Joanne Jamis Cain is a steward of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. She has been married to the love of her life, Jim for thirty five years. They have two beautiful children and two grandchildren. Joanne is a wedding and event planner. Visit her blog at http://katherinesdaughter.com/. Her first book "Ordinary Is Extraordinary" was published in spring of 2016.
Jesus has a way of interacting with women that I find deeply spiritual. There are many good examples of this in the Gospels, and I want to share a few of my favorites with you.
The First Sign at Cana
Jesus was with His own mother, the Theotokos, at the first of the seven signs He performed in the Gospel of John. While at a wedding, Mary noticed that the wine ran out, and she said to Jesus, “They have no wine.”
Jesus replied, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:3-4).
Yet Jesus was the dutiful son. He changes the water into delicious wine.
When the master tastes the wine, he says, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” (John2:10)
This lesson solidifies to me the respect Jesus had for His mother and the sense of obedience that He felt towards her.
The Samaritan Woman
Jesus is walking by Himself and realizes He is tired. He sits by Jacob’s well and asks a woman of Samaria for a drink of water. Now, the Jews and Samaritans did not mingle, so this was a big deal.
The woman says, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (John 4:10)
But Jesus persists, tells her about the living water, which of course she does not understand. He tells her to call her husband; she says she has no husband, and He shows Himself to be the prophet that He is. He says, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband, for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” (John 4:17-18)
She pronounces Him a prophet and goes back to her townspeople to tell them of Christ. For this reason, she is sometimes recognized as the first to spread the Gospel of Christ (an apostle). She converted her five sisters and two sons. They all became evangelists. This lesson says to me, it does not matter who you are or where you came from. Jesus is kind and loving to a woman who, back then, probably did not warrant much attention. The love of the Holy Spirit is boundless and knows no limits.
The Woman with a Flow of Blood
Imagine a faith so strong that you only need touch the garment of someone to be healed. There was a woman who had a flow of blood for 12 years. She had been with many doctors, spent all she had, and still grew worse.
She heard about Jesus and because there was a crowd, she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” (Mark 5:30) She touches His garment, and her flow stops immediately. And Jesus knows, right away, that power has gone from Him. He says, “Who touched my clothes?”(Mark 5:30)
The woman is afraid and tells Jesus the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” (Mark 5:34)
I love that He calls her daughter. He is always so respectful and loving, and He makes an example of her tremendous faith.
Mary is my hero. Not only is she the first to witness Jesus’ empty tomb, but she is the first person He presents Himself to in bodily form. As she is crying at the entrance to the tomb (because the stone is rolled away and she fears His body missing), Mary looks inside and sees two angels.
They ask her why she is weeping, and she tells them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”(John 20:13) She turns around, and Jesus is there, but she thinks He is the gardener and does not recognize Him. He asks her, “Whom are you seeking?” (John 20:15), and she asks if He knows where the body of Jesus was carried.
He says, “Mary!” and suddenly, she realizes it is Jesus. She calls Him “Rabboni!” (meaning teacher; I love this). (John 20:16) This was the first of four post-Resurrection appearances (epiphanies) of Christ, and Mary was the witness to it. She runs back to tell the disciples she has seen the Lord, and He has spoken to her. She is the messenger, the one who announces the culmination of all that Jesus had been preaching. How wonderful!
The interactions between Jesus and the women in His life demonstrate to me the enormous respect He had for them. There are many more examples in the Bible of Jesus’ teachings with women and their gifts to the understanding of His word. I hope you take time to explore more.