When I saw this title: Where Were the Women Disciples of Jesus? by Russell Waldrop, it was clear that this was an article and a question that needed to be addressed and answered. This is only part one of the article, but judging from our experience with popular Chrisitian press, part two will be similar, in that only Bible information will be referenced...so here we go with a blog about the first part of the article: just where - and who - those women were. See below for that.
Here's a short snippet from the article:
So, the adolescent anchor that "all of Jesus' disciples were men" carries dangerous baggage for both girls and boys, especially for adult women following Jesus today. It remains one of those "childish ways" that the Bible tells us to outgrow (1Cor. 13:11). It was also wrong. There were many more female disciples than "The Twelve."
Click to read the article
Yes, indeed there were female disciples!
Only in The Urantia Book will you ever read the whole story of the women who followed Jesus, primary among them being the Women's Evangelistic Corps established by Jesus during the Third Preaching Tour as the "emancipation proclamation which set free all women and for all time."
Here's how the story begins:
Of all the daring things which Jesus did in connection with his earth career, the most amazing was his sudden announcement on the evening of January 16: "On the morrow we will set apart ten women for the ministering work of the kingdom." At the beginning of the two weeks' period during which the apostles and the evangelists were to be absent from Bethsaida on their furlough, Jesus requested David to summon his parents back to their home and to dispatch messengers calling to Bethsaida ten devout women who had served in the administration of the former encampment and the tented infirmary. These women had all listened to the instruction given the young evangelists, but it had never occurred to either themselves or their teachers that Jesus would dare to commission women to teach the gospel of the kingdom and minister to the sick. These ten women selected and commissioned by Jesus were: Susanna, the daughter of the former chazan of the Nazareth synagogue; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas; Elizabeth, the daughter of a wealthy Jew of Tiberias and Sepphoris; Martha, the elder sister of Andrew and Peter; Rachel, the sister-in-law of Jude, the Master's brother in the flesh; Nasanta, the daughter of Elman, the Syrian physician; Milcha, a cousin of the Apostle Thomas; Ruth, the eldest daughter of Matthew Levi; Celta, the daughter of a Roman centurion; and Agaman, a widow of Damascus. Subsequently, Jesus added two other women to this group— Mary Magdalene and Rebecca, the daughter of Joseph of Arimathea.
Click to read the whole story of the Women's Evangelistic Corps
Over time, many women joined this corps, growing its ranks to more than 50 women.
Reading on from the link above, we first hear of Mary Magdalene, one of the first successes in the women's ministry:
150:2.2 It was at Magdala that the women first demonstrated their usefulness and vindicated the wisdom of their choosing. Andrew had imposed rather strict rules upon his associates about doing personal work with women, especially with those of questionable character. When the party entered Magdala, these ten women evangelists were free to enter the evil resorts and preach the glad tidings directly to all their inmates. And when visiting the sick, these women were able to draw very close in their ministry to their afflicted sisters. As the result of the ministry of these ten women (afterward known as the twelve women) at this place, Mary Magdalene was won for the kingdom. Through a succession of misfortunes and in consequence of the attitude of reputable society toward women who commit such errors of judgment, this woman had found herself in one of the nefarious resorts of Magdala. It was Martha and Rachel who made plain to Mary that the doors of the kingdom were open to even such as she. Mary believed the good news and was baptized by Peter the next day.
150:2.3 Mary Magdalene became the most effective teacher of the gospel among this group of twelve women evangelists. She was set apart for such service, together with Rebecca, at Jotapata about four weeks subsequent to her conversion. Mary and Rebecca, with the others of this group, went on through the remainder of Jesus' life on earth. laboring faithfully and effectively for the enlightenment and uplifting of their downtrodden sisters; and when the last and tragic episode in the drama of Jesus' life was being enacted, notwithstanding the apostles all fled but one, these women were all present, and not one either denied or betrayed him.
There were many women who followed Jesus. In our TruthBook pages, you can access several studies of these women, among them a study exploring the revolutionary way that Jesus viewed, and treated women of his day and time. In those days women were considered second-class citizens. They were certainly not considered as worthy ministers; but Jesus changed all that.
And just who were these women?
In this study called "Women Who Followed Jesus," we read details and biographies of:
Mary: Mother of Jesus
Martha and Mary of Bethany
Ruth: Sister of Jesus
Rebecca: Daughter of Ezra
Jesus and the Two Courtesans
and many more.
Readers of The Urantia Book - especially women readers - can witness the love, respect, and compassion with which Jesus treated women; from his mother, Mary, to the woman taken in adultery, Jesus is shown to be the champion of women. And just as then, women today deserve as vital a role in proclaiming the good news as do men.
To read all of the thrilling Life and Teachings of Jesus - including his revolutionary approach to women in ministry and in life - you need go no further than PART IV of The Urantia Book