Should women be forbidden to speak about the Christ?
Apparently Jesus Himself didn’t think so.
He stopped at a well near Sychar of Samaria and spoke to a women whose reputation was known in town, but most visiting Jews would not have known (John 4). After they had spoken, He did not forbid her from going “back to the town and [saying] to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Nor was He so offended at the turnout she prodded that He immediately left town on the run; in fact, He stayed two days there.
In Samaria. Thanks to a woman.
Nor did He choose to appear first to the remaining eleven on the morning of the third day after His crucifixion. No, instead, “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.” (Mark 16:9).
A cured demoniac. A woman.
In fact, the eleven didn’t believe her nor her feminine friends at first (Luke 24:10-11). But they were ones He sent – and Peter and John had enough curiosity stirred to go and see for themselves (John 20:3-9).
Granted, these women were not evangelists in the sense that they wrote any of the four gospels, nor were they Protestant (or Mormon!) missionaries or ministers. But in the word’s original use in scripture, they were bringing good news.
Good news about Jesus.
In one case, news of a prophet who might be the Christ who shared news about His kingdom.
In the other, news of the Son of God miraculously raised from the dead.
Really, really good news.
They were not telling old wives’ tales (1 Timothy 4:7), nor were they disgracing an assembly by inquiring about things during worship (1 Corinthians 14:34-35). They had good news to share, and they were sharing it.
They were people who sinned who had also encountered the embodied Grace and Word of God, and there was an urgency about this good news that could not be delayed nor kept silent – and Jesus encouraged it, giving them this good news to share.
Against all of the prejudices of culture – but against no prohibitions of the Law – Jesus gave that news of Himself to women to share with men and it was enough that people came looking for the Christ.
He told one woman “… the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” and “… true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
He told the others that He was “…returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Really, really, really good news.
To women who would serve as His messengers in a world that only listened to men, He gave this gospel.
And people responded.
“And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” ~ John 4:41-42
“Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)” ~ John 20:8-9
Now, you may object that neither of these situations involved gathered worship, but let’s remember that Jesus’ message to the woman at the well was that true worship was no longer a matter of time and place, but of spirit and truth. His words were “a time is coming and has now come.”
People were gathered. They heard gospel. They believed.
Just what Jesus wants – and what glorifies His Father’s name through Him (Romans 15).