The Women and Children Yeshua Loved and Counseled


Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene

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The Women and Children Yeshua Loved and Counseled

In the Christ’s ministry, Yeshua, loved and counseled many women, often addressing their social standing in ways that would have been considered inappropriate according to the practices of the day. The interactions between the Christ and women were out of the ordinary for the Jewish culture of this time and place. Women and children were primarily treated as property by the men of Israel, though the Greek women generally had a bit more freedom. Women and children had virtually no rights, were not usually acknowledged or addressed by men in public, nor did they have a public voice. And yet, the Christ both acknowledged and spoke to them in public and private, did not shun their words and actions of love and devotion, and afforded them considerable respect, which was virtually unknown at the time.

In every interaction between Christ and human beings, Yeshua, the Wonderful Counselor, sought to stimulate spiritual growth in his counselees.  Often he first addressed physical needs, then mental, emotional, and social needs, but always, spiritual needs.   The Christ knew that in order to reach counselees spiritually, their more immediate needs must be addressed first.  The Christ fed the hungry, corrected false ideas and beliefs, taught people that they were of value and loved by God, addressed the social climate of the day, and finally addressed spiritual needs.  Though his methods were often inconsistent with his culture, his confrontations with the authorities of the time were always spiritually motivated.  Yeshua often prayed, quoted Scripture, confronted others with Spiritual truths, and encouraged the spiritual growth of all people, including women and children.

Gary Collins in Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide (1988) states that Yeshua used a variety of counseling techniques depending on the situation, the nature of the counselee, and the specific problem.  He notes that at times Yeshua listened carefully, without giving much direction, and at times he taught decisively.  Yeshua often encouraged and supported, but also confronted and challenged.  He accepted those who were sinful and needy, but demanded repentance and obedient action.  He was always truthful, compassionate, sensitive, spiritually mature, and committed to serving God and others.   He often used sermons, storytelling techniques, and Socratic questioning methods.

In the Christ’s ministry, Yeshua, loved and counseled many women, often addressing their social standing in ways that would have been considered inappropriate according to the practices of the day.  The interactions between the Christ and women were out of the ordinary for the Jewish culture of this time and place.  Women and children were primarily treated as property by the men of Israel, though the Greek women generally had a bit more freedom.  Women and children had virtually no rights, were not usually acknowledged or addressed by men in public, nor did they have a public voice.  And yet, the Christ both acknowledged and spoke to them in public and private, did not shun their words and actions of love and devotion, and afforded them considerable respect, which was virtually unknown at the time.

One example of Christ’s correcting the false ideas of his time is told in Matt. 5:31-32:

It has been said, whoever divorces their spouse, would give them a writ of divorcement: But I tell you that whoever divorces their spouse, except for sexual unfaithfulness, causes them to be sexually unfaithful: and whoever marries that person who is divorced is being sexually unfaithful as well.

By Jewish tradition and law, a man could divorce his wife for virtually any reason, and a woman had no such right.  Yeshua gave women a new level of respect and consideration, which they had not previously held.  It limited a man’s right to divorce for just any reason to cases of sexual unfaithfulness, and gave women some protection from unjust divorces.

One of the first women Yeshua loved was his Mother Mary. The interactions between Yeshua and this Mary were typical of mother and child relationships in that Yeshua asserted an independent spirit in those interactions.  In Luke’s gospel, when only a young adolescent, Yeshua remained behind at the temple when Mary and Joseph began their journey home.

[Luke 2:41-52] Now Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem every year at the celebration of the Passover. And when Yeshua was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, as was the tradition of the celebration. And when the days were over, as they came back, the Child Yeshua stayed behind in Jerusalem; but Joseph and Mary didn’t know it. But they, thinking Yeshua was in the group of people traveling, walked a day’s journey; then looked for Yeshua among their kin people and those known by them. And when they couldn’t find Yeshua, they came back to Jerusalem, looking there. And then, after three days of searching they found Yeshua in the place of worship, sitting in the middle of the teachers, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard the Child were amazed at the Christ’s understanding and answers. [48] And when they saw Yeshua, they were amazed: and Yeshua’s mother asked, Child, why have you done this to us? We have looked everywhere for you and have been so worried about you. And Yeshua answered, Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I would be doing the work of my God? But they didn’t understand what Yeshua meant. So Yeshua came down with them, and went to Nazareth, and obeyed them: but Mary remembered all this, keeping it in her heart. And Yeshua grew up in mind and body, and in favor with God and people.

