Luke 8:1-8 (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. 4 And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jesus traveled to all sorts of places teaching others about the kingdom of God. His disciples followed him, and so did a group of women. Many of these women had been delivered from sicknesses or evil spirits. Not only did the women go with Jesus on his travels, but they also helped support him financially. It was common for a rabbi to travel as he taught and to be followed by his disciples, but it was rare to be followed by women. Jesus continually challenged the social norms to prove that all types of people are included in God’s plan of salvation. Luke points out three specific women: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna. Mary Magdalene was delivered from seven demons. She was present at his crucifixion, anointing his body for burial after he died. She was at his tomb when and she met the angel who announced that Jesus had risen from the dead. Joanna the wife of Chuza is also mentioned. Chuza is named because he was an official in Herod’s court. Joanna was with Mary Magdalene when the angel appeared at Jesus’ grave. These women were faithful to Jesus, and their generosity extended to his whole group (v. 3).
Just as the sinful woman loved much, these women loved Jesus much as well. They demonstrated their love through generosity. Jesus and the disciples were called to preach the gospel to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. In order to do this, they needed the financial support of others. In the same way, God has designed the church to be made up of people with different talents. The apostle Paul compared these gifts to different parts of a body, stressing the oneness of the whole body. Are you fulfilling your role so that your church can function the way God designed it to? If not, decide now to bless and serve your church by using your unique gifts. If you are, be encouraged! The effort and energy that you invest into your church allows it to function and thrive the way God designed it to. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna may not be well known by men, but God will never forget their generosity. Everything you do for Jesus will be remembered too as you store up treasure where moth and rust don’t destroy, and thieves can’t break in and steal.