Saturday, October 22, 2016

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes–Jesus and Women #2

38d2ea28-d0b8-4953-b962-1b9a41648f0b_1.521799f19899b1e8b6f68e4eef180b97We continue with Bailey’s discussion on Jesus’ view of women in Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels, by Kenneth E. Bailey. The main purpose of this book is to take a fresh look at the Gospels in the context of Middle Eastern culture. Here we will look at four more passages that focus on Jesus' interaction with women.I welcome comments and discussion on my Facebook page. I am using the Logos version of the book. This is a book I would highly recommend that you add to your library.

This Lady is Not For Stoning John 7.53-8.11

Bailey sees this story as an enacted demonstration of the meaning of the atonement. Jesus upholds the prohibition of the law, but removes its penalty. He opposes the religious leaders who care more about "turf" and power than hurting people. Jesus also serves as a model of how to deal with sinners in light of His payment for the debt of sin.  It is a wonderful story of grace and love.

Jesus accepts the sexual code of the Old Testament tradition, but removes its penalty. John 8.1-11, 236

She is the recipient of a costly demonstration of unexpected love that saves her life. Jesus demonstrates the life-changing power of costly love. This scene provides an insight into Jesus’ understanding of the significance of his own suffering. John 8.1-11, 236

Jesus lives out a core meaning of the cross. He offers the woman a costly demonstration of unexpected love. The reader is obliged to reflect on how the woman in the story may have responded, and in the process think deep thoughts regarding his or her response to the costly love of God offered on the cross to the world (Jn 3:16). John 8.1-11, 238

The Woman in the House of Simon the Pharisee Luke 7.36-50

Bailey sees the dinner of Simon the Pharisee an attempt to humiliate the young rabbi, Jesus and correct his irresponsible offerings of forgiveness of sin. The woman had heard Jesus' offer, accepted it and came to the dinner to express her love and thanks. When she saw that all the normal customary amenities were not offered to Jesus she decided to offer them herself with what she had. The Pharisees were horrified that Jesus received her ministry and allowed her to touch him. The center of the story is the parable. Jesus pointedly reminds Simon that, though, his sins are less, he is still in need of God's forgiveness. Jesus, takes the Divine right to forgive sins and the woman recognizes this of Jesus while Simon seems to reject it. The point is the love of God and compensation for sin do not precede forgiveness; they follow and result from it.

Law-keepers often condemn lawbreakers as “sinners.” Lawbreakers generally look at law-keepers and shout “hypocrites.” But not in this story. Here the woman’s total focus is on Jesus. Luke 7.36-50, 247

By the end of the parable the subtle fusion between the creditor as God and the creditor as Jesus is complete. This can be called “hermeneutical Christology.” Jesus takes a recognized symbol for God and subtly transforms it into a symbol for himself. This is of particular significance because it is Jesus himself defining his own identity. Luke 7.41-42, 254

The woman is not offering her love hoping to receive forgiveness. Rather she is responding to the fact that she has already received much forgiveness and thus has much love to offer, as Ambrose observed. In like manner, Simon, who has been forgiven little, loves little. Forgiveness is first and the offer of love is a response to it. Luke 7.36-50 257

The Parable of the Widow and the Judge Luke 18.1-8

The parable of the unrighteous judge shows that persistent prayer works because God is NOT like the judge, but instead is a loving God who cares about the needs of his children. The widow is the hero of the story as she faithfully presents her request to the judge despite her powerlessness. Jesus ends the parable by recognizing that people are not always faithful to maintain this kind of persistent faith.

Jesus makes clear that we are not in the presence of a grim judge who is taking bribes from someone else and wants nothing to do with us. On the contrary, in prayer believers are in the presence of a loving father who cares for his children. Luke 18.1-8, 266

Too easily those who suffer injustice assume that the injustice they suffer automatically renders them righteous. Their opponents are evil. Because of the oppression they endure, God will most certainly be angry at their oppressors, but never at them! Such is not the case. Only if God is able to “put his anger far away” is he able to come and hear them. Luke 18.1-8, 266

The hero of this parable is a woman, a woman with persistence and courage—the very virtues that his female disciples so nobly exhibited all through Holy Week. To them and to him, the church remains forever in debt. Luke 18.1-8, 267

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Young Women Matthew 25.1-13

Bailey closes his section on Jesus and women with this parable about being ready for the arrival of the kingdom of God. The key point is that it is the personal responsibility of  each person to be prepared to welcome the kingdom when it arrives. This is true whether we are talking about daily opportunities to serve Jesus or when we meet him at the moment of death or at his 2nd coming.

The faithful borrow many things from each other. But they cannot borrow their own preparations for the coming of the kingdom. Commitment and the discipleship that follows can be neither loaned nor borrowed. Each believer must participate in the kingdom with his or her own resources. Matthew 25.1-13, 274

Life in the kingdom of God requires commitment to the long haul. Advanced planning is necessary and reserves must be on hand. There is neither instant discipleship nor instant maturation in the fullness of the kingdom. Matthew 25.1-13, 274

This parable is a warning that the time of the arrival of the bridegroom is unknown and that speculation regarding the hour is pointless. The enormous amount of energy that in certain Christian circles is poured into such speculation is here declared misguided. Matthew 25.1-13, 275

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