This passage shows that in the interaction between Yeshua and Mary, Yeshua clearly asserted his independent spirit early on, yet continued to submit to her authority for a time.  Even though he could have ignored her wishes, he considered her emotional need for some control and chose to accept her need to assert authority over him for the time being.

In the interaction between them in John 2:1-5 at the wedding in Cana, Mary continued to have some say in the actions of the Christ.

On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee; and Yeshua’s mother was there: And Yeshua and the followers were also invited to the wedding. And when they needed more wine, Yeshua’s mother said, “They have no wine.”  So Yeshua said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and Me? My time isn’t here yet.”  So Yeshua’s mother said to the workers, “Whatever Yeshua says to you, do it.”

Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (2000) states that this passage could be read as a rejection of Mary’s role in Christ’s ministry, but this is probably a Protestant backlash from the Catholic belief in Mary’s spiritual role.  Since Christ acknowledged her wishes by his compliance, Mary clearly continued to hold some emotional sway over the human Yeshua, and continued to assert some authority over him at that point. Though he certainly let her know that he didn’t have to do what she asked of him, he accepted her authority once again, and complied with her wish to help preserve the family’s social standing in the community.  Mary clearly had an emotional need to maintain some sway over the Christ when she insisted that the workers do what he said to do.  She implied an expectation for him to act in that statement, and the Christ, seeing her expectation, complied.

The next interaction between Yeshua and Mary as told in Matt. 12:46-50, shows a more assertive Christ, who rejects the human needs of his family for authority over him, while addressing the more important need for spiritual growth.

Mat.12:46-50 While still talking to the people, Yeshua’s mother and family stood outside, hoping to speak with the Christ. Then someone said, “Your mother and family stand outside, hoping to speak with you.” [48] But the Christ said to the one who said it, Who is My mother? And who is My family? [49] And the Christ reached out toward the followers, saying, This is My family! Because whoever does the will of My God, who is in heaven, is My family.

Here, Christ teaches his counselees to move beyond the physical and emotional ties to family, and demands a spiritually motivated response to doing God’s will.  He clearly indicates the higher priority of the family of God in the spiritual realm.

Another Woman who interacted with the Christ was the Samaritan woman who he met at Jacob’s Well in Samaria.  Not only was she a woman, but a bi-racial woman, being a Samaritan of mixed descent.

[4:6-30] Now Jacob’s well was there, so Yeshua, being tired from the long walk, sat on the well about noon. [7-8] Then a woman from Samaria came there to get water: so Yeshua asked her, “Give me a drink,” (because the followers had gone on to the city to buy food.) [9] Then the woman of Samaria answered, “How come you, being a Jew, ask me to give you a drink, who am a woman of Samaria? Jews don’t have anything to do with Samaritans of mixed race. [10] So Yeshua answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that said to you, Give me a drink; you would have asked of Me, and I would have given you living water…” [15] Then the woman said, “Sir, give me this water, so that I won’t be thirsty, nor have to come here to get it.” [16] And Yeshua said to her, Go, call your husband, and come back here. [17] But the woman answered saying, I don’t have a husband. So Yeshua said to her, You said rightly, I don’t have a husband: [18] because you’ve had five husbands; and the one you have now isn’t even your husband: in that you said rightly…    [27] And at this time, the followers came, and were amazed that the Christ talked with the woman: but still no one said, What do you want? or, Why are you talking with her?

In this passage, Yeshua ignored the cultural prejudices of his time, with neither her racial ethnicity, her gender, nor her social standing mattering to him.  He did acknowledge the woman’s spiritual need, and gently confronted her about her lifestyle choices.   Though he acknowledged the cultural practice of the husband’s rights, he never hesitated to offer spiritual grace to a woman of even questionable character.

Another woman of questionable character, who had a personal encounter with the God of Grace was the woman caught in the sexual sin of adultery, as told in the Gospel of John.  Some believe that this woman may have been Mary Magdalene, of who it was said that seven demons were cast out of.

