children

Lugarno Peakhurst Uniting Church http://lpuc.org.au

Luke 8:1-3 & Matthew 18:1-5

* An excerpt from the Sermon Outline of the topic: Women and Children.

In modern western nations, it is very hard to grasp what it was like to be a woman, or the place of children at the time of Jesus. In the case of women, they had no rights and were treated as possessions by the men in their lives. Women were married to older men in their mid to late teens and had little choice in who they married. They had no rights in the marriage and the expectation was that they would produce male offspring. The low place of children, they were viewed as expendable. Bakke writes where “Children and slaves were the father’s property, just like material objects. To a very large extent he could treat his wife, his children and other household members as he pleased, without fear of legal consequences.

Into this culture came Jesus who treated women and children in a radically different way. We find Mary Magdalene in John 20:10-18. John records that the first person whom Jesus revealed himself to as the risen Lord, was a woman. In a community where the testimony of women did not count in courts of law, and if you were inventing this story of a resurrected Jesus, the only reason you would include a story of Jesus appearing first to a woman was because that is precisely what occurred. Jesus held women with respect and honour, and this story is an example of the important place women held in Jesus’ ministry. In Matthew 18:1-6, Jesus wants to make a point about greatest, so uses a child. Jesus places a child in the midst of the gathering and uses the child as an example of what greatest looks like. This is both a lesson for the male leaders on humility, but also an example of the importance of children.

The challenge of this message is threefold. Firstly, Jesus’ life and teaching made a radical difference for women in the way He treated them and the example He gave to the Early Church. The Early Church gave women the opportunity to participate in ministry and have a sense of significance, far ahead of the culture in which they lived. Yet there are ongoing challenges such as sex slavery and trafficking of women, women being objectified constantly in advertising and media, domestic violence etc. Secondly, every male must reconsider again how they look at women; how they think about women and how they treat women. Thirdly, every woman has to think about how God sees them, and what He wants them to be. Remember, you are created in the image of God, and you matter to Him

Il-Woong