Society at large has had a historically difficult time determining appropriate gender roles. History would show that societal constructs tend to favor men. Many people actually use the passages in the bible to try to validate why men should have dominance over women. They site verses like “Wives, submit to your husbands” and women as vain to illustrate this notion. However, anyone with an education in theology and biblical scholarship knows these notions are ridiculous. One only has to look to the way Jesus regarded women to know where their value truly lies. The bible is full of interactions with and conversations about women that Jesus had, and they do not indicate any type of misogyny whatsoever.
The second most famous woman in the bible, second only to Jesus’ mother Mary, was Mary Magdalene, who was a prostitute. Mary Magdelene was one of Jesus’ closest confidants. She traveled with Jesus to receive and participate in his ministry. Jesus showed her kindness when members of her society did not, and because of that, she became a God fearing woman and respected his teachings as truth. Jesus loved and respected Mary Magdalene, and treated her as one of his disciples.
The Syrian woman at the well who Jesus spoke to is another example of what Jesus thought of woman. It was breaking severely from Jewish tradition for Jesus to speak to her at all. Jewish tradition dictated that men and women should not speak in venues such as drawing water from wells, but for a Jewish man to speak to a Syrian woman was particularly unacceptable as they came from opposing cultures. Jesus did not abide by the gender roles of Jewish culture, and exemplified graciousness and respect toward women in doing so.
Another example of Jesus’ respect for women can be seen in his friendship with the sisters Mary and Martha. When Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead, he accepted the hospitality of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha. The sisters had very different personalities, but Jesus respected each of them. Martha was bossy and stressed out toward he sister, and Jesus gently corrected her, pointing out that Mary was devoting herself to his own teachings, which was commendable. He did not speak down to either woman, but regarded them as peers.