[John 8:2-11] And early in the morning Yeshua came into the place of worship again, and all the people came and sat down, so the Christ taught them. And the religious leaders and the ministers from the religious sects brought to Yeshua a woman caught in sexual sin; and when they had set her in the middle of the room, they said to Yeshua, “Teacher, this woman was taken in sexual sin, in the very act. Now Moses in the Word of God told us, that these kinds of people must be stoned to death: but what do you say?” They said this, tempting Yeshua, so that they would have something to accuse the Christ of. But Yeshua bent over, and with a finger wrote on the ground as though not hearing them. So when they asking the Christ again, Yeshua stood up, answering them, “Whoever has no sin among you, let them be the first ones to throw a stone at her.” And Yeshua bent over again, and wrote on the ground. And those who heard it, being convicted by their own consciences, went out one by one, from the oldest, even to the last youngest: and Yeshua was left alone, with the woman standing in the middle of the room. So when Yeshua got up, and saw no one but the woman, the Christ said to her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one accused you?” So she answered, “No one, Christ.” And Yeshua said to her, “Nor do I accuse you: go, but don’t sin any more.”

Her experience was similar to the woman at the well, though Christ was much gentler in his approach to this woman.  In the woman at the well incident, Christ openly and specifically addressed her habitual lifestyle choices, but in this instance, Christ, though directly acknowledging the woman’s sin, and admonishing her not to continue in it, did not specifically address it.  Probably because it was obviously brought out by those self-righteous hypocrites, who brought her there by force, and since no man was brought with her, his sin was evidently of no consequence to her accusers.  In the face of their judgmental attitudes, Christ obviously had unconditional positive regard (or in the Christian terminology, unconditional love) for her person, while acknowledging the sinful behavior.  The way Christ defused this volatile situation clearly bought down the woman’s defenses and allowed her to make a choice for a change of behavior.  And those who had judged her so harshly were confronted with the harsh reality of their own sinful behaviors.

Matthew’s Gospel record’s two significant events where Christ dealt with children.  Matthew 19:13 tells the story about the Christ blessing little children, instead of sending them away as the followers had wanted to, because they thought he wouldn’t want to be bothered with them.  In this instance, Yeshua both acknowledged the children’s needs and addressed the social attitude that considered children’s feelings and needs to be unimportant.

Then some little children were brought to the Christ, by some who wanted Yeshua to lay hands on them and to bless them, and to pray for them: but the followers scolded them. So Yeshua said, Let the little children come to Me, and don’t forbid them, because heaven is full of little ones like them. And the Christ laid hands on them, and left there.

In Mathew 18:1-14, Christ addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of children as well as adults.  He acknowledged the trusting nature and undoubting faith of children, and admonishes adults to become like them.

At the same time the followers came to Yeshua, saying, Who is the greatest in heaven? And Yeshua called a little child to come, and set the Child in the middle of them, and said, It’s true, unless you’re changed, having undoubting faith, like little children, you won’t go to heaven. So whoever becomes as this little child, they’ll be the greatest in heaven. [5] And whoever helps one such little child in My name helps Me. [6] But whoever hurts one of these little ones who believe in Me, it would better for that person to be put to death than for them to hurt one of them.

The world is full of sorrow because of these kinds of wrongs! Wrong things will surely happen; but the person who hurts someone will be very sorry when they’re punished! So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut them off, and throw them away from you: it’s better for you to live disabled, instead of having two hands or two feet and be thrown into the everlasting hell fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, put it out, and throw it away from you, because it’s better for you to live with one eye, instead of two and be thrown into hell’s flames. Be sure that you don’t hate even one of these little ones, because I tell you that their angels always see the face of Yahweh God in heaven. I’ve come to save what was lost. So what do you think? If someone has a hundred animals in their herd, and one of them goes astray, don’t they leave the ninety-nine, and go into the mountains, and look for the one that has gotten lost? And if they find it, it’s true; they’ll celebrate more for that one animal, than for the ninety-nine which didn’t go astray. [14] Even so, it isn’t the will of Yahweh God, who is in heaven, that even one of these little ones would be hurt and die.

