Jesus interacted with many women during His mortal ministry. He healed some of them or healed others at their request, and He praised their faith. He pointed out their righteous actions as examples for the men around Him. Several specific women traveled with Him regularly, along with His apostles:
He went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.Luke 8:1-3
Here are some lessons I have learned from some of the women who were part of Jesus’ mortal ministry.
Mary (mother of Jesus): Ponder things in your heart.
After giving birth in a stable and turning a feeding trough into a makeshift cradle, I’m guessing that Mary was not expecting visitors! The arrival of a group of shepherds to see the new baby must have been startling. Luke tells us that, after the shepherds left, “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
Twelve years later, after Mary found young Joseph talking with scholars in Jerusalem and gently He reminded her of His divine parentage, “his mother kept all these sayings in her heart” (Luke 2:51).
No wonder Alma called Mary “a precious and chosen vessel” (Alma 7:10). A vessel is a container. One way Mary fulfilled this prophecy is by carrying the growing body of the Son of God in her womb for nine months, but I think she also served as a “chosen vessel” in another significant way, by carrying in her mind and heart the insights and wisdom she gained from her unique experiences and the quiet work she did to process those experiences and extract meaning from them.
Today, I will take time to ponder.
The Samaritan woman at the well: Testify and invite.
As far as we know, the first person Jesus told that He was the Messiah was a woman who lived in the Samaritan city of Sychar. As they spoke at a well near her home, she uttered these words of conviction: “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” Jesus responded simply, “I that speak unto thee am he” (John 4:25-26).
The woman returned to the city and enthusiastically extended the following invitation to her friends and neighbors: “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” They came and heard Him for themselves, “and many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did” (John 4:29, 39).
This powerful missionary (whose name we unfortunately don’t know) reminds me of Abish, the servant of Lamoni’s wife, who “ran forth from house to house, making it known unto the people” that the king and the queen were having an extraordinary spiritual experience (Alma 19:17).
Today, I will share my testimony of Jesus and will invite others to learn about Him as well.
Mary (Martha’s sister): Choose the good part.
When Martha thought Mary was spending too much time listening to Jesus and not enough time helping with household duties, Jesus endorsed Mary’s decision to listen. “Mary hath chosen that good part,” He said, “which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).
We all face choices between urgent things and things of eternal significance. Like Mary, we must sometimes defer less important tasks, even when other people want us to do them right away, so that we don’t neglect the most important things.
Today, I will prioritize eternal things over temporal activities.
Mary Magdalene: Come to the tomb.
When Mary arrived at the tomb early Sunday morning, she didn’t expect to see the resurrected Savior, let alone to be the first person to talk with Him again. (See Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1, Luke 24:1, 10, John 20:1.) She was there to anoint His body, just as Martha’s sister Mary had anointed His feet a few days earlier. (See John 12:3, John 11:2.) But if she had known that He was risen from the dead, His tomb would have been a good place to witness the miracle.
Like the Nephites and the Lamanites who gathered at the temple in Bountiful a short time later, Mary was in the right place at the right time. (See 3 Nephi 10:18-19, 3 Nephi 11:1.)
We can’t always know when something magnificent will happen, but we can increase our probability of being part of it by standing in holy places and doing good works.
Today, I will participate in activities which bring me closer to the Savior.
Conclusion: Honoring women
At the end of the Savior’s life, as He hung on the cross, He saw His mother standing next to one of His disciples. “Woman, behold thy son,” He said, and speaking to the disciple, He added, “Behold thy mother” (John 19:26-27). In His final minutes of life, and while He suffered excruciating pain, He honored His mother and provided for her future well-being.
Today, I will pay particular attention to my mother and to the other women in my life. I will strive to follow the Savior by honoring women, appreciating their good deeds, and listening to them.
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