There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Even though the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) report many of the same events and episodes in Jesus’ life, one also finds many similarities as well. However, each writer focuses on their own distinct emphasis and points of interests. Luke’s major characteristic themes include amongst other main features a distinctly prominent place given to women (chs. 1, 2; 7:11-13, 36-50; 8:1-3; 10:38-42; 21:1-4; 23:27-31, 49; 23:55–24:11);
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WOMEN IN THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
The Gospel of Luke has often been regarded as sympathetic to women, as it provides more passages about women than any other Gospel, including 23 unique stories. Taking inspiration from Jesus Christ Himself, (who upset and challenged the societal, cultural and spiritual norms of the day in this regard), Luke, under the inspiration of The Holy Spirit clearly portrays woman as equal to men in dignity and purpose.
Without the inspired writings of Luke, we would not know about the miraculous conception of Elizabeth, the prophetess Anna (Luke 2:36), Mary’s Magnificat, the woman anointing Jesus’ feet with her tears and costly oil, and of the women who accompanied Jesus in His travels and supported His ministry. The carefully research and writing of Luke describe the prominence of women in Christ’s life and ministry as He consistently portrays them as true examples of faith, in spite of a patriarchal and even exploitative culture that greatly minimized and even oppressed women. Luke’s Gospel most importantly describes the significant roles women play from the very beginning of Jesus’ life and ministry.
The Gospel reveals Christ’s perfect love and tender compassion towards all women especially towards the suffering. The significance of women in the Gospel of Luke is demonstrated by the writer specifically showcasing women’s faith and service and how Jesus reversed the societal norms by proclaiming a gospel grace, of equality and inclusion.
The author of Luke greatly increases the number of stories about the woman and that increase seems to be a deliberate. Luke mentions thirteen women not spoken of elsewhere in the Gospels, including two who formed the subject of parables. Luke, as a Gentile, would know much of the degradation of women and would be concerned to emphasize all he had heard of the attitude of the Lord towards them. Luke’s Gospel begins and ends with the focus on women and their part in the story. Luke focuses on women from the very beginning of Jesus’ life by pointing to Mary, not Joseph, who praised God with the birth announcement (Luke 1:46-55). Both Elizabeth (1:41-45) and Anna (2:36-38) also praised and blessed the Lord. There are many women in the Gospel, and there seems to be tendency for Luke to defend and praise them.
Many believe that the seriously erroneous and lopsided emphasis (Madonna and child, goddesses of fertility etc. etc) of woman, was/ is the overreaction to the male-dominated society, but it is far more important to realise that it remains the demonic counterfeit to the Gospel of the Good News that ‘that Son of Man, came to seek and safe the lost’.
A Prayer; Father God we thank and praise You that in Christ alone we discover the wonder of Your love for all mankind and discover our equal status in Your eyes, help us never to lose sight of this Truth, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.