Acts 1:14: They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.


There’s no disputing that the twelve apostles were all men. And as we shall see in a few verses, both candidates to replace the doomed Judas were male. Jesus is reconstituting Israel around himself, so it is no wonder that the twelve tribes should find their counterpart in twelve male, Jewish apostles. But what is so striking about that upper room, and so striking about Jesus’ entourage throughout the gospel of Luke, is that it included so many women: Mary Magdalene, of course, from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna (Luke 8:1-3); not to mention Mary herself, the mother of Jesus; and also Mary the mother of James – one of the women who witnessed the empty tomb on Easter morning (Luke 24:10). There were many other women, unnamed, who more than likely gathered in that upper room to pray. They had followed Jesus all the way from Galilee, some of them, like Joanna, supporting the movement with their own money. So in essence we have a mixed congregation: men and women together in prayer, and the basis of a community where women ought to be accorded, along with the men, the very highest dignity and honour. That’s not a modern day statement; that’s a Jesus statement.


Prayer: How wonderful, Lord, that your church brings men and women together in worship and prayer. How dull it would be to stay separate. Please bless us in our unity. Amen.