Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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April 26, 2012
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April 26, 2012
Gospel Of Luke And Acts Of The Apostles Both Written By Luke, Jesus' Ascension To Heaven, Apostles Return To Jerusalem, The Promise Of The Baptism By Fire, Day Of Pentecost And The Holy Spirit Received, In The Upper Room With Mother Mary And Other Women, Mother Mary's Special Place Of Honor, Mary's Personal Sufferings As Jesus' Mother, Jesus Disappears At Age Twelve, Jesus Emphasizes God's Spiritual Family Over His Biological Family, Roman Catholic False Doctrine Regarding Mary Being A Co-Mediatrix And Co-Redemptrix, Bold Witnesses For Jesus And Thousands Added To The Church, Great Commission Is Fulfilled, New Testament Women Were Saved Baptized And Labored For The Gospel, Churches In The Home, Mary Rhoda Lydia Euodias Chloe And Syntyche, Aquila And Priscilla, Women Of Philippi And Thessalonica, Women Were Persecuted Imprisoned Tortured And Killed Just Like The Men, Consider Preponderance Of Evidence
Continuing our discussion from part one, being as the institution of the Lord's Supper was not implemented as a regular practice in the Church until some time after the events which are described in the four Gospels, in order to really understand the Christian women's place in the First Century Church, we need to also examine God's Word from the Book of Acts, and forward.
As you may realize, it is commonly believed that the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Luke were written by the same author -- that is, the physician Luke -- and that the Book of Acts is really a continuation of Luke's Gospel. In fact, as you can see by the verses below, not only are both Books addressed to the same person -- named Theophilus -- but we also see that there is a small degree of overlap between the closing events of the Gospel of Luke, and the opening events of the Book of Acts:
"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed."
Luke 1:1-4, KJV
"And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen."
Luke 24:49-53, KJV
"The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
Acts 1:1-11, KJV
With the conclusion of the Gospel of Luke, we are told that after Jesus returned to Heaven, the Apostles did as He had ordered them to do, and returned to Jerusalem in order to wait for the promise of the Baptism by Fire, that is, the Holy Ghost. You may recall that John the Baptist had spoken of this very same Baptism by Fire years earlier. Jesus also spoke of the Promise of the Spirit in the Gospel of John as well. As many Christians will also know, this Gift of God's Spirit became a reality in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Consider the following verses:
"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:"
Matthew 3:11, KJV
"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:"
Luke 3:16, KJV
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you . . . But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:16-17, 26, KJV
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"
John 15:26, KJV
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
John 16:13, KJV
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
Acts 2:1-4, KJV
If you would like to learn more about this special treasure which we can possess in the earthen vessels of our bodies of flesh, I encourage you to read such articles as "A Treasure in Earthen Vessels: God's Promise of the Spirit".
But let us return to our discussion concerning what occurred immediately after Jesus returned to Heaven. As I mentioned a moment ago, the Apostle returned to Jerusalem. In the verses which follow, we discover that due to the Lord's commandment for them to return to Jerusalem -- and possibly because they were being hunted down by the Jewish religious leaders -- it seems that the Apostles decided to remain in a single, large room, which we today commonly referred to as the Upper Room:
"Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."
Acts 1:12-14, KJV
But what I would like to call to your attention is the fact that Mary and the other women -- which no doubt must surely have included some of the very same women who we discussed earlier -- are also given prominent mention in these verses. They were not viewed as outsiders or as lesser beings. They were treated with respect and dignity as fellow believers in Christ, and were clearly in close fellowship with the eleven Apostles.
You will also notice that Mary -- the mother of Jesus -- is in fact mentioned separately from the rest of the women, as if Luke's intention is to give her a special place of honor. Surely, this is a position which she had earned. After all, consider how much she must have suffered as she watched her own son being ridiculed and rejected by His own brothers -- at least at first -- by the rest of the Jews, and finally being tortured and murdered by those very same Jews as she looked on in complete agony. Many years earlier, Simeon had told her that a sword would pierce through her own soul, as we see by these verses:
"And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Luke 2:34-35, KJV
We can only imagine the anxiety that Mary must have felt -- as any loving mother would have experienced -- when at the age of twelve, young Jesus disappeared for three days, and was later found by His parents as He taught in the Temple in Jerusalem. Consider these verses:
"Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart."
Luke 2:41-51, KJV
In later years, there was also the time when Jesus seemed to not even acknowledge His own mother and His brothers as his biological family. We can only wonder if Mary understood at that particular time that it was very important for Jesus to teach His listeners concerning the spiritual nature of God's entire family which, unlike human families, is not limited by genes and flesh and blood family ties. Consider these verses:
"While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
Matthew 12:46-50, KJV
"There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."
