Many Generous Women

The twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities… and many others, who provided for them out of their means” (Luke 8:1b–3).  

- Luke 8:1–3

The story of Tamar in Genesis 38 has provided us with an opportunity to look at some of the other women of faith in the history of redemption. Tamar was a Gentile, and so our focus so far has been primarily on Gentile women of faith such as Ruth and the Canaanite woman who trusted Christ to heal her daughter. Many other women could be covered, but we must conclude today with a look at three important women in the ministry of Jesus.

Our Savior did not own property and had no means of His own (Luke 9:58). However, His itinerant ministry still required financial resources, if only to put food on the table and replace worn out clothes and sandals. Today’s passage tells us several wealthy women traveled with Christ and gave money to His work (8:1–3).

The fact that Jesus allowed women to follow Him and learn at His feet (10:38–42) was extraordinary, as most rabbis would not teach women in the first century. Furthermore, the women named as His pupils in Luke 8:1–3 made Christ’s ministry even more unusual. 

Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ most faithful followers and had the special honor of receiving a visit from the Lord after His resurrection (John 20:11–18). Surely Mary’s inclusion in this traveling band gave outsiders something to talk about, since seven demons possessed her before she met Christ (Luke 8:2). Contrary to popular belief, however, Scripture never calls Mary Magdalene a former prostitute.

Joanna was married to Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household (8:3). This Herod is Herod Antipas who succeeded Herod the Great as ruler of Judea in 4 b.c. Herod Antipas is famous for opposing the Lord by marrying his sister-in-law while his brother was still alive and for killing John the Baptist in deference to his wife and her daughter (Mark 6:14–29). How ironic, then, that the paycheck Chuza received from Herod helped support the Son of the God Herod hated.

All we know about Susanna is that she was Jewish, like Mary and Joanna. Yet these women shared more than an ethnic and religious heritage. All of them had been redeemed by Jesus, and so they gave gratefully to His work. We who have been saved must do the same.

Coram Deo

Mary, Joanna, and Susanna obeyed the biblical principle that says the saints are to provide for those whose daily work is the Gospel ministry (1 Tim. 5:17). Like the rest of us, pastors need an adequate salary to meet the needs of their family. If you are able to influence such decisions in your local church, try to make sure your pastor is well taken care of. Moreover, we can all support our pastors with notes of encouragement or other such thanks.

Passages for Further Study

Gen. 14:20b
Num. 18:21–24
1 Cor. 9:1–14
1 Thess. 5:12

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