Chapter 8 of Luke contains several well-known stories. It kicks off with The Parable of the Sower. Then we have a short piece about Jesus’ Mother and Brothers. This is followed by three stories that demonstrate Jesus’ power over the natural world, the spiritual world and the physical world.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells a story about a farmer that goes out to sow some seed. The seed falls in various places with a range of consequences. He then explains the parable to his disciples.
Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.
It’s often tempting to think of Jesus and his disciples travelling around on their own. But here, Luke tells us about three women who contributed to their ministry. There was Mary Magdalene (Bible scholars guess she was from a place called Magdala, hence being called Magdalene), Joanna, the wife of the head of Herod’s household, and a woman called Susanna.
I’m amazed at the diversity of this group – single and married, low social status and high. This showed that Jesus’ message was for everyone. But I’m gobsmacked that the Chuza’s wife is openly supporting Jesus. Chuza was the head of the household of the ruling king of the Jews – king Herod. Herod was the ‘puppet’ king, controlled by the Romans, disliked by many, and openly criticised by John the Baptist. And the wife of his top manager, Chuza, was supporting the ministry of Jesus – who, through his ministry, was claiming to be the true and rightful king of Israel. Really? It makes me wonder if life was kinda tricky for Chuza! Either way, we know that the message of Jesus had reached both those in the backwaters and those in the royal palace.
However, there’s a deeper faith lesson here. Luke wanted us to know that Jesus and his disciples needed supporting – and these women supported them out of their own means – their own money, talents and time. Everyone needs support, but those in full-time Christian ministry often need full-time Christian support! They need financial support, practical support and emotional support.
Think of a Christian leader. Today, decide how you will support them. For example, send them a message of encouragement to let them know that you’re thinking of them.
Thank you for those called to full-time ministry,
who have given their lives in service to you.
Give them what they need this day
to complete the work you’ve set before them.
Show me how I can support their work
with my money, skills and time.
This day and forever.
Think of someone you know in full-time Christian ministry. What do you think their financial, practical and emotional needs are? What money, skills and time do you have that could support their ministry?