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Comparative Religion

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The image of women in the Gospel of Luke
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The image of women in the Gospel of Luke
Many studies have been carried out show the image given to women in the traditional context. These studies show that a woman was inferior to the man who made her perform inferior tasks such as cooking and giving birth. Studies have also been carried out to show the image of women in the New Testament. Luke is one of the gospels that show the clear intention of Jesus mission on women than any other gospel. This research seeks to discuss some of the images that Luke gives to women in the society. The first part of the paper gives a brief introduction to the topic and defines some of the terms the reader will often encounter. The second part analyzes some of the images given to women in the Gospel of Luke. Finally, the third part compares the nature of women in the Gospel of Luke and their nature in the Old Testament. Data for this paper was collected from peer-reviewed journal articles and the Gospel of Luke.

Table of Contents Abstract 1 Introduction 2 Definition of terms 3 The image of women in the Gospel of St. Luke 3 Introduction 3 Women as the chosen ones 4 Women as witnesses of the ministry of Jesus 4 Women as examples of faith 5 Women as good examples in Jesus teachings 6 Women as part of the mission of Jesus 7 A comparison of the image of women in ST.LUKE and in the Old Testament 8 Conclusion 9 References 10

The image of women in the society has been changing from the ancient times to the present (Cardozo, 2013). In the traditional context, women were considered inferior to men since the man was referred to as the head of the family. As a result, the woman was seen as a wife and a mother and nothing more in the traditional context (Cardozo, 2013). However, civilization and modernization changed the image of a woman from a wife and a mother to a career person. Today, we see women share professions equally with men such that there are female lawyers and male lawyers among other professions (Sherouse, 2013). In fact, a common saying says that “what a man can do a woman can do it better.” The nature of this transition is not different from that in the spiritual context presented in the Bible.
In the Old Testament, women were inferior to men, and there were specific gender roles to distinguish women and men (Cardozo, 2013). For instance, inheritance was given to the boy child and not the girl child. However, the image of women changed in the New Testament since Jesus came to liberate the weak from their sufferings (Graham, 2001). For a long time, women were oppressed in the society, and it is for this reason that women are portrayed positively in the Gospel of Luke. Women occupy a favored position in the society in the Gospel of Luke (Cardozo, 2013). When someone talks about women in the Gospel of Luke, most people are quick to think of Mary and Elizabeth and ignore the image of other women in this Gospel (Evans, 2012). Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore the image given to all women used in the Gospel of Luke.

