Women Following Jesus
 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,  and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,  and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. (ESV)
Theological discussions come and go from decade to decade. Either one side wins the debate (conservatives vs. liberals), or we just get tired of fighting over the hot topic and move on to something else. One of the biggest discussions in our day is that of gender. While it seems common sense that God made us male and female (and it is), the conversation on gender roles in the family, church, and society has resurfaced due to our political climate. When the media continues to harp on tolerance, LGBTQ affirmation, and gender neutrality, it's only natural that the conversation of Biblical manhood and womanhood would come up in the church.
First of all, there are two major schools of thought you might be familiar with: complementarianism and egalitarianism. Complementarianism affirms that there are gender-specific roles that God has assigned to males and females. Egalitarianism teaches that men and women have biological differences, but no real theological differences, per texts like Galatians 3:28. It's important for you to figure out personally where you come down on this. I personally hold to a narrow complementarianism because the Scriptures clearly teach individual responsibilities and spiritual assignments to husbands and wives, as well as the descriminate role of males only serving as Pastors (Ephesians 5, 1 Timothy 2). This will result in different forms of worship, church government, and teachings on marriage. However, that's not why I'm writing this blurb today.
I've been reading through the Gospel of Luke this week, and these verses stood out to me for a few reasons. Jesus' ministry has begun, and He is full steam ahead. Preaching, healing, teaching, and causing trouble. He has already chosen his 12 disciples, and they have been assisting Him in the ministry from town to town. We often picture the 13 of them chilling by the sea of Galilee like a perfect little boys-only club. But if we read the Scriptures in context, we not only find that the 12 were rarely alone with Jesus, but that there were also women accompanying them in the ministry. In fact, if you look at the broader picture of the Gospel story, Luke begins with two pregnant women (John and Jesus in the womb), shows a crowd of women mourning at Jesus' death, and then ends with the Mary's worshiping the resurrected Jesus at an empty tomb. The Gospel story is full of women who heard the good news and followed Jesus.
In this time of gender discussion, there is one truth we must not forsake: Christ came to save men and women. He came to save Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many others. And after they were converted, He did not expect them to become cheerleaders for the men. He gave them the same commission to go and make disciples of all the nations. Ladies, you are needed in the body of Christ. Sing like Mary, testify like Anna, serve like Martha, pray like Elizabeth, work like Phoebe. Lay down your life with the men, as Christ laid down His life for you. Follow Jesus.