As you come to know each of the women that Jesus knew, you may be surprised to discover how quickly your own stories are evoked by hearing theirs and how similar you are to some of them so they become role models for your own journey of faith and witness. In each of these encounters, you will meet Jesus and come to know him as they did, perhaps for the first time.
To enrich your experience, there are questions to ponder and memories of your own to recover. These Bible stories help us see parts of ourselves, both the parts we like and the parts we would prefer to deny, hide, or eliminate. As you proceed, two attitudes will be helpful: a willingness to let these biblical women speak with their own voices and an openness to hearing what you may not have heard before. These stories can help us uncover the richness of our own stories and see them for the sacred wonder that they are.
First-century mores barred women from interacting with men outside their family or marriage; yet, Jesus appears to have been unafraid to approach women, to listen to them, heal them and affirm God’s love and acceptance of them. Often without a name, these women had convictions about Jesus and a sense of security with him that surpassed that of his male disciples. Their stories show us that social equality existed among Jesus’ male and female followers. Each woman who met him went away from him changed. The existence of so many Biblical stories about women is a sign that the history of God’s salvation cannot be told without women’s active participation and the life of Jesus cannot be told accurately without the women who encountered him.