Terry R. Baughman
“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:4).
Approximately 120 gathered in the Upper Room after the ascension of Jesus. They were awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that had been promised they would receive. Along with the disciples and others who were named there was another group who also continued in prayer and supplication together with them uniquely identified as, “the women.” We are not given a specific number or the identity of any of them other than, “Mary the mother of Jesus.”
In a very male dominated culture Jesus carefully included women throughout His earthly ministry, so it was no surprise that women were also among those who gathered for prayer anticipating the arrival of the Spirit. From the prophetess Anna who rejoiced at His birth to the woman at the well in Samaria who brought the town out to hear the words of Jesus, from the woman with the issue of blood to the Syro-Phoenician woman who acquired miracles from the Master, from the woman who gave Him birth to the women who gave Him lodging and meals, there were always women who responded to the ministry of Jesus and sought to follow Him. Jesus invites and welcomes all to become disciples, young or old, male or female.
Peter rose to address the questioning crowd who gathered to witness this amazing event on the Day of Pentecost. The rejoicing crowd of newly Spirit baptized believers spilled out of the Upper Room and onto Solomon’s Porch continuing with such ecstatic demonstration that some accused them of being drunken. Peter explained that this event was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17–18 NKJ). Notice the inclusion of “daughters” and “maidservants” (or female servants). The prophet and Peter said, “They shall prophesy.”
Women welcomed Jesus into their homes, sat at His feet as they learned from His teaching, wept at the cross, anointed Him for burial, and were the first to discover the empty tomb. Women were among the first to receive the Holy Spirit and were instrumental in spreading the Gospel in the first generation church. They were in the group praying for Peter’s release from prison. A women’s prayer group in Philippi was held by the riverside when one Sabbath Paul and Silas showed up. Lydia, a merchant of purple textiles, was converted and the members of her household were baptized. Her home was opened to Paul and Silas and she insisted that they stay for as long as it was needed. The work of God flourished in that city.
In our culture much attention is given to equality for women in every area of life. This is not a new concept for Jesus. It was His idea first. His call for discipleship goes out to all. Women are welcome!
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).