Years ago, a great friend and bible teacher told me that Jesus did not speak harshly towards women. She was leading a group of women in a retreat and we were looking at Jesus’ encounters with various women in the bible. Interestingly, every time we read aloud when Jesus said “Woman”, we read sternly. “Woman!” I guess we assumed Jesus was perpetually irritated with us and the women of his day. It hadn’t occurred to us that he was being gentle. “Woman,” Or speaking with compassion “woman :(” Wouldn’t the bible be easier to understand if emoticons had been a literary tool available back then?
I want to challenge you the next time you read Jesus’ encounters with the woman at the well, Mary and Martha(pre and post Lazarus’ death), the woman caught in adultery or his own mother, read them out loud several times and use a different attitude each time. You might want to insert your own emoticon to remind you of Jesus’ heart and intentions toward women.
I’m not a bible or historical scholar. I know that in his time and that culture, women were secondary. Considering Jesus came to earth through a woman, spoke directly to women publicly, wept with them, and appeared in resurrected form first to a woman(at least as it is recorded), I can piece together that He did not consider woman secondary beings. So try it. Read and re-read. Then sit in it for a moment and breathe.