The Gospels: The Prominence of Women in the Gospel of Luke


Women were prominent in Luke’s portrayal of Jesus’ life.

Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist:

  • Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist, whose work paved the way for Jesus (Luke 1:5-7).
  • After Elizabeth conceived (verse 25), her unborn baby jumped when Mary visited (verses 41-44).
  • Elizabeth said that her son’s name was John (verses 57-60).

stable scene

Mary, mother of Jesus:

  • An angel told Mary she would be the mother of Jesus Christ (verses 26-38).
  • Mary offered a poem of praise, the Magnificat (verses 46-55).
  • Mary gave birth (2:5-7) and thought about the wonderful things said about Jesus (verse 19).
  • Mary was blessed by Elizabeth and Simeon (1:42; 2:34-35).
  • Mary did not understand, but treasured Jesus’ sayings (2:50-51).
  • Mary kept in contact with Jesus during his ministry (8:19).

Women healed by Jesus:

  • Jesus healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (4:38-39).
  • He healed a 12-year-old girl (8:41-42, 49-56).
  • He healed a woman with a 12-year infirmity (verses 43-48).
  • He healed a woman who had been crippled 18 years (13:10-17).

martha complains

Women as good examples:

  • A sinful woman anointed Jesus and was forgiven (7:37-50).
  • Mary listened while Martha worked (10:38-42).
  • A woman in a parable found a lost coin (15:8-10).
  • In another parable, a widow kept going to a judge to obtain justice (18:1-5).
  • A poor widow gave two small coins to the temple (21:1-4).

widow coins

Other roles of women:

  • Anna, a prophetess, blessed the child Jesus (2:36-38).
  • Women, part of Jesus’ traveling party, helped pay his way (8:1-3).
  • An anonymous woman blessed Mary (11:27-28).

Witnesses to the resurrection:

  • Women were among those who observed the crucifixion (23:27, 49).
  • Women prepared spices to anoint Jesus’ body (verses 55-56).
  • Women were the first to find Jesus’ tomb empty (24:1-3).
  • Angels told the women that Jesus had risen (verses 4-8).
  • Women were the first to tell the other disciples (verses 9-11).
  • Although first-century culture usually minimized the importance of women, Luke portrayed women as good examples in the early church.

Author: Michael Morrison

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