Reading the Word
Luke 8:1–3 (ESV)
1 Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.
Understanding and Applying the Word
In these verses, we are told of those who were with Jesus as he traveled and preached. His constant followers included the twelve disciples and three women: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna. There were also “many others”, but Luke draws our attention to these three women.
In Jesus’ day, women were thought of as second-class citizens in many ways. Other rabbis often refused to teach women because they were thought to be inferior. Jesus turns the social mindset on its head by not only ministering to these women, but also allowing them to travel with him. They were not considered of secondary nature to Jesus. They were valued and were very important to him. In fact, we are told that they helped support Jesus “out of their means.” They were financial support for him. We also notice that the three women mentioned were from greatly different social backgrounds. Mary Magdalene was likely poor or had very little while Joanna is said to be the wife of Chuza, King Herod’s household manager. We are not told about Susanna’s background.
Jesus’ ministry was shocking for many reasons. It confronted many of the accepted norms of the day. One of the more important things that Jesus made clear is that God loves all people and views them all as equally valuable. It does not matter if you are Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, male or female. Scripture tells us that all people are created in the image of God and are loved and cherished by him (Genesis 1:27; John 3:16). Jesus offended many because he loved all people, regardless of background. We are called to show the same love even today.
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