June 25, 2023
Women in Leadership
Luke 8:1 NIV
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,
Luke 8:2-3 NIV
...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 Chuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
Jesus turned the concept of leadership on its head.
Matthew 12:48-50 NIV
He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
Jesus' promotion of women was radical for his day!
"Praised be God that he has not created me a woman."
(A common prayer for some Jewish men in the 1st century)
"Rather should the word of the Torah be burned than entrusted to a woman." - Rabbi Eliezer, first-century teacher
God used women to reveal key portions of the Bible:
• The songs of Miriam (Exodus 15:21) & Deborah (Judges 5:2–31)
• Hannah's prayer (1 Samuel 2:1–10)
• Abigail's prophecy (1 Samuel 25:24–31)
• The "inspired utterance" of King Lemuel's mother (Proverbs 31, see verse 1)
• Elizabeth's blessing (Luke 1:25, 42–45)
• Mary's Magnificat (Luke 1: 46–55)
Jesus used women in key roles in the New Testament:
• Mary (sister of Martha) was the first disciple to listen to and recognize that Jesus would be crucified soon (Luke 10:38-39, then John 12:1-11).
• The first person Jesus appeared to after his resurrection was Mary Magdalene (John 20:1-18).
• The first people to see and testify to Jesus' empty tomb were Mary and Martha (Mark 16:1-2, John 20:1-10).
• Women such as Lydia (Acts 16), Phoebe (Romans 16:1), Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2-3), and Priscilla (2 Timothy 4:19) served as key leaders in the early church.
• Over half of the servants Paul greets at the end of his letter to Rome were women (Romans 16).
Acts 2:17-18 NIV
"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy."
Prophecy is to communicate a word on behalf of the Lord. It can include both foretelling and forth-telling.
Acts 21:8-9 NIV
Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.
We do, however, recognize a difference in the rule when it comes to specific roles.
• In the Old Testament: The Priests & the 12 tribes of Israel
• In The New Testament: the 12 Apostles and Elders
1 Timothy 3:1-7 NIV
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer (pastor, elder, overseer) desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
In today's church, we see these equivalents as the Lead Pastor and Elder roles in the church.
Matthew 20:25-28 NIV
Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles Lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Jesus taught us that leadership is not about power and significance. It is about serving others, love, and care.
We want to encourage and train women to do whatever God has gifted and called them to do.