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Jesus And Women

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a) How is an understanding of the person and teaching of Jesus assisted by His conversations with: i) The Samaritan Woman Women feature prominently in Johns Gospel, and Jesus seems to have included a group of women amongst his regular followers and supporters. His attitude to, and inclusion of, women is sharply contrasted with the traditional views of his culture. It places them at key events, signs and preaching activities, anticipating a key place for them in the early church. In the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, Jesus asks her to give him a drink and the woman is rather surprised as it was common knowledge Jews and Samaritans did not share vessels or eat together. Jesus provoked surprise among his disciples "They marveled that he was talking to a woman" (v.27) There is then a conversation in which Jesus begins to talk bout living water which he can provide. There is an unusual combination here - man and woman, Jew and Samaritan, a double prejudice. We understand that the Jews considered themselves God's Chosen people and due to the Samaritans mixed race they were considered worse the gentiles. In addition, Jesus made it clear that although "It is from Jews that salvation comes" (v.23), God would in the future be worshipped from different places and the emphasis was to be on spirit and truth. ...read more.


It is instructive to note that this woman is the first individual to whom Jesus, in, the Johannine account, clearly reveals that he is the Messiah. She is also the first messenger of that revelation outside the circle of disciples (v. 29). The witness role of the Samaritan woman is emphasized by John. He says that the villagers "believed ... because of the woman's word." (John 4:39) ii) The woman taken in adultery "The status of women was markedly inferior to that of men throughout the ancient world including Judaism." G. Stanton. The emphasis on this story is on forgiveness and Jesus' attitude to those who have sinned. Jesus demonstrates compassion and wisdom. A woman who was probably guilty of sexual activity before marriage was brought before Jesus by the Jewish authorities who hoped to trap him into breaking the Law. Jesus however is aware of the trap and neatly avoids it with the words: "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw the first stone at her" (8:7). If Jesus deferred to the Romans, he discredited himself as a Teacher of the Law. If he condoned the stoning, the Romans would consider him an insurrectionist and put him to death. ...read more.


It's not that he condoned adultery; it is just that it is not the unpardonable sin. Rejecting the grace of Jesus to forgive sin is the only unforgivable sin. So in conclusion, Jesus teaches us that salvation is possible for all sinners but "they must sin NO more" (v.11). Also we must confront ourselves and others to bring an end to sin and Jesus' compassion for the worst of humanity shows His tenderness of heart. b) To what extent does knowledge of the social and religious views of first century Palestine contribute to an understanding of these conversations? During the first century, the religion of the Samaritans was similar to that of the Jews, except that they were more liberal-more kindred spirits of the Sadducees, for example, than the Pharisees. Religiously, though, they were considered as foreigners. In reference to the Samaritan woman William Barclay even tells of a segment of the Pharisees known as the "bleeding and bruised" Pharisees; when they saw a woman approaching, they would close their eyes, hence, were running into things constantly, and yet Jesus addressed this woman: "Give me water to drink." The Son of God, therefore, in one fell swoop, broke through two barriers-the one steeped in racial bigotry, the other a hurtful disposition that distanced the man from one of the sweetest treasures of God's creations. ?? ?? ?? ?? Nana Opoku-Ware 13HXB ...read more.

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