Definition of terms
Women: An adult female member of the society. The opposite of a woman is a man who belongs to the male gender (Sherouse, 2013).
Religion: Consists of people's beliefs and worship towards a supernatural controlling power such as God. People who worship a given religion have a commitment to it such that its beliefs guide their choices.
Jesus: In the Christian context it is the Messiah who was sent by God to deliver mankind from his sinful nature that resulted from his subjection to sin (Sherouse, 2013).
ST. Luke Gospel: It is the third gospel out of the four canonical gospels that discuss the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Witness: A person who has evidence about the occurrence of a given event because it occurred in their presence.
The image of women in the Gospel of St. Luke
In Luke, it is possible to ignore the role of other women and focus on the roles played by Mary and Elizabeth (Cardozo, 2013). This gospel begins with the accounts of two favored women, Elizabeth mother of John the Baptist and the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary. John was remarkable because he prepared the way for Jesus, who was the Messiah of the human race (Evans, 2012). All other women in the gospel of Luke were portrayed in a particular image all through the Gospel (Cardozo, 2013). There were those that were given the image of the chosen ones like Mary and Elizabeth. Others were given the image of being witnesses to the ministry of Jesus Christ such Anna (Graham, 2001). Also, others are given the image of examples of faith such as Mary and the woman with a blood flow. Finally, others who took part in the mission of Jesus such as those He used in his teachings act as symbols of Jesus mission.
Women as the chosen ones
Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist and Mary, mother of Jesus, were the chosen women in the Gospel of Luke (Cardozo, 2013). Elizabeth gave birth to John, who was going to prepare the way for the Messiah (Luke 1: 5-7). Her blessing came after a long time of being childless which had made her suffer a lot of criticism (Evans, 2012). Elizabeth was the wife to Zechariah, a priest in the temple which made her situation worse because many people believe that a man of God like Zachariah should not suffer childless (Cardozo, 2013). The good news was that at the timing of God, Elizabeth became favored to carry the seed of a great prophet who would pave the way of the Messiah. As a result, Elizabeth was chosen and set apart from the beginning until the moment when the Messiah was coming.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a simple woman from a humble beginning (Luke & Green, 2014). Her humility and holiness since she was a virgin made her be the chosen one. The Angel Gabriel told her that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ (Luke 1: 26-38). Prophet Isaiah had foretold that the Messiah will come to lift the weak in the society (Sherouse, 2013). Mary was weak and defenseless from a poor background, but God chooses her to carry the seed of the Messiah because Jesus had come to set her kind free. Therefore, Mary and Elizabeth are given the image of the chosen women who brought forth deliverance to the human race through the seed of their wombs.
Women as witnesses of the ministry of Jesus
Women played a part in testifying that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. For instance, Anna, a prophetess in the temple who blessed Jesus during his dedication proved that Jesus was indeed the Messiah (Luke 2: 36-38). She said that she was ready to rest in peace because her eyes have seen the Savior of the world (Cardozo, 2013). Anna was a witness who foretold the mission of Jesus even before he came to the age of carrying out his mission. Also, the “sinful” woman washed Jesus feet with her tears, wiped him with her hair and anointed them with alabaster oil had witnessed that Jesus was the great prophet (Luke 7:37-50). She was greatly convinced that Jesus had the power to liberate her from her sins (Evans, 2012). Jesus forgave her sins despite the objection from the teachers of the law because He knew that she had witnessed messiah mission.
The first witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ were women. They were the ones who anointed the body of Jesus in the tomb and were also the first ones to notices that the tomb was empty after Jesus had resurrected (Luke 24:1-3). After, they ran to tell the disciples who had not known about the resurrection (Luke 24: 9-11). Ironically, it is expected that the disciples should have been the first to learn about the resurrection of Jesus because they spent the most time with him (Cardozo, 2013). However, Jesus revealed his resurrection to women first because he had come to lift their standards in the society. Jesus came to show that women were as important in the kingdom of God as men were.
Women as examples of faith
Most people in the time of Jesus ministry lacked faith in miracles (Luke & Green, 2014). However, some women had faith in Jesus and God despite the existence of many doubting people in their generation (Evans, 2012). For example, when Mary received the news from Angel Gabriel that she would be the mother of the Messiah, she believed with no doubt (Graham, 2001). On the contrary, when Zachariah received the news that his wife Elizabeth would have a son, he questioned God until he received the punishment of being a dump. In this scenario, we see that Mary portrayed an example of faith more than Zechariah.
Also, another example of a woman with faith was the one who had suffered from a blood flow for twelve years (Luke 8:43-48). She had the kind of faith that Jesus described as little as the size of mustard seed that moves a mountain (Cardozo, 2013). She believed that touching the garment of Jesus would heal her condition and for sure her faith paid off. This woman is an excellent example of faith because Jesus recognized her for being a woman of great faith. From these two examples, we learn that women are an image of great faith in the Gospel of Luke (Karris & Reid, 1998). They teach us that faith can move mountains like it did in their situations.
Women as good examples in Jesus teachings
In Jesus teachings, He used various subjects and objects to help his listeners understand. Jesus used women in his teachings as good examples who should be emulated in the society (Cardozo, 2013). For instance, Mary chooses to listen to Jesus teachings while Martha worked complaining that Mary would not help (Luke 10: 38-42). Jesus pointed out that Mary was a good example because she chooses the imperishable permanent things of the kingdom while Martha chooses those that were temporary (Karris & Reid, 1998). From the example of Mary we learn that there are women who loved to listen to the word of God.
Also, Jesus used the example of the woman who kept going to the judge to obtain justice until the judge gave in to her persistence (Luke 18:1-5). Jesus used this woman to teach about persistence and its power to change the hurts of the wicked (Evans, 2012). The judge did not know God nor have the heart to do good, but he succumbed to her persistence. We learn that we should be persistent in everything we do so as to obtain the best results.
Finally, Jesus used the example of a poor widow who gave two small coins to the temple (Luke 21:1-4). She was a good example because she gave all she had out of the abundance of her heart (Cardozo, 2013). Other members of the congregation gave a small part of their treasures, but the woman gave all she had (Karris & Reid, 1998). Jesus used her to teach about giving out of abundance and faithfully. It not about how much one gives but the attitude of the heart of the giver. The poor woman was a true example of giving out of one’s sincerity and abundance.
Women as part of the mission of Jesus
Jesus came for the weak and the oppressed in the society. He came to set them free and give them a positive image in the society (Cardozo, 2013). Women have been looked at as weak individuals and most of them faced significant challenges in life. For example, Jesus healed the woman who had been a cripple for eighteen years (Luke 13:10-17).Therefore, the healing of this woman showed that Jesus mission was to heal the sick and the oppressed irrespective of their gender (Evans, 2012). Jesus wanted to show the world that women were part of his mission just the as the children and men were. The Pharisees were not happy with Jesus action because He had healed the woman on the Sabbath. Although, the law required that one should not do any work on the Sabbath, Jesus wanted to emphasize that healing the oppressed was more important in the kingdom than the observance of the law.
In another instance, Jesus defended a woman who had been caught committing adultery. A crowd had followed her with the intention of stoning her to death as was required by the Law of Moses. Jesus being the light of the world made her stoners sees that they were also full of sin as the woman (Evans, 2012). None of them dared to stone the woman because they knew that they were sinners too. Jesus forgave the woman and began a new chapter of her life as a changed person (Karris & Reid, 1998). Women were treated severely by the law than men when they were found in the wrong. Jesus came to change that by showing that all humankind is equal irrespective of gender differences. He showed that all of us are sinners and should ask for forgiveness from God (Cardozo, 2013).
A comparison of the image of women in ST.LUKE and in the Old Testament
First, in the gospel of Luke women and men have the same roles in the kingdom of God whereas in the Old Testament gender roles were specific (Evans, 2012). For instance, in the Gospel of Luke there is the existence of prophets and prophetesses. Anna is an example of a prophet mention in the gospel of Luke, who took part to witness the ministry of Jesus. In the Old, Testament inheritance was left for the male children only. Also, during the dedication of a child, the offerings differed depending on the gender of the child. This shows that women and men were unequal in the Old Testament (Evans, 2012). Jesus came to demonstrate that we all have equal roles in the kingdom of God. Jesus healed both men and women, and he defended both men and women. Thus, Luke gives women an image that shows that to God all of us are equal irrespective of our gender.
Second, in the gospel of Luke all of us are sinners and deserve the same punishment (Sladek, 2015). On the contrary, in the Old Testament women received harsh treatment than men in some circumstances (Cardozo, 2013). For example, if a woman were caught committing adultery, she would be stoned to death according to the Law of Moses. However, there was no charge for the man whom she was committing adultery with (Cardozo, 2013). This was unfair to women, and that is why Jesus came to set them free (Levine & Blickenstaff, 2002). He came to show us that we should not judge others because we are all sinners. For example, when the sinful woman washed his feet with her tears and anointed them with oil, the Pharisees were not happy (Luke & Green, 2014). They passed judgment on Jesus saying that he was a sinner, but Jesus knew who the woman was a sinner who had recognized her sinful nature.
In summary, women were unequal to men in the Old Testament (Evans, 2012). The Gospel of Luke gives women a different image that shows that they have equal roles with men in the Kingdom of God (Levine & Blickenstaff, 2002). Luke also shows that Jesus came to set free both women and men from all their suffering. Jesus came as a Savior of the world who came not to divide but to unite all people irrespective of their differences (Cardozo, 2013). It is for these reasons that women occupy a primary role in the Gospel of Luke than in the Old Testament.
Women have superior positions in the Kingdom of God according to the Gospel of Luke. Luke portrays women as witnesses of the work of Jesus Christ (Sladek, 2015). They testified that Jesus was indeed the Messiah of the world. Luke also portrays women as a chosen generation that brings deliverance to the world. Elizabeth and Mary bore sons who brought salvation to all humans. Luke also describes women as examples of faith who believed in the power of God and Jesus ministry (Cardozo, 2013). For instance, the woman with a blood flow believed touching the garment of Christ would heal her. Luke also portrays women as good examples used in Jesus teachings to bring understanding to people (Evans, 2012). For example, Jesus taught about perseverance by using the woman who visited the judge so many times to receive justice until the judge had mercy on her. Therefore, Luke brought liberation to women by showing that they are not weak creatures but are a perfect God’s creation.

