WOMEN IN THE UPPER ROOM: ANOINTED TO PREACH
Acts 1: 14 women in the upper room preached
Daughters and maid servants
“That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
And your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
… female slave servants
MARY, THE MOTHER OF JOHN MARK: HOSTED A REGULAR PRAYER MEETING
Acts 12: 12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John (who was also called Mark), where enough people had gathered and were praying.
Mary’s son John wrote the second gospel and was a co-worker with Paul (1 Peter 5: 13). Her home was on the south end of Mount Zion and it may have been where they celebrated the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell (Edith Deen p. 212). A woman of distinction in the early church, not only was she the mother of the Apostle John but the sister (or aunt) of Barnabas. It was a well known safe house- a meeting place for the believers: Peter ran here when he escaped from prison In that day these men may have been referred to as son and nephew of Mary, and where the Holy Spirit found the 120 believers, men and women, all together in unison, and fell on them the day of Pentecost.
RHODA, A HOUSE SERVANT AND DISCIPLE
As Peter was knocking at the entrance door of Mary’s house, a servant (lit. ‘minister’) named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognised Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that she didn’t open the main door, but ran back and announced that Peter was standing at the entrance!
They said to her, “You’re mad!”
But she kept insisting that it was the case. They said, “It must be his Messenger!”
16-19 But Peter kept on knocking. When they opened up and saw him, they were shocked! He signalled to them to be quiet, then he described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. He said, “Tell James and the fellow believers about it!” And he left and went off somewhere else.
Acts 23: 16 The son of Paul’s sister heard of this ambush, and went into the barracks and told Paul. Then Paul summoned one of the Roman officers in charge of 100 men and said, “Take this young man to the commander – he has something to tell him.”
Paul’s sister is not mentioned anywhere else but here, working behind the scenes on Paul’s behalf- taking risks herself and allowing her son to be exposed to danger. It shows however, that this household were involved with Paul and their deep concern for his well being.
LYDIA AND A GROUP OF DEVOUT WOMEN WHO MET ON THE SABBATH
ACTS 16: 11-12 We set sail from Troas and made a straight run to Samothrace. On the next day we came to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, a Roman colony, and the most important city in Macedon. We stayed in that city for some time.
16: 13-15 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the riverside where we thought there would be a synagogue. After we sat down we spoke to the women who met there. A certain woman by the name of Lydia heard us. She was a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, and she was a ‘Convert to Judaism’. The Lord opened her mind to devote herself to the things that Paul said.
When she and her household were baptized, she urged us to stay with her. She said, “If you have judged that I’m a believer in the Lord, please come and stay at my house!” And she pressured us.
Here is a group of women having a prayer meeting by the river The river was the Gangites (the modern Angista). Running water was important for certain Jewish rituals, hence Paul expecting to find a synagogue there: he met there a group of devout women. Don’t be surprised by this; Paul would not have been.
Rulers of Synagogues, Elders of Synagogues, Mothers of Synagogues
Women in Jewry are recorded as being Rulers of Synagogues, Elders of Synagogues, Mothers of Synagogues and held many other important offices and carried out duties (Bernadette J. Brooten) .Women are also mentioned in the OT as being involved in the sanctuary in the wilderness and finally, Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem, which included Nazarite men and women. Anna of Phanuel is an example in the temple in Jerusalem.
STILL GOING STRONG: LYDIA’S HOUSE CHURCH: THE FIRST IN EUROPE
ACTS 16: 35-40 At dawn, the chief magistrates sent the officers with the order to release them. The jailer reported the words to Paul, and said, “The magistrates have ordered that you be released. You can leave. Go in peace.” …
So they came and pleaded with them and escorted them out, and requested that they leave the city. After they got out of prison they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the fellow believers and encouraged them. Then they left.
LYDIA: A PATRON FOR PAUL IN HER CITY
By now, the church is firmly established in Lydia’s home in Philippi, (50-60 AD) a gentile convert’s house. Philippi was a city of eastern Macedonia on the great East-West Egnation Highway between Rome and Asia. There is no mention of a husband Lydia had to obey, to ask questions about the law, to defer to as some will argue from 1 Cor 14. Paul, being a stranger there, and in keeping with the culture of those times, needed a Patron. Knowing he had a safe haven in Lydia’s house, he headed straight there when he got out of prison.
Lydia was the first convert in Europe and established the first church in the region of Asia Minor, which had 5 large cities, Ephesus, Smyrna , Sardis, Philadelphia and Thyatira.
LYDIA’S HOUSE CHURCH: A GIVING PEOPLE; A SUPPORT FOR ITINERANT MINISTRIES
Paul wrote later to Lydia and the church in her house, ‘I thank my God upon every remembrance of you … for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now’ (Phil 1: 3-5). ’
PHILIP’S FOUR DAUGHTERS: HOSPITALITY TO ITINERANT MINISTERS AND TEACHERS
ACTS 21: 7-9 When we finished our voyage from Tyre, we came down to Ptolemais, where we greeted the fellow believers and stayed with them for one day. On the next day we left and came to Caesarea. There we entered the house of Philip the Good News announcer, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.
BERNICE: A WOMAN’S VOICE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS ON BEHALF OF THE OPPRESSED
(Acts 25: 13; 23; 26: 30) Bernice with her sister Drusilla (Acts 24: 24), both heard Paul speak in his own defence and testify of Jesus. They were daughters of Herod Agrippa 1, the great grand daughters of Herod the Great. These women were nieces of Herod Antipas who had Baptist beheaded.
Used and abused as political footballs, Drusilla, married at 14 years of age, growing up and marrying into courts of such political intrigue depended upon these sisters developing their own mechanisms of survival. There is no proof that Bernice became a Christian. However, history records that she went before Cestius AD 66, with others used by the various men in their lives, leading Jews to complain of the terrors of the brutal Florus during the Jewish War (p 235 Edith Deen.)
We, like these women mentioned above, also, ought to obey God