The pages of the Gospels and Acts hold the stories of many women, some named, some unnamed, who have interactions with Jesus that change their lives and the lives of the people around them. We see Jesus, over and over again, taking the time to know and see each individual, no matter what their personal circumstances and standing in society. He listens to them, takes time for them, and values their personal responsibility and their standing with God. He calls them to follow him, and allows them to play significant roles in his life and ministry in a way that must have seemed quite counter-cultural. And when everyone has given up on him because he doesn’t look like the kind of Messiah that they were expecting, it is these women who, because of how Jesus has treated them, respected them, noticed and healed them, have a deeper understanding of Jesus’ identity and are loyal still at the cross and at the tomb. This means that they are primary witnesses for some of the most poignant and pivotal moments of the gospel narrative, and therefore some of the first people to share that good news with others.
What can we all learn from the unique experiences of women – be they women in the Gospels or those who are encountering Jesus across Africa today? What insights can we gain from putting ourselves in their shoes? What did Jesus’ radical upside-down gospel kingdom mean for them personally and how does it affect us? Standing on the edges of society and often marginalised, how might they have felt upon hearing the good news for the first time? How might this inform or change the way that we view, and do, mission?
You can download the testimonies from this study here to give to the participants in your study group.