She Matters – Galatians 3:28

This Sunday, celebrating International Women’s Day, we will deliver a standalone sermon titled “She Matters.” This sermon will present a biblical perspective on women.

We elicited a variety of responses to International Women’s Day. In our nation, many city women celebrate in diverse ways, such as going out for meals, attending events, or sharing posts on social media. However, I believe that the majority of Indian women, particularly those in rural areas, may not even be aware of this day, let alone celebrate it.

Unfortunately, not every woman in our society feels valued, appreciated, or honored as they should. This is mainly due to the prevalent selfish and disrespectful attitudes.

Here’s a post I read yesterday by Ghazal Alagh, the Co-founder of Mamaearth. In it, she summarizes the difficulties she experiences in her context. This post was shared on her LinkedIn account.

This has been the case even during the time of Jesus.

During the time of Jesus in ancient Israel, societal norms were heavily influenced by patriarchal structures, and women’s roles were predominantly defined within the confines of home and family life. The treatment and status of women varied, but generally, they had limited rights compared to men and were often subject to strict social codes.

  • Legal Status: Women’s legal rights were minimal. They could not serve as witnesses in court in most cases, reflecting their marginalized position in the legal system. Marriage contracts, divorces, and property rights typically favored men.
  • Social and Religious Life: Women’s participation in religious and public life was restricted. In the synagogue, women were separated from men and had a more passive role in worship. Although women were responsible for maintaining religious practices at home, their access to formal religious education and leadership roles was severely limited.
  • Marriage and Family: Women were typically married at a young age, and marriages were often arranged. A woman’s honor and value were closely tied to her role as a wife and mother, particularly in bearing sons. Virginity before marriage was highly valued, and women could be severely punished for sexual misconduct.
  • Economic and Work Life: Most women’s work revolved around household duties, such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for children. While women from wealthier families had servants to help with these tasks, they were still confined to roles that were considered suitable for their gender. Some women, especially those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, worked outside the home in agriculture, textiles, or as merchants to support their families.
  • Social Interaction: Women’s social interactions were closely monitored, and they were expected to avoid speaking with men outside their immediate family in public settings. This segregation was part of maintaining a woman’s honor and the family’s reputation.

In this context, Jesus’s interactions with women were revolutionary. He broke societal norms by speaking to women in public, including them among his followers, and addressing their needs and concerns. He treated women with respect and dignity, valuing their faith and contributions to his ministry. This approach was radical and highlighted the inclusive nature of Jesus’s message, offering a new perspective on women’s value and role in society and within the realm of faith.

In doing so, Jesus, as the Son of God, was communicating God’s heart and expressing the Father’s pain caused by sin and rebellion.

Look at the passage from Galatians 3:28

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28 (ESV)

Paul’s statement is profound, especially considering the social context of the time, which was deeply divided along lines of ethnicity (Jew vs. Greek), social status (slave vs. free), and gender (male vs. female). These divisions often dictated a person’s rights, responsibilities, and societal value.

By saying “there is no male and female,” Paul is not denying the physical or biological differences between genders or suggesting that the social realities of his day had vanished. Instead, he is emphasizing that in the realm of salvation and belonging to Christ, these distinctions do not confer any advantage or disadvantage. In Christ, all believers, regardless of their gender, are equal and united. They share equally in the
promises of God, have equal access to salvation, and are equally members of the body of Christ.

This principle of unity and equality is foundational to the Christian faith and challenges believers to transcend societal divisions and prejudices. It calls for a community where all are valued and can contribute freely, without the barriers imposed by gender or any other social categorization. Paul’s message in Galatians 3:28 is a powerful reminder of the transformative nature of the gospel, which creates a new identity and a new family that is defined not by earthly distinctions but by faith in Christ Jesus.

Here, I aim to share four accounts of Jesus interacting with different women in the Bible, along with the lessons we can derive from these interactions.

1. Her Honor Matters

The first story involves Jesus’s interaction with the woman caught in adultery, as described in John 8:1-11.

“But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes andthe Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?’ This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask
him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.'”

In the heart of the Gospel of John lies a narrative that not only challenges societal norms of its time but also offers profound insights into the essence of justice, mercy, and honor. The story of the woman caught in adultery, as narrated in John 8:3-11, unfolds in the bustling streets of Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ’s teachings are captivating many. Yet, it is in this setting that a woman’s story of dishonor and redemption emerges, revealing the depth of Jesus’s compassion and wisdom.

The account begins with scribes and Pharisees bringing a woman to Jesus, accusing her of adultery. They posed a challenge to Him, citing the law of Moses, which demanded such sins be punished by stoning. The accusers were not merely seeking justice; they aimed to entrap Jesus, forcing Him into a dilemma that would either compromise His teachings of mercy or defy the law.