 

In this passage, Christ notes the delicate emotions of children, encouraging adults to be careful to help and not hurt them.  This is the first priority in today’s counseling methods: First, do no harm.  Christ firmly warns that those who would hurt a child, would be severely dealt with.  He warns us not to despise them, because their guardian angels continually report their well-being to God.

The Christ is most confrontative in this instance, as some counseling sessions obviously require.  In some of the previous instances, Christ had counseled in a more gently confrontative manner, while here he is more severe in his counsel, because of the importance of the matter.  Yeshua, the Christ, always had a person’s spiritual well-being at the forefront of his practice, and never hesitated to be truthful, direct, and confrontative, gently or otherwise, when the situation called for it.  The Wonderful Counselor always led by example and Christian Counselors should always follow that lead.  Christ taught about mutually-submissive marriage relationships, parent-child relationships, race-relations, and the equality of men and women.  He also taught about sexual issues, anxiety, fear, doubt, pride, sin, discouragement, and obedience.  All of these are issues that Christian Counselors face today with their clients.  Like Christ, they should encourage equality and mutually beneficial relationships between all people, including women and children.  Christ was at the forefront of the equal rights movement, and afforded women and children the proper concern and respect they deserved, even in the face of the male dominated patriarchal society of his day, who viewed them as mere property.

References

New Word Bible Paraphrase, Available: https://gofishministries.wordpress.com/bible/.

Collins, G. R. (1988). Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide. W Publishing Group. USA.

Freedman, D.N. (2000). Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand

Rapids, Michigan.


About mamaheartfilled

I am a mother of eight wonderfully challenging children and nine grandkids, of whom I am very proud. I am also a bi-vocational ordained evangelical minister, and a Christian Counselor. I received my B.S. degree in 2004, studying primarily in the areas of Psychology, with minors in Religion and English. I received my Masters Degree in 2009 in Psychological Counseling with an emphasis in Christian Counseling. I have endeavored to paraphrase the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, for the last ten years or so and am working on a final edit, now. It is my hope that it will be of some use in the great commission of Christ. My ministry is primarily geared toward victims of sexual and domestic violence, including victims of childhood sexual abuse, whether currently or in the past. Since I have personally experienced the healing hand of God in overcoming many of the life issues that Christians may face, I feel qualified and compelled to discuss them in a truthful and open manner, as God’s word tells us that “We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.” God has brought me through such diverse tribulations as sexual, physical, and mental abuse, being a victim of a drunk driving accident, spousal pornography addiction, adultery, divorce, remarriage, a very brief, though unjust, incarceration, and having experienced multiple miscarriages and various other trials. I have been asked to leave two Southern Baptist Churches, due to my being a female, ordained as a minister, and fired from a SBC sponsored Christian School (mostly white) for speaking out against racial prejudice in the Family of God. Through God’s merciful forgiveness of my own sins and inadequacies and God’s grace given to me to forgive those who have been a stumbling block to me, I have overcome many of these adversities. God’s word tells us that “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to the purposes of God." Since I have this hope, I believe that God has blessed me with the ability to confront and relate these issues to the Christian community around the world. I hope to be able to use my personal experiences as a ministry of God’s grace and in the comforting of the people of God with the truth of God's mercy. I claim II Corinthians 1: 3 & 4 as my calling, which states: “Blessed be God, the Origin of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Origin of mercies, and the God of comfort; who comforts us in all our troubles, that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, by the comfort we ourselves have been given by God.” As I have received the gift of God’s healing, I hope to be able to bring the peace beyond understanding to others with the message of God’s mercy and grace. My love for the Sovereign Lord of my life, Jesus Christ, along with my passion for writing has drawn me to explore these commonly experienced crisis issues from the perspective of my own experience in the hope that I may bring an empathetic and compassionate insight to God’s people. I am now a published author and have several books in publication, including my autobiography, "A Little Redneck Theology." The views expressed in my writings are strictly my own insights, acquired from personal experience and diligent study of the related topics and God’s word concerning them. Though I am an ordained minister, my views should not be considered authoritative. I believe that the Christian community’s ultimate authority is the guidance of the human heart by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
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4 Responses to The Women and Children Yeshua Loved and Counseled

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