My husband frequently tells me,“It’s your world, honey. We all just live in it.” No truer words have been spoken, especially on International Women’s Day.
According to its website, International Women’s Day “celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women [on March 8].”
This idea isn’t a concept solely relegated to feminist ideology. Rather, celebrating women stems from a man named Jesus, the Son of God who walked the earth 2,000 years ago and brought dignity to the forgotten citizens of his day – many of them women. Here are a few female lives who bear His fingerprints:
- Mary, his mother. God could have picked any method to introduce His Son to the world: a spoken word, a zap of lightening, or a triumphal entry into Caesar’s palace. Instead, God chose a poor teenager through which to bring us our Savior. Her willingness to be used by God serves as a daily example to women everywhere. (Luke 1-2)
- The bleeding woman. After hemorrhaging for a dozen years with no cure in sight, a woman at the end of her rope reached out and touched Jesus’ robe as he passed through town. Instead of recoiling in horror at this unclean member of society, Jesus healed her. He praised her in front of the crowd for having the courage and faith to reach out. (Mark 5:25-34)
- The woman at the well. A noonday conversation with Jesus at a town well moved this Samaritan woman from shame to salvation. Jesus lovingly identified her sinful behavior, then gave her the formula for Living Water. She ran back to town and told others, who eventually came to talk with Jesus as well. (John 4:1-28)
- Mary, sister of Martha. In a time when women were viewed as second class citizens and property, Jesus elevated them. Mary, along with her sister Martha, invited Jesus and his disciples into their home. Mary was no longer a forgotten member of society in Jesus’ presence. He was her friend, teacher, and Lord; therefore, she knew she was esteemed, treasured, and loved. (Luke 10:38-39)
- Martha, sister of Mary. Martha, who kept busy out in the kitchen during the above visit, was so close to Christ she felt she could talk to Him about anything (or in this case, complain). Martha lamented about her lazy sister who lounged in the living area while she slaved in the kitchen. Rather than scold Martha, which was well within his right in that culture, Jesus gently corrected her. Their friendship continued throughout the Gospels as Jesus regularly dined with Martha and her family. (Luke 10:40-42)
- The woman caught in adultery. Jesus turned a sneaky trap concocted by the Pharisees on its head when he called out their sin in public. They brought a women allegedly caught in adultery, hoping to trap Jesus. Instead of condemning the woman, Jesus brought attention to the Pharisees’ misdeeds instead. He lifted the woman off her feet and sent her on her way – with the gentle admonition to “go and sin no more.” (John 8:1-11)
- The woman with perfume. Many people stopped at nothing to get close to Jesus when he came to their town, and the “sinful woman” at the table is no different. She took expensive perfume and washed Jesus feet with it as he dined with the Pharisees. They harshly judged her, but Jesus praised the woman publicly for her generous act – and offered her forgiveness for a lifetime of wrongdoing. (Luke 7:36-50)
- The women at the tomb. News of the risen Savior wasn’t given to religious leaders, political bigwigs, or even the disciples. The women who arrived early three days after the crucifixion came to tend to their Lord’s burial in private. They were the ones selected to hear from the angel. They were the ones whom Jesus first appeared. And they were the ones given the message by their risen Lord to “Go and tell my brothers.” The fact that God chose to reveal His message to women above all others is profound indeed. (Matthew 28: 1-10)
Celebrate and honor the wonderful women in your life not just today, but every day. As you do, may you be reminded of the One who loves each of us.