The opportunity to travel with Jesus is a major feature of the Gospel of Luke. In Luke, disciples are people who follow him and spend time with Jesus.
When you read Luke, pay attention to the words “follow” or “be with.” They describe the opportunity humans have to spend time with Jesus, to watch him, and to learn from him.
The opening verses of the eighth chapter provide the names of some of Jesus’ followers. As they travel toward Jerusalem, more people will join the journey.
— Luke 8.1-3 – Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him,
As well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
And Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
Male and Female Followers
We were introduced to the twelve in Luke 6.12-16. Added to the ranks of traveling companions are three women and “many others.”
Mary Magdalene, who tradition has equated with the sinful woman of Luke 7.36-50, was one of them. Whether she was that woman or not cannot be determined from the Bible.
What we know about Mary is that Jesus freed her from the oppression of seven demons. She was delivered from a very serious problem.
Joanna was the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza. Either she was divorced from Chuza or he permitted her to travel with Jesus. The Bible does not answer our curious questions in this regard.
Both Joanna and Mary Magdalene are mentioned in Luke 24, as women who discovered the open tomb after the resurrection.
Susanna is the other woman who is named. There is no further information about her.
Based on the way other New Testament authors have mentioned the names of people, I suppose that Susanna played a role in the early church.
Thoughts About the Female Followers
(1) The fact that there are no records of complaints about the mixture of female and male disciples traveling together is evidence of the purity of the group.
Joanna was connected to the Roman government by virtue of her husband’s occupation. Mary Magdalene had been a demonized woman. The Jesus movement could have been disparaged for their involvement, but it was not.
(2) The women were given the same opportunity to learn from Jesus as were the male followers.
They witnessed miracles, listened to sermons, visited with Jesus over meals, and later joined in the work of ministry.
(3) The women contributed to the ministry from their resources.
It is possible that the large catch of fish (Luke 5.1-11) was sold to supply resources for the work. The women also gave their possessions and assisted the work.
Generosity and freedom with resources continued after the resurrection.
— Acts 2.44-45 – All who believed were together and had all things in common;
They would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.
(4) As Jesus broke down barriers between Jew and Gentile, he also elevated the status of women to be equals with men.
Paul understood this and wrote, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3.28).
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross makes the point that if God didn’t include women in his plans, he would have eliminated more than one-half of the world’s population.
Traveling with Jesus
Just as Luke highlights the journey of Jesus and his followers to Jerusalem, we can join the crowd on the trip.
As you read each Bible passage, imagine yourself as someone in the crowd.
— An Opponent – What motivated the people who opposed Jesus? How are you like that person?
— Someone in Need – What are the characteristics of people who needed Jesus’ ministry? What do you need from him?
— Close Followers – Both women and men were among the close followers of Jesus. What are you doing on a daily basis to be among the close followers of Jesus?
— Undecided – Not everyone in the crowd remained a follower of Jesus. What needs to take place in your life for you to go “all in” with Jesus?
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross answers a question from one of our viewers. He takes a few minutes to talk about how numbers reveal God’s character and his purposes. You will be enriched by his insights.
The YouTube video can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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