Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 214/260: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna

Read Luke 8:1-3

Your Role In His Kingdom

The role of women in Christianity has been a contentious topic over the years. But should it be? Jesus never relegated women to a lesser role in His ministry, nor did He demean them or expect less of them than He did the men that surrounded Him. In Luke 8, three women were named who helped the Lord during His earthly sojourn, but there is also the note of “many others who provided for Him from their substance” (Luke 8:2-3).

The first of these is Mary Magdalene. What do you think of when you hear that name? Does the word “prostitute” pop into your head? There is not one shred of evidence that Mary Magdalene was ever a prostitute or that she was the “sinful woman” who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears at Simon’s house in Luke 7. Mary Magdalene has been slandered for centuries without cause; may we here and forever more stop associating her with that sinful lifestyle that so many others have assumed.

What we do know about Mary Magdalene is that Jesus had healed her of demon possession (Mark 16:9). She was the first to see the empty tomb after the Lord’s resurrection and reported such to the disciples (John 20:1-2). She was the first person to whom the Lord appeared in resurrected form (Mark 16:9). Luke further identifies her as a woman who financially supported Jesus’ ministry.

The second woman, Joanna, is identified as “the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward” (Luke 8:3). Some opine that Chuza was the centurion of Luke 7, and at the healing of the steward, he and his family (including his wife Joanna) were converted. Others identify him as the nobleman of John 4 whose child was healed. Whatever the case, Joanna was no fickle disciple. She remained faithful to the end of the Lord’s human life and beyond, going to the tomb with other women in Luke 24:10.

Of Susanna, we have no further mention or information in the Scriptures, but she is named here as a faithful supporter of the Lord along with “many others.” While there may be things women are not authorized to do (1 Timothy 2:12), it is sinful to suggest they are not important or to relegate them to a lesser role in the kingdom of Christ. Everyone is important and everyone has a role to play in His church.

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