Kat Armstrong’s passion for the scriptures, and for women, is unmatched. Although we haven’t met in person, I feel as though our hearts are knit together in the sisterhood of Christ. He is her everything, and it permeates her writing. The word of God, holy, true, and sacred, is even more beautiful read as a literary masterpiece. What better way to honor the inspiration of the Bible than by reading it in a way that brings the Old and New Testaments together as a whole body of God’s message to us. It’s a grace to welcome Kat to the farm’s front porch today…
Make an entire gender uneasy about loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and you will see how our enemy effectively sidelines women.
Women are often told we need to be careful with Bible knowledge, as if a universal holy reverence for the words of God is not for all people.
I wonder if we are picturing ourselves in a garden, facing a serpent, tempted to be snared like Eve, and disregarding what Jesus redeemed on the cross.
I used to believe it’s not wise for women to be students of theology or hold positions of leadership in the workforce or in the church because we are all daughters of Eve.
And she did not steward her knowledge well; look where it got us. The gospel message was not safe with Eve.
So that natural next question is, will it be with us?
While there are a few verses that are confusing about the role of women in the fall of humanity and in the church, there are plenty of timeless truths that all agree apply to women: We are image bearers of the one true living God, and we reflect his glory because we were made in his likeness (Gen. 1:26).
We were designed to wage war against spiritual forces to push back the powers of darkness (Eph. 6:10–17).
We have been sealed with the Spirit of the almighty God. As a result, we are competent ministers of the gospel (2 Cor. 3:6).
We have been called by God into a holy calling, not according to our gender, abilities, or education, but based on God’s grace, an irrevocable calling to be God’s own (2 Tim. 1:9).
Matthew tells us we are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14–16).
And we probably need to be reminded that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection secured us all an epic Eden redo.
John, the beloved disciple, started his gospel with “In the beginning” the same way Genesis does. As a parallel work to Genesis, John’s gospel is like a second Genesis or a second beginning.
By the time we get to John 20 and Christ’s resurrection, John has prepared us to see Jesus’s words and actions as a movement of redemption. He wrote:
On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!” (John 20:1–2 hcsb)
As Peter and John sprinted to the garden tomb to verify Mary’s story, they found the stone rolled away and Jesus’s linens just as she described. Likely distraught by the missing body, both men headed back to the Upper Room to mourn, but Mary stayed at the grave site to cry.
Two angels appeared to Mary and asked her why she was sobbing, but they already knew why. Jesus’s body had disappeared, and she didn’t know where to find it.
Turning around, she saw Jesus, mistaking Him for the owner of the garden. Mary supposed Jesus was the gardener and—I want us to catch this—she was not right, but she wasn’t wrong either.
Jesus is the Cosmic Gardener, and He was about to replant humanity in the second garden.
Saying her name, Jesus caught Mary’s attention, and she found her Great Teacher.
“Don’t cling to Me,” Jesus told her, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them that I am ascending to My Father and your Father—to My God and your God.”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what He had said to her (John 20:17–18 hcsb).
For anyone like me, who assumes a woman’s passion for service is restrained by Eve’s example, look again at John’s gospel, which highlights Mary Magdalene as a model disciple in the resurrection story.
In the first garden, Eve was placed inside it by God’s initiative, and we can assume it was during the day because the lights had already been turned on (Gen. 1). In Mary’s story, she comes from outside the garden by her own initiative, and it is still dark outside.
In the first garden, Eve was created after Adam, but in Mary’s story, she is the first person to see the resurrected Jesus—before Peter, before John. She’s the first. Hashtag it, please.
In the first garden, Eve faced the fruit-producing tree of life and initiated with her rebellion a curse of death for all. And the fruit was available when she reached for it.
In the second garden, Mary Magdalene faced a tomb of death, only to find Jesus had initiated the resurrection life for all. And in the grave, there was no body.
In the first garden, the serpent approached Eve with cunning questions that sow doubt.
In the second garden, angels greeted Mary Magdalene and then Jesus Himself appeared, all asking compassionate questions that sow hope.
In the first garden, Eve hid her naked shame from God’s presence before being ousted from Eden.
In the second garden, Mary wept without shame in Jesus’ presence, and it was Jesus’ clothes that were missing.
Eve was deceived, but Mary was commissioned.
Eve rebelled, but Mary obeyed.
The contrast and the repurposing is so vivid, so clear. I can barely make it through either passage without weeping.
I am no longer a gullible daughter of Eve, and neither are you.
When my concerns about biblical deception arise within me, I stand condemned as I hear my enemy say, “You are just like your mother, Eve.”
Instead, I should replay my Savior’s words to Mary: “Go and tell your brothers.”
Because the curse of being easily deceived died when Jesus rose from the dead.
Somebody get my Wonder Woman crown; I’m feeling inspired.
Kat Armstrong is an innovative ministry leader, sought-after communicator, and the cofounder and executive director of Polished, a network that gathers young professional women to navigate career and explore faith together. Kat and her husband, Aaron, live in Dallas, Texas, with their son, Caleb, and attend Dallas Bible Church, where Aaron serves as the lead pastor.
What’s holding you back from living out your identity as a woman of God? Many of us as women feel conflicted about Jesus’ calling on our lives because a woman trying to love God beyond her heart and soul, with her mind and strength, can be thought of as crossing some line or unspoken boundary.
Bible teacher Kat Armstrong challenges us to ask: “Why am I allowing limitations on my pursuit of Jesus’ calling?” In No More Holding Back, she debunks five common myths about women: Women Can’t Be Trusted to Learn and Lead, I Don’t Have a Lot to Offer, My Greatest Joy Is Marriage and Highest Calling Is Motherhood, I Am Too Much to Handle, and Leading Ladies Don’t Fit in Supporting Roles.
[ Our humble thanks to Thomas Nelson for their partnership in today’s devotion ]