I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me. (Rom 16:1,2)
She is only mentioned once, but with a very high appraisal from Paul and before the others in the long list of men and women in that chapter. The same word translated servant in Rom. 16:1 is translated deacon elsewhere. Hence, she is an example of a possible female deacon in the early church—the only one in Scripture. Phoebe was of great help to Paul and many others. The early church would have suffered much without her!
Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord. (Rom 16:12)
Those three women were hard workers in Christ. Such are always important. We are given no details as to what they specifically did, but certainly the early church would have suffered much without them!
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house. (Rom 16:3-5)
Priscilla was the wife and godly co-laborer of Aquilla, her husband. We read of that special husband/wife team various time and always in a favorable way. No doubt, the early church would have suffered much without her (and Aquilla)!
On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. (Acts 16:13-15)
She was a business woman and the first one saved in her family. She brought the gospel to the others in her family. After they were all baptized she invited Paul and his co-laborer to stay at their house.
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. (Luke 8:1-3)
Chances are, those women didn't have much to give to support Jesus and the Twelve but they were certain helping. Mary Magdalene was also at the cross as Jesus was dying and the first one who Jesus appeared to after his resurrection (Mk. 16:9).
Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. (Rom 16:13)
She must have done special things for Paul for the way she is described.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42)Mary is shown to be more spiritual there, but Martha was the more giving and hospitible. Sometime after that, their brother got deathly sick:
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick." When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." (John 11:1-4)Specifically, we are told that Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus (v.5), but let him die and allowed Mary and Martha to deeply grieve the (temporary) loss of their brother. Why and how could Jesus do that? It was for the spiritual sake of both current followers and those who would come to saving faith in Jesus, as shown here:
So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." (John 11:14,15)
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. (John 11:45)Remember that for your own sake. Many painful things happen in our lives for the long range spiritual benefits that will occur down the road.
When this had dawned on him, he [Peter] went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. (Acts 12:12)NOTE: After being released, Peter went to Mary's house where the disciples had gathered to pray, but it wasn't the house of Mary the mother of Jesus. Instead, it was Mary the mother of John Mark. That is an interesting truth to share with Catholics.
If you are a Godly dedicated Christian woman, we appreciate YOU! You are special and needed. I personally believe there will be more women in God's kingdom than men. Christian women were hated and persecuted, in Bible times, because they were a serious threat to the kingdom of darkness just like the Godly men were:
I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison. (Acts 22:4)
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