However, Jesus’s response to this situation was neither of direct confrontation nor of submission to their demands. Instead, He stooped down and wrote on the ground, a gesture that has puzzled scholars and theologians for centuries. When pressed for an answer, Jesus stood and delivered a statement that would echo through the ages: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

This simple yet profound directive shifted the focus from the woman’s sin to the universal human condition of imperfection. One by one, the accusers departed, leaving the woman alone with Jesus. In this moment, Jesus exemplified His revolutionary approach to justice and mercy. He did not condone her actions but extended grace, telling her, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.

The story of the woman caught in adultery is a testament to the dignity and honor that Jesus affords to each individual, regardless of their past. It challenges us to examine our own tendencies to judge and condemn, urging a posture of humility and compassion. Jesus’s actions in this narrative speak volumes about His respect for human dignity, offering redemption instead of condemnation.

Moreover, this account invites reflection on the role of community in dealing with transgressions. Instead of fostering an environment of shame and punishment, Jesus promotes a culture of forgiveness and new beginnings. It’s a call to communities to support the restoration of honor to those who have fallen, recognizing that everyone is capable of change and deserving of a second chance.

In the modern context, “Her Honor Matters” serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative power of mercy and the importance of upholding the dignity of every individual. It challenges societal norms that often seek to shame and ostracize, proposing instead a community built on understanding, forgiveness, and mutual respect.

As we reflect on this passage from John 8:3-11, let us remember the value of each person’s honor in the eyes of Jesus. May we be inspired to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly, recognizing that in the face of human frailty, compassion is the most righteous path. In doing so, we honor not only the individuals we encounter but the very teachings of Christ, who showed us that indeed, her honor matters.

2 . Her Story Matters

The second story involves Jesus’s interaction with the woman at the well, as described in John 4:1-30,39.

“Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?’ Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’ He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’ ‘I have no husband,’ she replied. Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’ ‘Woman,’ Jesus replied, ‘believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’ The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he.’ Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Why are you talking with her?’ Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’ They came out of the town and made their way toward him. … Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.'”

In a world where the voices of the marginalized and overlooked are often drowned out by the loudness of the powerful and privileged, the gospel of John chapter 4 verses 1 through 42 offers us a profound narrative. This is the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, a story that speaks volumes about Jesus’ revolutionary approach to societal norms and His deep care for the individual. Through this encounter, we learn an invaluable lesson: “Her story matters to God.”

Jesus, tired from His journey, stops by a well in Samaria. His disciples have gone into town, and He encounters a Samaritan woman coming to draw water. In this moment, Jesus does something radical. He speaks to her, a woman, which was culturally unexpected, especially since she was a Samaritan and Jews traditionally avoided Samaritans due to deep-rooted prejudices.

Jesus breaks down not just one but three significant barriers in this encounter: racial (Jew versus Samaritan), social (man versus woman), and moral (a rabbi versus a woman with a complicated personal life). By doing so, He communicates something powerful: no person is beyond the reach of His love and concern.

Jesus initiates a conversation about living water, leading to a deep theological and personal discussion. He reveals knowledge about her personal life – that she has had five husbands and the man she now has is not her husband. This revelation is not to shame her but to show that He sees her, knows her, and still offers her the gift of eternal life.

In Jesus’ revelation of her personal story, we see that God is intimately aware of our struggles, failures, and the secrets we keep hidden. Yet, His approach is one of grace and transformation. He offers her “living water,” symbolizing the eternal life and satisfaction only He can provide.

The woman’s response to Jesus is remarkable. She leaves her water jar behind, symbolizing her old life, and goes back to her town to tell everyone about Jesus. Her testimony leads many to believe in Him.

This transformation illustrates the power of an encounter with Jesus. The woman moves from shame to dignity, from isolation to becoming a witness. Her story emphasizes that no one’s past disqualifies them from playing a significant role in God’s kingdom.

Like the Samaritan woman, each of us has a story marked by failures, hurts, and perhaps secrets we think disqualify us from God’s love or use. Yet, this story teaches us that our backgrounds, mistakes, or societal labels do not define how God sees us. In Christ, we find someone who knows us completely and loves us unconditionally. He invites us to experience the living water and share our transformed stories with the world.

3. Her Needs Matter

The third story involves Jesus’s interaction with His mother at the cross, as described in John 19:26-27

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

In the hustle of our daily lives, amidst the pressing needs and concerns that we all carry, there’s a profound truth echoed in the Scriptures that brings comfort and challenge alike: “Her needs matter to God.” Today, we draw our attention to a moment of tender care and deep compassion, recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 19, verses 26 to 27. As Jesus hung on the cross, in His final moments, He addressed the
needs of His mother, Mary, entrusting her to the care of His beloved disciple, John. This act, seemingly small in the grand scale of His mission, reveals the heart of God for the individual, especially for the needs of women in His care.

As Jesus hung on the cross, He saw His mother and the disciple He loved standing nearby. In the midst of His own agony, Jesus was not self-absorbed; instead, He was mindful of His mother’s needs. With few words, He said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, the disciple took her into his home. In this moment, Jesus teaches us a powerful lesson about God’s care for our individual needs.

