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Jesus Christ: God, Man and Savior Week Three: Jesus Christ in Luke-Acts

Peter Brown, Author

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Women in the Gospel of Luke

Taking inspiration from Jesus Christ himself, Luke is obviously trying to portray women as equal to men in dignity before God, shown by the paralleling of events involving men and women. This does not mean that men and women are interchangeable or have the same vocations; it is showing that men and women have equal dignity before God. Look at the following parallels in Luke:

• annunciation to Zechariah (1:8-23) and annunciation to Mary (1:26-38).
• Mary’s Magnificat (1:46-55) parallels Zechariah’s Benedictus (1:68-79).
• Simeon praising God for seeing the baby Jesus (2:25-35), Anna praising God (2:36-38).
• The references above are Luke’s portrayal of Jesus’ infancy. The examples below are the inclusiveness of Jesus’ ministry.
• During His sermon in Nazareth, Jesus spoke about widows (4:25-26) and lepers (4:27).
• Jesus healed a man who was possessed (4:31-37) and Simon’s mother-in-law (4:38-39).
• Jesus forgave the paralytic his sins (5:17-26) and the woman who was a sinner who wept over his feet (7:36-50). 
• The healing of the centurion’s slave (7:1-10) is followed by the raising of the widow’s son (7:11-17).
• The healing of the Gerasene demoniac is matched by the raising of Jairus’ daughter (8:40-42a,49-56) and the healing of the woman with the issue of blood (8:42b-48).
• Jesus offered Jonah as a sign to his generation (11:30) and the Queen of the South (11:31).
• The Parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven are paired; the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed which a man took...(13:18-19) and like leaven which a woman took...(13:20-21).
• The healing of the woman on a Sabbath, bent double with a spirit of infirmity (13:10-17) is paired by the healing of the man with dropsy on a Sabbath (14:1-6).
• The parable of the man with the lost sheep (15:3-7) is paralleled by the parable of the woman with the lost coin (15:8-10).
• Of two men in bed, one will be taken and the other left (17:34) and of two women grinding together, one will be taken and the other left (17:35).

The high standing of women in Luke’s Gospel is evident from the beginning with two women playing enormously important roles in the history of salvation - Mary and Elizabeth, as well as Anna - roles which are described in such detail only by Luke 1-2. In addition, it is also evident that there is concern for widows in the Gospel; they are mentioned occasionally (Luke 2:37; 4:25-26; 7:12; 18:3; 20:47; 21:2). Mark 15:41 and Matt 27:55 relate that women accompanied Jesus during His ministry, but only Luke mentions that they provided for Him out of their own means (Luke 8:1-3). Martha and Mary received Jesus into their house and Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, the position of a disciple (Luke 10:38-42). The angel said to the women in the tomb, “Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee...” (Luke 24:6), yet the three passion predictions in Luke 9:22, 44 and 17:25 were spoken to the disciples, thus confirming Luke 8:1-3 that women accompanied Jesus since the time He was in Galilee.
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