Mark 3:31-35, KJV
"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."
John 19:25-27, KJV
Please note that the fact that Mary was shown respect by the Apostles and Disciples has nothing to do with the false Roman Catholic doctrine concerning Mary which erroneously insists that she is some kind of Co-Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix. For the record, I soundly reject this Roman Catholic heresy. If you are interested in my views concerning this issue, please refer to such articles as "Mary Worship, Christianity And Roman Catholicism" and "Lying Wonders of the Endtime".
If we move up a few chapters in the Book of Acts to after that famous day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Apostles, we discover that the Apostles and the Disciples had caught the Fire of the Spirit, lost their fear and timidity, and were boldly witnessing for the Lord. As a result, thousands of people were being added to the Church, and being baptized in Jesus' name. This included people who were from every strata of that ancient society, both rich and poor, and Jew and Gentile alike.
With the conversion of Saul of Tarsus in Acts chapter nine, and the vision that was given to Peter in Acts chapter ten, Jesus' mandate to go into all the world was finally being fulfilled. This "Great Commission" of ours is described in verses such as the following:
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
Matthew 24:14, KJV
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"
Matthew 28:19, KJV
"And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
Luke 24:46-47, KJV
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Mark 16:15, KJV
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 15:16, KJV
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Acts 1:8, KJV
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things."
Romans 10:14-15, KJV
"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"
1 Corinthians 9:16, KJV
"Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:"
Colossians 1:4-6, KJV
"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
2 Timothy 2:2, KJV
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
2 Timothy 4:2, KJV
However, once again, what I would like to emphasize here is that all of this early Christian evangelistic work included a lot of women who were won to Christ, who were baptized in the Name of Jesus, and who labored for the Gospel. In fact, some of them also had Churches in their homes. For those of you who may be interested in additional reading, I discuss the issue of Churches in the home and home fellowships in the eight-part series entitled "Where Are the First Century Churches?". Contrary to what some people have been led to believe by certain biased religionists, the First Century Church was clearly not just comprised of a bunch of old, bearded men. This becomes quite evident in verses such as the following:
"And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)"
Acts 5:14, KJV
"But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
Acts 8:12, KJV
"And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished."
Acts 12:11-16, KJV
"And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us . . . But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed."
Acts 16:12-15, 37-40, KJV
"Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few . . . And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few."
Acts 17:1-4, 10-12, KJV
"After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers . . . And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow . . . And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."
Acts 18:1-3, 18, 24-26, KJV
"Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus . . . Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us."
Romans 16:3, 6, KJV
"The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house."
1 Corinthians 16:19, KJV
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, KJV
"Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life."
Philippians 4:1-3, KJV
Please notice that in the previous verses, Lydia, Euodias, Syntyche, Rhoda, Chloe and Priscilla are all Christian women. As I stated earlier, some of them not only opened their homes to the Apostles and Disciples, but they also had Churches in them as well.
It is also important to add that when persecution began against the First Century Church, there was no distinction made between Christian men and women. They were all hunted down by the Apostle Paul and his companions, and later by Rome as well. Along with the men and children, these women were persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and killed. Consider the following verses:
"As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison."
Acts 8:3, KJV
"And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem."
Acts 9:1-2, KJV
So let us consider the gist of the matter. While there are no Scriptures which clearly reveal whether or not Christian women were permitted to partake of the Lord's Supper -- that is, the Bread and the Wine -- in the First Century Church, I would ask you to consider the preponderance of Scriptural evidence which I have provided in this series, and be led by God's Spirit in your understanding. Allow me to enumerate once again some of the key evidence which I have shared with you:
1. The Lord accepted women as His friends, companions and Disciples. Please note that I did not say Apostles.
2. As occurred with Mary Magdalene, the woman who had an issue of blood and Jairus' daughter, Jesus cast out their demons, healed them, and raised them from the dead.
3. Jesus greatly loved Mary and Martha and raised their brother Lazarus from the dead.
4. In the case of James and John, Jesus accepted a mother's two sons as His Apostles, although He was unable to fulfill her special request concerning them.
5. It was women who anointed the Lord's body following His death and burial.
6. Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and other women following His Resurrection from the dead.
7. Jesus specifically mentioned women being taken during the Rapture event.
8. Jesus used women as an example of being prepared for His Return in the Parable of the Ten Virgins.
9. Mary -- the mother of Jesus -- and other women were in close fellowship with the Apostles in the Upper Room.
10. Women were accepted in the First Century Church, were baptized in the First Century Church, and also labored in the Gospel along with the men.
11. Some of the women had Churches in their homes.
12. Women were persecuted, imprisoned and killed along with the rest of the First Century Church.
Please go to part three for the conclusion of this series.
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