Significance of Women in Luke: Seeing Through Eyes of Faith

As we continue the study on the significance of women in Luke, we start nearing toward the end of the book and prepare for the crucifixion narrative. Before we get to the crucifixion though, a few key stories appear that requires our attention. Luke continues to use the pairing style to compare and contrasts different responses. We see more stories involving widows and continue to see what faithful discipleship looks like. 

I would like to make a short comment on one thing before we get to the main post. There are many in the feminist theology camp that picks up the parable of the woman and the lost coin to support their view on the appropriateness of calling God the Father a “She” or “Mother” among other names. This paper does not deal with feminist theology nor does it go into great depths about this particular verse. There is not time nor space to go deeper into this subject. I would recommend further study on this topic from sources that have studied and researched it far greater than I have. This paper again just looks at how Luke emphasized women in his gospel and how that was counter-cultural to that day and the typical customs.


A Proper View of God Elicits a Faithful Response

The three parables of mercy, the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son each reflect how God seeks the unbelieving and acts as a Shepherd to those who believe in Him. The woman who searches for the lost coin and rejoices with others when it is found is no less an image of God than the shepherd who seeks the lost sheep.[1] Moreover, Jesus chooses to single out a widow as an example of generosity in giving (21:1-4).[2]

In the pairing of women and men in the description of the last things (17:34-37), Luke stresses that both men and women are to take responsibility for oneself in being prepared. This is followed up by another story on responsibility in the persistent widow (18:1-8), which succeeds better than any other story in uniting the themes of equality and oppression.[3] The story of her speaking up for herself to be recognized as a human shows that God will see justice done to those who cry out to him.[4]

This discussion is followed up by a contrast between the pious Pharisee who publicly displays his religion (18:9-14) and a poor widow who exemplifies true faith when she contributes the two coins (21:1-4). Like the persistent widow, this widow understands what constitutes her dignity.[5] Compared to the Pharisee, the widow provides an authentic expression of faith and worship.


 

[1] Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 500.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Kopas, “Jesus and Women: Luke’s Gospel,” 199-200.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Kopas, “Jesus and Women: Luke’s Gospel,” 200.

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