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The passage in Luke 8:1-3 is set in the context of Jesus’ itinerant ministry. The story doesn’t unfold with dramatic turns but provides a snapshot that establishes an important element of Jesus’ ministry—the role of women in supporting it. It’s a remarkable tale of devotion, courage, and the breaking of societal norms. Are you intrigued? Let’s get started!
Here, Jesus is travelling and spreading the message of the Kingdom of God. Joining him are the Twelve Apostles, as well as a few women. Among these women are Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna, who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Notably, they are described as providing for Jesus and his disciples “out of their own means.”
Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna are women who have experienced healing and transformation. They aren’t passive recipients but active supporters, indicating their agency and capacity for leadership. The women’s unwavering commitment to support Jesus’ ministry could evoke feelings of inspiration, while the idea of these women breaking societal norms to follow Jesus might spark a sense of empowerment.
At a glance, Luke 8:1-3 can be seen as just a “list” of names, but when scrutinised closely, it becomes a subversive statement. This brief passage from Luke 8:1-3 gives us an extraordinary glimpse into the inclusive and revolutionary nature of Jesus’ ministry.
Luke 8: 1 – 3 challenges the roles that society had defined for women, pointing toward a broader understanding of community, equality, and mutual support. This passage offers a profound look at the value of inclusion and the transformational power of grace. In just a few lines, it disrupts conventional wisdom and invites us into a richer, more expansive understanding of community and faith.
Wisdom to live by
1. Breaking Norms for Good: Don’t underestimate the power of breaking societal norms when they stand against inclusivity and equality. Be the one to step up and make a difference.
2. Active Support: Much like the women in the story, you have the agency to support causes and people you believe in. Your role is not passive; you can be an active part of a community.
3. Resource Stewardship: These women provided for the ministry “out of their own means.” Consider what resources—be it time, money, or skills—you have that could contribute to causes that matter.
4. Courage in Community: These women didn’t go it alone; they were part of a community of disciples. Your journey toward breaking norms and contributing to society is enriched and empowered when done in the community.
Questions for further conversations
1. What does this passage reveal about the role of women in Jesus’ ministry? How does this compare to the gender roles and expectations in your community or church today?
2. What significance do you see in the women supporting Jesus’ ministry “out of their own means”? How does the financial contribution of these women challenge or affirm your views on stewardship and discipleship?
3. The passage mentions women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases, including Mary Magdalene and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward. What does this diversity among the women suggest about the kingdom of God? How can we embrace this same kind of diversity in our faith communities today?
4. The women were actively involved, travelling with Jesus and the Twelve. What does this say about the nature of faith as active rather than passive? How can you take an active role in your faith and in your church community?
5. Joanna is described as the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household. What do you think it would have been like for someone in her position to be a follower of Jesus? How can you use your own sphere of influence to support causes that matter, much like Joanna did?
6. Which character in this passage do you most identify with and why? What lessons can modern-day disciples glean from the commitment and courage of these women? How can you practically apply the principles of inclusivity, active faith, and financial stewardship to your life and ministry?