I came across a question on my News Feed from one of my Facebook friends that said, “Why didn’t Jesus have women among His disciples?”
I was going to drop a reply in the comment section but on second thought, I decided to make a post. Here’s my reponse:
Jesus had women among his disciples. He just didn’t have women in His inner circle- the twelve apostles.
A clear scripture that shows that Jesus had women among His disciples is this:
“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 Alphæus, 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 1:13-14 KJV
This also implies that women were among the disciples who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in the next chapter, because they were all praying together in the upper room and the Bible records that ALL OF THEM were filled with the Holy Spirit.
There was no discrimination.
I’m a guy and I have a group of friends I grew with with over the years in spiritual things. We had times when we locked ourselves in a room all night, praying, worshipping or studying the word. Sometimes we could do that with our shirts off if the weather gets too hot. Sometimes we go into the bush or up on a mountainside to pray. We can freely visit each other in our houses and spend long hours gisting and laughing and just fellowshiping together. I believe that if we had a lady (or ladies) among us, we wouldn’t be so free in that level of fellowship without extra effort to put the suggestions of the flesh under control.
I have many female friends and I relate very well with them but I would never lock myself up in a room to do a vigil with a lady- except she’s my wife… biko I cannot come and kill myself.
No matter how spiritual we get, as long as we remain in this body, we will experience the desires that are characteristic of the human nature. We will feel sleepy, we will feel hungry, and our sexual desires will be aroused occasionally. Those desires are placed in us by God and are good when satisfied within the boundaries He set.
Now the bible says we do not have a High priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. From this scripture it would be ridiculous to think Jesus was tempted in “every way”, yet never faced sexual temptation. He must have. He was a man just like us and there were beautiful women in His time too.
Jesus had different levels of relationship with people. There were the Pharisees, Teachers of the law and other religious folk, the crowds, the rulers, the “sinners”, His disciples, and finally the Apostles. Of all the relationships Jesus had, His relationship with the Apostles was the closest. Even among the Twelve, we understand that He became quite fond of Peter, James, and John (who is assumed to be the one the Gospel of John refers to as ‘the disciple Jesus loved’). During the last supper, this beloved disciple was reported to have “leaned back against Jesus” to ask Him a question that the other apostles were not willing to ask (John 13:25). This showed how “close” or “free” this particular disciple had become with Jesus.
Some people with twisted minds have come up with conspiracy theories that there was some sort of homosexual relationship between our Lord and His disciples, even though they have no basis for such claims. Imagine how it would have been if Jesus had been spending many days and nights alone with ladies. Imagine if Jesus had gone up the mount of transfiguration with Monica, Martha, and Philomina instead of Peter, James, and John. Even if nothing happened, people will still say something happened.
Jesus understood all these things. To guard Himself from undue temptation and to save people from unnecessary speculations, it was wisdom to have an inner circle of men only. It wasn’t discrimination against women. It was basic precaution and wisdom.