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Jesus is Messiah for women as well

Jesus is Messiah for women as well

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Thu, Dec 22. 2011

by BISHOP SONNY E. WILLIAMS – PRESIDING BISHOP PENTECOSTAL ASSEMBLIES OF THE WEST INDIES – St. Vincent and the Grenadines District

Recently there has been much debate on domestic violence against women in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A crisis centre for victims of domestic violence is to be fully operational by year-end.

This Christmas message offers hope and comfort to these victims and condemns the perpetrator of violence against women.{{more}}

Matthews’ account of the Gospel opens with a family tree of Jesus’ ancestors (vv 1-16). Matthew includes it to show that Jesus is also the international Christ, the Savior of the whole world. His genealogy reaches beyond Jews to include several ethnic groups that populated the Middle East during Israel’s Old Testament history. The genealogy also highlights four other women in Jesus’ family. These are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and the wife of Uriah. These were touched by scandal and remembered as sinners and foreigners. Their inclusion can be an encouragement to us, especially women.

Jesus is the Messiah for women as well as men – even for women with a checkered past and tainted bloodlines. He is Messiah for all people, regardless of gender, race or background.

During Jesus’ time on earth, Jewish oral tradition portrayed a low and degrading view of women. It was forbidden for dogs, women or palm trees to pass between two men (Pasahim III a). A Gentile woman was considered even lower than Jewish women as she was designated an animal (kerithoth 6b and Berakoth 58a). Women were to be shunned in public social contact. The Mishna advised, “Engage not in too much conversation with a woman”. Women were restricted from orally communicating the Torah to others, even to children. The Tratate Sota, 10a made it clear “May the words of Torah be burned, than they should be handed over to women”.

Against these practices of religious leaders, Jesus accepted women. His conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn 4:1-2) was unacceptable practice of his day. Even his disciples in V27 “came and they marvelled that he talked with a woman”, as they were taught to “Not so much as greet a woman.”

The tradition of the elders taught that woman were inferior and incapable of studying the law. Contrary to this, when Jesus was in the house of Mary and Martha (Lk. 10:38-42) Mary sat learning as his feet. Jesus did not condemn Martha for going about her household duties, but commended Mary for her desire to learn the Word.

Jesus never spoke of women being inferior to men. They were always honoured in his teaching and were not often used as negative examples. Jesus gave the women, who were often neglected by the religious teachers, a place of assurance and hope.

In this season of peace, giving and hope, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies calls for an end to all forms of discrimination and violence against women. We unequivocally condemn any act aimed at inflicting pain or harm to women. The Savior has come to liberate women from inferiority complex, break the vicious cycle of domestic violence, restore gender equality and conquer their greatest enemy, sin.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Christ-centered 2012.

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