Although Jesus often steered the male disciples away from ideas of self-importance, Jesus intentionally moved women in the opposite direction, toward a greater sense of self. Kelli Worrall has studied how Jesus ministered to women in the gospels. She shares how that concept applies to how women experience God today.
“In the Gospels, Jesus often rebuked His disciples and the Pharisees, yet He never rebuked women. Instead, He would pursue them and He drew them out using penetrating personal insight and positive affirmation to move them toward repentance.”
“What I hope to draw out at least in part from the study is that concept of identity: Who does God believe that I am? Who does He say that I am? Who is God? That identity piece comes up time and time again.”
Several passages show that Jesus addressed the concept of identity, especially as he was speaking with women.
“I think that in biblical times and in that culture specifically, women were not perhaps as valued. They were seen more as property in many cases and were treated a little bit as sort of second class citizens and so I think it’s pretty clear perhaps why Jesus was speaking into identity so much with all of these women.”
Though the culture has changed drastically, women still struggle with many of the same issues and questions surrounding value and identity.
“Women still do struggle to figure out who they are and who God made them to be. We often hear women say they are “just” a stay at home as if something of lesser worth, or women in the workplace are sometimes not given the same credibility or the same voice that others have. Even in the Church there are questions about a woman’s role that continue to be hotly debated. So, it’s a struggle to find our identity.”
It is often in communicating our need for Christ that we can open our hearts to what He has to say and do in our lives.
Kelli Worrall has taught in the Communications Department at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago since 1998. Kelli studied Communications at Cedarville University, Religious Education at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MRE) and Creative Writing at Roosevelt university (MFA). She and her husband Peter co-authored the critically acclaimed book 20 Things We'd Tell Our Twentysomething Selves. Kelli authored Pierced & Embraced: 7 Life-Changing Encounters with the Love of Christ.Jesus' heart for women