Most major announcements in Jesus’ life were made to women instead of to men.
The angel Gabriel was sent to announce two upcoming births. First he went to Zechariah to tell him that his wife Elizabeth would give birth to a son. That son would be John the Baptizer. Zechariah was surprised when the angel appeared to him, and he asked, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is well along in years.” The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news” (Luke 1:18-19).
After that, the angel Gabriel did something very unusual. He went directly to Mary, who would become the mother of Jesus, to announce the important news of this upcoming miraculous conception and birth.
In Luke 1:26-31, the greatest news of all time, the birth of Jesus, is announced to a woman. “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’”
It is certain that this young girl had never made an important decision apart from her family in all her life. The culture she lived in guaranteed that. The angel’s announcement required an independent decision on her part. First, she wrestled with the greeting. She questioned how she, a young girl who was a virgin, could give birth to a baby. Gabriel had to convince her. At the end of their conversation she agreed to cooperate with God’s plan. It was after that acceptance that the angel went to Joseph to tell him what was going to happen.
When Sarah was told by the messengers that she would give birth to a son, she laughed but had no voice in the decision. When Elizabeth was told by her husband that she would have a son, it was a done deal. But when Mary was told that God had found favor with her, and that she would miraculously conceive a child who would be the long-awaited Messiah, she was called upon to decide. She questioned, she listened, she considered, and then she made her decision, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
An out of wedlock pregnancy could bring serious consequences upon Mary and her family. The man she was going to marry faced humiliation and could have had her stoned to death as an adulteress. Her father or Joseph most certainly would not have permitted the pregnancy—Messiah or no—had it been up to them. Mary could have deflected responsibility for the decision by telling the angel there was no way she could accept this honor without first asking permission of her father or Joseph, as this was far too significant a decision for a mere woman to make without male advice or permission. But she did not. The angel could have first gone to her father or to Joseph and told them what was going to happen to Mary, just like he had gone to Zechariah. But he did not.
Instead, the angel Gabriel went directly to a young woman, giving her the greatest news that all mankind would ever hear, and left the decision up to her whether or not to accept the honor and the awesome responsibility of becoming the mother of the Messiah.
Male headship is dethroned because God sent the angel Gabriel to a female, who made the decision by herself to accept the honor of becoming the mother of the Messiah.
Note to my readers: This is a chapter in my book Dethroning Male Headship. During the month of December I will be reposting my previous blogs on Christmas. I am busy finalizing my new book Women Equal – no buts. Powered by the same Source which will go direct to Kindle on January 20, 2014.
Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, and churches will light the Hope Advent candle and the church begins its countdown until the Christ child is born on Christmas Day.
Many faith denominations do not light Advent candles, but almost all churches spend the month of December with Cantatas, children’s Christmas plays, and so forth. The song “A Baby Changes Everything” was popular one year and Don and I heard it sung at two different churches.
But do women really need Jesus?
Listen to what a man commented on my blog, “The man answers to God for the actions of his wife and children.”
Whoa! Did you catch that? How can a man answer to God for the actions of his wife and children? For that to happen we must find scriptures to support the following beliefs in the Bible:
1. That a husband is divine as he stands as a mediator between his wife and kids and God. The husband would have to be divine because it is a divine Jesus who stands as the mediator for the husband. (Job 9:32-35) Surely women wouldn’t need a human standing before God for her, would she? (1Timothy 2:5-6).
2. That the wife cannot speak for herself because she is an incomplete human being, incapable of coming before God for herself, and who has no hope outside her husband. (Romans 3:22).
3. That children are not complete human beings capable of having a relationship with God. (Acts 2:17).
There are no scriptures to support a man answering to God for the actions of his wife. In fact, each scripture reference that I have given says completely the opposite of what the person who wrote the comment said. Oh, but he is just one person. Nobody really believes like that, do they?
Cindy Kunsman can tell you that some seminarians believe it. Several years ago she was invited to a conference at a Southern Baptist affiliated seminary. Cindy says “Several young men asked how it was that I believed that they would not stand before God…to give an account and to intercede for their wives…These (young men) were seminary students.”
Advent – should women be looking for the Christ child, or for a husband?
Tony’s original post: It is time for a schism regarding women in the church.
Please read this and pass it on. Post a link on your website, on your facebook page, tweet it, whatever you need to do.
Will you join us?
God, we pray for an awakening!
Shepherd of Israel, listen!
You, the one who leads Joseph as if he were a sheep.
You, who are enthroned upon the winged heavenly creatures.
Show yourself before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh!
Wake up your power! Come to save us!
Restore us, God!
Make your face shine so that we can be saved!
Lord God of heavenly forces,
how long will you fume against your people’s prayer?
You’ve fed them bread made of tears;
you’ve given them tears to drink three times over!
You’ve put us at odds with our neighbors;
our enemies make fun of us.
Restore us, God of heavenly forces!
Make your face shine so that we can be saved!
Psalm 80 (Common English Bible)
I, too, have cried out to the God our Creator and asked him why he has held his favor from women. Why he has put us at odds with our fellow Christians, and why he has allowed our enemies to make fun of us?
I have pleaded with God and have poured out my heart to him.
When one woman is denied leadership in church simply because she was born a woman, all women are denied. Restrictions against women are nurtured in the church, and bleed out into society, causing women, children, and marriages to suffer.
(repost from 2012, but my heart has cried out this prayer to God this week for all women and girls. Will you pray this prayer with me?)
“Prayer can move mountains, but it takes a bulldozer to move men,” my supervisor quoted. Not sure who said it, but when the time came for my supervisor to move to Dallas in the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer of Baptist General Convention of Texas, I gave him a small yellow bulldozer for his desk.
It takes a bulldozer to move men (and women). It will take a bulldozer to level the ground for men and women.
So let’s bulldoze.
This is still part of the series about ways to bring about women’s equality because we must be proactive. Women will not gain their equality in the church by osmosis.
Email, call, or write to the national booksellers, church literature resources, bookstores, and any company that sells Christian books that you would like to see a separate category for gender equality, and for them to carry more books promoting gender equality.
Contact these bookstores and sellers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ebooks, Cokesbury, BaptistWay Press, Abingdon Press, Christianbook.com, Mardell Christian Education, Faith Village, The Christian Century, Westminister Bookstore, Episcopal Bookstore, Lutheran bookstores, Catholic Bookstores.
These bookstores class their books by category. Marriage, Family, Leadership, and so forth. None have any classification for Gender Equality (or whatever name that means women are equal to men.)
Ask them to make a category for Gender Equality and to secure books that promote female equality.
Even though a few of these Christian denominations already have women in leadership, the fight is not over. Their own members need to know why they made the decision to go against all other faiths and allow women pastors and elders.
In your email or letter, explain that all across the world, women are engaged in a struggle for equality and the search is difficult to find books that promote female equality.
Explain that their own members are facing television commercials, movies, and neighbors and friends who teach that women are not equal, and that they must continue to teach their own members about gender equality. What has been given, can be lost and overwhelmed by the majority. The majority believe that males have headship over females.
I have given you a bulldozer. Go level the ground!