Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means. (Luke 8:1-3)
Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. (Matthew 27:55).
Jesus’ disciples all left their normal jobs in order to follow Him. This means that they also left their means of financial support. Do you ever wonder where Jesus and the disciples got their meals? Who washed their robes for them? Who nursed the disciples if they got sick? Where did they get the money to get necessary items for themselves?
There were women who kept track of the travels of Jesus and the apostles. In Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospels we learn that there were many women. They provided the money out of their own resources for food and other necessities for the men. They did not necessarily do the cooking and washing themselves; Luke does not say that. He merely says that they provided for Jesus and the disciples out of their own private means. There were probably other women who contributed to Jesus’ ministry by bringing food or clothing or offering their homes as a place of rest. Of course, many others probably contributed to Jesus’ support, but the money provided by these three women in our story was a great help. Luke singles them out as examples for us.
It seems that the leader of the group of women who served the Lord in this fashion was Mary Magdalene. We have already talked about Mary (See posting 2/25/14). We know that Jesus cast seven demons out of her. She must have been very grateful. She was willing to commit her whole life to following Jesus. Mary was at the cross when Jesus was crucified and she was first to see Jesus at His resurrection.
Mary was not a loner. She is mentioned many times in the Gospels and usually she is with other women. In most of the passages she is mentioned first, so we know that she was the leader and was outgoing and not shy about her commitment to Christ. History has castigated Mary Magdalene, making her out to be nothing but a prostitute. I am not sure why, but they are very wrong. They have done her a great injustice. Women would do well to emulate Mary. Jesus allowed Mary to be the first to see Him after He rose from the dead.
When most of the men fled after Jesus’ arrest and trial, the women stayed with Him. They did not fear the threat by the Jewish authorities to cast them out of the synagogue. They openly identified with Jesus and remained faithful to Him to the end.
Many women helped with the care of Jesus and the disciples, but we are given a few details about two besides Mary Magdalene.
Joanna was the wife of Chuza who was the house-steward of Herod the Tetrarch. Herod was an enemy of Jesus. Herod would later persecute Christians, imprisoning some and executing others. How did this woman become a follower of Jesus? We’re not told but it is an amazing story. We do not know if her husband became a follower of Jesus or not. As house steward, Chuza would have been in charge of Herod’s household and the business affairs of Herod’s estate.
It might seem that Joanna is special because she was connected to Herod’s court. Actually, to the Jews this would have aroused suspicion and distrust. Joanna’s presence would not necessarily raise the status of the group around Jesus. Joanna would likely be treated as an outsider. This story is another example of how Jesus accepted the marginalized persons in society. He accepted Joanna because she loved Him. Jesus knew that Herod had put John the Baptist to death. Herod was an enemy. But that did not mean that Joanna agreed with everything Herod did. It may have been hard on her relationship with her husband who had to work for Herod. In any event, Joanna bravely followed Jesus. Jesus was kind and good to women no matter what their background was.
Joanna is listed with Mary Magdalene and Susanna as one who was healed either of demon possession or some illness. Like Mary she pledged her time and her money to Jesus. Later Joanna is also mentioned as one of the women who went to the tomb to prepare Jesus for burial. She would also be one of the witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection and part of the group of women who ran to tell the apostles that Christ had risen from the dead.
The third woman mentioned in our passage is Susanna. We are not told much about her other than that she was healed of evil spirits or sickness. Like the others, Susanna was so grateful for her healing that she joyfully ministered to Jesus and the disciples using her own resources for their support.
These women helped to spread the good news of the Gospel. Luke tells us that the women were with Jesus as He went about preaching. This means that they were included as disciples as well. The women would be hearing Jesus preach many times and would be well able to take the good news of the Gospel back home to relatives and friends.
There are many ways for us to serve Jesus. We can follow Jesus by giving to the poor when we can. If we do not have monetary means, we can volunteer at a local food back or church relief group. The women in our story have led the way. Let’s follow their example! The important thing is to be grateful for our salvation and willing to show our thankfulness by loving Jesus and loving others.