Ryle’d Up For Women

“Let us mark . . . in these verses [Luke 8:1-3], the power of the grace of God, and the constraining influence of the love of Christ. We read that among those who followed our Lord in his journeyings, were ‘certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities.’

We can well imagine that the difficulties these holy women had to face in becoming Christ’s disciples were neither few nor small.They had their full share of the contempt and scorn which was poured on all followers of Jesus by the Scribes and Pharisees. They had, besides, many a trial from the hard speeches and hard usage which any Jewish woman who thought for herself about religion would probably have to undergo. But none of these things moved them. Grateful for mercies received at our Lord’s hands, they were willing to endure much for His sake. Strengthened inwardly, by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, they were enabled to cleave to Jesus and not give way. And nobly they did cleave to Him to the very end!

It was not a woman who sold the Lord for thirty pieces of silver. They were not women who forsook the Lord in the garden and fled. It was not a woman who denied Him three times in the high priest’s house. But they were women who wailed and lamented when Jesus was led forth to be crucified. They were women who stood to the last by the cross. And they were women who were first to visit the grave ‘where the Lord lay.’ Great indeed is the power of the grace of God!

Let the recollection of these women encourage all the daughters of Adam who read of them, to take up the cross and to follow Christ. Let no sense of weakness, or fear of falling away, keep them back from a decided profession of religion. The mother of a large family, with limited means, may tell us that she has no time for religion. The wife of an ungodly husband may tell us that she dares not take up religion. The young daughter of worldly parents may tell us that it is impossible for her to have any religion. The maid-servant in the midst of unconverted companions, may tell us that in her place a person cannot follow religion.

But they are all wrong, quite wrong. With Christ nothing is impossible. Let them think again, and change their minds. Let them begin boldly in the strength of Christ, and trust Him for the consequences. The Lord Jesus never changes. He who enabled ‘many women’ to serve Him faithfully while He was on earth, can enable women to serve Him, glorify Him, and be His disciples at the present day.”

—Bishop J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Bishop Ryle, an evangelical and a man of the Scriptures, was the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. His writings are still read by many today. The quote above is from his commentary on Luke’s Gospel.

A timely word for today!

For the full manuscript, go here.

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2 Responses to Ryle’d Up For Women

  1. Denise Hardy says:

    All I can say is AMEN! Women as followers of Christ have a job to do. They are to know Him and serve Him and reflect Him for His Glory's sake. How refreshing to know that there were men like Bishop Ryle who encouraged women “back in the day”. May we embrace this encouragement now!

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  2. I have been drawn to the moments just after the resurrection when Jesus says to Mary “Go tell my disciples…..” The “Go tell” has lingered with me for days, weeks even, and, reading further, we see Peter and some of the others out fishing (going back to what they used to do). Mary lovingly and dutifully followed Jesus as far as humanly possible, even if she didn't understand what was going on around her. It has been glued to my thought process that Jesus spoke to the woman first, after arising, and He sent her tell the disciples where to meet Him. At first glance, it shows that Jesus indeed used women to spread His gospel, and also, in this instance, to keep his disciples in communication with Him. Also, in some sense it makes up for what Adam DIDN'T do back in the garden, and that was tell Eve of God's condition-to not eat of 'that' fruit. In Mary's obedience to “go tell…”, she has taken the negative view usually surrounding Eve's fall and proved that WE as women CAN carry out instructions given to us and complete the mission given to us.

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