Jesus Never Blamed Women. Never!

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All because of Eve. Adam blamed Eve. It was the woman you gave me (Gen 2:12).  Eve’s daughters would soon bring down towering heroes of the Old Testament. Potiphar’s wife, Jezebel, Delilah, Bathsheba.  These names are brought up in countless sermons with menacing glances toward the women in the pews. “Women, stay in your place, be quiet, do not influence, or you will be like these examples.” Women seduce, deceive, and destroy.

Paul seems to blame Eve (1 Tim 2:14). Peter calls women the weaker vessels (1 Peter 3:7). Jezebel’s reputation survives into Revelation as an ominous figure (Rev 2:20). The message to women is that they must be monitored, isolated, and regulated by males.

In contrast, look at the gospel examples of Jesus as he interacts with women. My premise is that Jesus never blames women for being women. He never accuses them, shames them, or blames them. There are many opportunities where Jesus could have shooed women away, dismissed and ignored them, but he never did. Despite disapproval from his disciples, he carried on his best conversations with women, valued their learning, and sent them to proclaim.

Examples are inconveniently unnamed, so the writing becomes unwieldy. Working through John, start at chapter 4 with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus did not claim her witness was not credible because of her immoral life. In contrast, Jesus chose her to receive his message and preach it to the Samaritans, against the disapproval of the disciples. Jesus acknowledged her five husbands but did not rebuke her because of her lifestyle. An aside: consider the possibility that Jesus was not talking about her literal husbands at all, but five kings sent from Assyria that deceived the Samaritans. See 2 Kings 17:24.

John 8: the woman caught in adultery.  Jesus did not ask her what she was wearing or why she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The men who were ready to throw stones were the ones Jesus brought to shame.

John 11: Jesus considered Martha worthy of the most profound confession in John. He was not dismissive of her understanding.  He joined in the sorrow of Mary and Martha, and showed extreme emotion himself. Jesus did not view the women as too emotional and indeed he cried with them.

John 12: He did not reprimand Mary for the extravagant anointing of his feet while Judas protested the money could feed the poor. Jesus did not question her judgment or use of resources.

John 20: His first appearance at the resurrection was to Mary Magdalene. He did not question her credibility as a witness. The reason why he told her not to cling to him remains a mystery.

Jesus’ relationship with his family may border on reprimanding. In John 3, the marriage of Cana, Jesus’ remark to his mother, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?” may look like he was telling his mother to back off. His remark at this occasion is far from a rebuke and may only be a borderline example depending on context and culture. He ultimately treated his mother with utmost honor at the cross.

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