Even in His suffering, Jesus demonstrated God’s compassionate nature. He understood the practical, emotional, and social needs of His mother in the aftermath of His death. This act is a testament to the importance God places on our physical and emotional well-being.

Jesus ensured that Mary would be cared for after His death. In doing so, He models how we are to look after the vulnerable and needy among us. It’s a clear message that God is attentive to our needs and makes provisions for us, often through the hands and hearts of those within our community.

In a time and culture where women were often marginalized and overlooked, Jesus affirms the value and dignity of women. Mary’s needs mattered to God, just as the needs of all women do. This moment underscores that God sees, hears, and responds to the needs of women with care and action.

Jesus’ instructions to Mary and John also highlight the importance of community and mutual care. He creates a new family bond between them, showing that our relationships are meant to reflect God’s care for us. In the family of God, we are called to look after one another, ensuring that no need goes unnoticed or unmet.

“Her needs matter to God” is not just a comforting thought; it’s a call to action. As followers of Christ, we are called to mirror God’s compassion and care for the needy, especially for women who have been historically undervalued and overlooked. Let us leave today with a renewed commitment to be God’s hands and feet in the world, ensuring that through our actions, everyone around us knows that they matter to God.

4. Her Voice Matters

The fourth story involves Jesus’s interaction with Mary Magdalene after His resurrection, as described in John 20:11-18.

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’—and that he had said these things to her.”

In a world where voices clamor for attention, where the marginalized often feel silenced, and where many struggle to be heard, the Gospel of John offers us a profound narrative that resonates with hope and affirmation. Today, we turn our hearts to John 20:11-18, a passage that beautifully illustrates how deeply “Her Voice Matters to God.” This passage recounts the encounter of Mary Magdalene with the resurrected
Jesus, marking a moment where a woman’s voice was not only heard but also honored and entrusted with a pivotal message.

Mary Magdalene stood weeping outside the tomb of Jesus. In her grief, she encountered two angels and, subsequently, Jesus Himself, though she did not recognize Him at first. When Jesus called her by name, “Mary,” she recognized Him and responded. Jesus entrusted her with a message for His disciples, making her the first to proclaim the news of His resurrection.

In her moment of profound grief and loss, Mary’s voice expressed her deep longing and love for Jesus. Her voice mattered to God, so much so that Jesus chose to reveal Himself to her first among all His followers. This encounter underscores the value God places on the voices of those who seek Him earnestly.

Jesus’s choice of Mary Magdalene as the first witness to His resurrection is significant. In a society where a woman’s testimony was often devalued, Jesus empowered Mary to be the bearer of the most crucial message in Christian faith: “I have seen the Lord.” Through this, Jesus demonstrates that every voice, regardless of gender or societal status, is valuable and capable of carrying His truth to the world.

Jesus’s interaction with Mary Magdalene sends a clear message that women’s voices are heard and honored by God. It is a divine affirmation that in the Kingdom of God, every voice, especially those often pushed to the margins, has immense value and purpose.

“Her Voice Matters to God” is not just a statement about Mary Magdalene; it’s a truth that applies to every one of us. In a world eager to silence the voices of the faithful, let us remember the example of Jesus, who listens, affirms, and empowers. May we be a community where every voice is valued, where every story of encounter with God is cherished, and where we all feel encouraged to declare, “I have seen the Lord.”


These, I believe, are great lessons to learn and valuable information. But the question is, what do we do with it? Should we actively fight for women’s rights and try to change society?

Certainly, we should stand up for their rights when conflicts or issues arise. However, I believe the true battle is internal. These lessons should guide our hearts towards Christ, allowing us to find comfort in him. This way, we can live our Christian life with joy and purpose, instead of feeling disappointed, angry, and broken.

Women in today’s society can experience feelings of dishonor in various circumstances. This can occur when they are not respected or valued in their personal or professional lives, when they are subjected to gender-based discrimination or harassment, or when they are marginalized due to their gender. They may also feel dishonored when their voices are not heard or their contributions are not acknowledged.

In these circumstances, they can find comfort in Christ and the Gospel in several ways. The teachings of Jesus highlight the inherent value and worth of every individual, regardless of gender. Christ’s interactions with women, as depicted in the Bible, show that he acknowledged, respected, and valued them. This offers a powerful reminder that women are equally valued and loved by God.

Furthermore, the Gospel message is one of grace, acceptance, and redemption. This can offer comfort to those who feel dishonored, reminding them that their worth is not defined by societal norms or expectations, but by their identity as children of God.

Finally, finding comfort in Christ also involves being part of a faith community where they are loved, supported, and valued. This community can provide a space for women to share their experiences, receive encouragement, and be affirmed in their worth and dignity.

In essence, finding comfort in Christ and the Gospel means embracing the truth of their identity as valued and loved by God, seeking his peace and assurance, and finding support and affirmation in a community of believers.

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