Life of Jesus: Almost Forgotten Women Who Made a Difference

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Although Jesus placed a very high value on women through His life and teachings, the place of women in the first-century Greco/Roman world, especially in the Jewish culture is well known-they were usually regarded as second or third class residents with little or no rights, and on most occa­sions they were considered little more than personal property. Women were not allowed to even handle their own financial affairs, own property, own or manage a business, or serve as the primary provider for her family. Most women were under the control of some man (father, husband, father-in­-law, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, and so on), and were expected to condone any unfaithfulness and sexual permissiveness by her husband and/or family members without question. He treated them as human beings, not as minions, and as equals who had value and values and did not forbid women from associating with him or from following him as his disciples. Not only did Jesus speak with women, he spoke to them attentively and sympathetically. Additionally, he taught openly: that women had rights as individuals and they were to be respected. Not once did he condemn a woman for her failures nor did he condone those failures. And in a day when women were generally not permitted to sit in the same company as men, Jesus encouraged women to join the men in sitting under His teachings.

There were a number of women whom the life and ministry of Jesus touched. Some were healed by him, some were close personal friends, others were friends who became followers of Jesus, and still more were little more than acquaintances whose names are not even recorded in the Bible. These women were either touched by the life and/or ministry of Jesus or were mentioned in association with His life. Because of space restraints, we cannot cover in detail all of the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ influence upon all of these women. But, in this lesson, we will evaluate the 8 women who in our day have been almost forgotten, but who definitely made a difference in the lives of early believers in Christ and to an extent are still to this day influencing our Christian way of life.