Women and prophesy

I hear of many people who say that women cannot prophesy, or carry the word of God. For Friends this has never been the case as we believe that all are equal in the eyes of God. Firstly let us look at some interactions between women and Jesus.

We all generally know that Mary, a woman, carried and gave birth to Jesus. What a start, which man could do that! A woman brings Jesus into the world so that he can do God’s work and show all of humanity “the Way” to God.

We read of an important message of moving from a formal, system based, dogmatic religion; to one which is God led and taught deep inside each and every one of us: and it is given to a woman (John 4:23-26). Why would Jesus speak at length to a woman from a people that was despised by the Jews, and announce such a momentous change to her. Then Jesus admits that he is the Messiah and lets her take the announcement to the menfolk of the city Then there is more; the men listened to her, believed her and went to find Jesus (John 4:28-30).

We see another important incident where Mary of Magdala is spoken to by Jesus and given a message to give to the disciples (John 20:16-18). Notice that in the build up to this moment there had been several opportunities for Jesus to have given that same message to one of his disciples. If a woman cannot hear and carry a message from Christ then why did Jesus the Christ choose Mary to carry the message?

When Jesus came to the disciples for the third time after his physical death he spoke to Peter and asked him (see John 21:15-17):

to feed my lambs…….meaning to feed and care for his young people 

to feed my sheep…….meaning to feed the adults, both male and female

to feed my ewes………meaning to feed the young women

Notice that there is no mention of feeding  Rams…….meaning feed the men only!

Now let us look at other confirmatory statements:

Joel 2:28-29 says “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…….. also upon the servants and upon the handmaids ……… will I pour out my spirit”

In Romans 16:1-6, Paul entrusts the care of Phebe, a sister and a deaconess, to be treated with the respect which is due saints, for she has been of help to many and me also. To salute Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, both fellow workers with Paul in Jesus Christ. They have risked their lives for Paul’s sake.

As George Fox began to preach the understandings of the faith now called “Friends” in the mid 1600’s, he converted many and we have accounts of over 60 people who travelled extensively with him, in small groups and also on their own whom he trusted to carry the faith that they had received from Christ. They are affectionately known as the “Valiant Sixty” and they put themselves in awful danger with the authorities of the time, many being gaoled, whipped and some suffered death for their adherence to God. Included in the Valiant Sixty were 13 women. It was unusual and even more dangerous for the women than for the men in those times. They were all very brave for what they had to endure.

To bring us up to date there are probably as many women involved in Friends as men and this continues today in the Friends of the Light. We can as a people confirm today that we have experienced the power of Christ in the women within this organisation to be just as strong, significant and righteous as any of the men. We are a small group and have often been moved by these women who have spoken words given to them by Christ to great effect in our community.

Do you differentiate between male and female family members when you ask/pray to God to help them when in difficulty, or to keep them safe on their travels? If you don’t why would you expect Christ, the spirit of God with no gender to differentiate?

Would you differentiate between a male or female of whatever age in helping them when in great danger? Then is it not the same for Christ?

Shajom

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