Cardozo, J. (2013). The Prominence of Women in the Gospel of Luke. Grace Communion International, 2(2), 65-90. Retrieved from
Evans, A. (2012). Women and Equality in the Gospel of Luke. Frontline, 6(2), 100-179.
Graham, S. (2001). Luke's Legacy to Women | Grace Communion International. Retrieved 28 November 2015, from
Karris, R., & Reid, B. (1998). Choosing the Better Part? Women in the Gospel of Luke. Journal of Biblical Literature, 117(3), 539.
Levine, A., & Blickenstaff, M. (2002). A Feminist companion to Luke. London: Sheffield Academic Press.
Luke, T., & Green, J. (2014). The Theology of the Gospel of Luke. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 28 November 2015, from
Sherouse, A. (2013). The One Percent and the Gospel of Luke. Review & Expositor, 110(2), 285-293.
Sladek, D. (2015). Book Review: Survey of Old Testament Commentaries: Tremper Longman III, Old Testament Commentary Survey. The Expository Times, 126(5), 252-253.

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...|Centro Educativo Salesianos Alameda |English Department | |“150 años al servicio de los jóvenes” | | English Guide (1st Grade) Comparative & Superlative Adjectives Name: ___________________________________________________________________ I Write the opposite of: 1. Cold 11. Weak 2. Tall 12. Poor 3. Long 13. Silly 4. Pretty 14. Late 5. Good 15. Dry 6. Fat 16. Difficult 7. Young 17. Bad 8. Fast 18. Small 9. High 19. Light 10. Large 20. Exciting II Make comparative sentences. (Short adjectives) 1. Chile – Long – Peru ___________________________________________________ 2. The winter – bad – the fall ___________________________________________________ 3. A cheetah – fast – a lion ___________________________________________________ 4. Arica – dry – Valparaíso ...

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