Thursday, July 12, 2018

Women Who Served Jesus

"And also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means" (Luke 8:2–3).

Sometimes Luke’s gospel is humorously described as the Ladies’ Home Journal of the Bible, because Luke pays more attention to the women that were involved in Jesus’ ministry than any other writer in the New Testament. Luke shows that Jesus treated women with great honor and dignity. While women were much better off in Jewish culture than in most, Jesus’ treatment of women was exceptional even among the Jews. A few of those women are mentioned specifically here by name.

The first is Mary Magdalene. She is described as a woman out of whom seven demons had been driven. Interestingly, in the Christian tradition and art, Mary Magdalene has functioned as a symbol representing the fallen woman. She is portrayed as a prostitute, and often identified with the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36–50). But nowhere in the New Testament is there any suggestion that Mary Magdalene was involved in prostitution or any such illicit life.

Then we read of Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Cuza. Her husband held a position of power and wealth in the household of King Herod. Thus, Joanna was one of the women who was able to help Jesus and the Twelve financially. We also find in Luke 24:10 that Joanna was among the women who went to Jesus’ tomb to anoint His body and who were the first witnesses of His resurrection. Susanna is also mentioned. We know nothing else about her, but it is surely enough that she served Jesus.

Luke also states that many others served Jesus out of their financial resources. Remember that as Jesus and the disciples toured the countryside and cities preaching, they were not bringing in any income. It was wealthy converts, especially women, according to Luke, who financed Jesus’ mission.

Notice that these women had the liberty to use their household money to further the extension of the Gospel. Notice also that though they did not engage in formal preaching as ministers, they worked hard in the more general work of the ministry. The church today is still largely supported both in finances and service by godly women. Express your appreciation of them today.