The Strength of a Godly Woman
by Tyora Moody
March is Women’s History Month. This monthly celebration began in 1978, when the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a “Women’s History Week” celebration. Later, in 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to expand the national celebration to the entire month of March.
Often during this month, women are honored for being the first to achieve some feat or for their incredible strength to beat the odds. Let’s take a brief survey through Jesus’ earthly ministry, and meet godly women who experienced the “Good News” firsthand. I think this time of reflection will give you something to marvel whether you are a man or a woman.
What Does it Mean to Be “godly”?
Since I’m using the term godly in the title let’s view the definition. It states, “showing a devotion to God and to a life of virtue”.
Merriam-Webster also used the words devout which means “devoted to a pursuit, belief, or mode of behavior” AND pious which means “showing loyal reverence for a person or thing.”
Throughout the Old Testament, the culture insisted women remain behind the scenes, but there were godly women present. There is one documented leader, Deborah, who served during the time of Judges. There are several other women whose names we have come to know through their faith (Esther), authentic prayers (Hannah), courage (Abigail) and gentle spirit (Ruth).
In the New Testament, it doesn’t take long to see the presence of women on the move for God. Where the Fall takes place by Chapter 3 in Genesis, with Eve getting a bad rep for years to come, a young woman named Mary will carry a child that will turn the world upside down.
Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
There is no coincidence that the male writers were influenced by the Holy Spirit to include certain details. These details showed women, though mainly behind the scenes, possessing a unique role throughout Jesus’ ministry.
A. Jesus’ Ministry – The Beginning
Even after Jesus chose “The Twelve” (Luke 6:12-16), also known as the twelve apostles, he had a large number of disciples or followers. Many of his staunchest supporters were women.
Luke 8:1-3 – After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
B. Jesus’ Ministry – The Women Along the Way
What are some recorded events you can recall from the Gospels? Was a woman involved? Here are a few examples of women whose lives will forever serve as reminders of Jesus’ ministry.
The Samaritan Woman (John 4:1-42) – Jesus traveled purposely through Samaria rather than going around a hated group of people. His reason. To meet a woman who proved to be quite an evangelist. Immediately after talking with the One who offered himself as Living Water, the Samaritan woman didn’t hesitate, despite her reputation to tell others about Jesus. Have you taken the time lately to tell others about your faith? If not, what’s holding you back?
The Woman with Issue of Blood (Luke 8:40-48) – This woman’s fierce determination to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. What faith to reach out through a crowd of people to touch a piece of material? That driven faith caused Jesus to stop in awe to find out who touched him. Have you lost your faith recently? Do you need to be reminded you too can touch the hem of Jesus’ garment?
Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) – These sisters will forever remind a woman about her priorities. Have you taken the time to sit at Jesus’ feet or are you busy getting ready to attack the next item on your to-do list?
The Crippled Woman Healed on Sabbath (Luke 13:10-17) – When Jesus healed this woman, he knocked legalism on its face. How dare these men, the religious leaders not care about this woman. One whose been in pain and hurting all this time, what does it matter that it’s Sunday or the Sabbath?
The Canaanite Woman (Matthew 15: 22-28) – Even a Gentile woman exceeded Jesus’ expectations when it came to the faith factor. If you’ve read the Old Testament, the Canaanites were a tribe of people God detested for their pagan ways. Here this poor woman, bowed down in humbleness choosing to believe in a Jewish rabbi. She was content to receive the crumbs from the Master’s table. “Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith!” The season God has placed you in right now – are you content with what he’s allowed?
C) Jesus’ Ministry – The Last Week
You can’t miss the presence of women in Jesus’ teachings as well as those he encountered. He didn’t cast them to the side. They proved over and over again to be vessels that God could use to pour forth His glory. Many of these women remained with Jesus during his darkest hour.
Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the donkey. Admirers yelled out “Hosanna” and covered the ground with palm leaves in honor of Jesus.
JESUS TEACHES IN THE TEMPLE / ANOINTED FOR BURIAL (Monday – Wednesday)
In Matthew 26, after teaching in the temple all day, Jesus reclined at the house of Simon. There a woman anointed his head with perfume from her alabaster jar. Some complained, but Jesus hushed them in verses 12-13, “When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
THE LAST SUPPER (Thursday)
The Twelve missed so much even though they walked with Jesus for three years. Jesus had to show them about service through the washing of feet. At the Last Supper, as Jesus explained the new covenant to them, there still appeared to be confusion. Even those closest to Jesus, slept as He cried out to God in the Garden of Gethsemane. After Jesus was arrested, the disciples scattered. The boldest one, the one known as the Rock, Peter crumbled and denied Jesus.
Many followers abandoned Jesus, but a faithful few remained. In Luke 23:27, it says, A large number of people followed him [Jesus], including women who mourned and wailed for him.
Luke 23:46,48-49 – Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last… When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Luke 24:1-11 – On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
As Holy Week approaches next week, take a moment to reflect where you were before you met Jesus. How has this relationship changed and str
engthened you? Whether a godly woman or man, what areas do you see God steering you towards? Be encouraged and walk accordingly. So many still need to hear the Good News and you maybe the one who can share it.