Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 22, 2020
By Guest Writer: Jill Foley Turner
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. Luke 8:1-3
Today we conclude our reflection upon Jesus’ female disciples, who not only supported him and his ministry, but took an active role in ministering alongside him. Whereas last week we looked at the women themselves, today we explore four key lessons they teach us from their lives and witness.
Jesus was homeless and penniless, but he did things for these women that their money couldn’t ever buy. From Luke’s description, it appears that all of them were saved from a great deal of brokenness – physical and spiritual. Having been saved by him, they were beyond grateful. They became his loyal disciples and used their worldly wealth to express their gratitude and further his ministry.
Even if he didn’t save you from a demon or a disease, you are still healed – actually saved from eternal death. Sometimes we forget that, but when we remember, he can restore the joy of our salvation. And that joy can lead us to use our own worldly wealth, or whatever we’ve been given, to further his ministry too. They gave out of what they had, and we can too!
Jesus and his disciples traveled together for three years, and they left behind fishing nets and collection booths – sources of income – to do it. Jesus didn’t make miraculous meals out of loaves and fishes every time his disciples needed to eat. The Bible only mentions him doing this a couple of times. Instead, he let the women meet needs of the group.
Jesus had great expectations for his disciples, and he told them so. Not only would they do great things to complete the work he began on earth, they would do greater things, because he would be doing the work through them:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14).
Meeting the needs of Jesus and his traveling companions probably wasn’t the primary reason the women traveled with them. It seems clear that they were devoted to Jesus. Giving their money, possessions, time, influence, and service were all ways they stayed by his side. Like so many others, they just wanted to be near him.
And in spending so much time with him, they learned his ways, learned from his teaching, saw how he responded to people. They learned how to be like him. And day by day, as these women of means and nobility worked alongside the rural Galileans, their identity was no longer defined by their wealth or status. It was the fact that they had been “with him” that marked them (Luke 23:49, 55).
“Day by day, as these women of means and nobility worked alongside the rural Galileans, their identity was no longer defined by their wealth or status. It was the fact that they had been “with him” that marked them.”
They followed him from Galilee to Jerusalem too. They didn’t leave when it became inconvenient or even dangerous. They never left him, not even after he was dead.
Apart from Mary Magdalene, the Gospel writers don’t remember these ladies often. In fact, Susanna is never mentioned again by name. But we know there were many women who had stayed with him since ministering in Galilee.
“Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Jesus, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.” (Mark 15:40-41).
Joanna, Mary, and others stayed with him while he was dying – even after the disciples deserted.
And when Joseph asked Pilate for the body, they were there then too. Joanna helped prepare his body for burial and Mary waited outside his tomb until he rose. These were Jesus’ friends. He was dead, and they still weren’t going anywhere. He rose, and they were there, waiting for him.
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Dear Lord, I praise you for the women who loved Jesus and their example of how I can love Jesus and others, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Who is a woman you know who can mentor you in how to love well?
Here is a helpful resource during these days of grief, sorrow and uncertainty: A Little Book of Comfort
Those devoted to Jesus are generous with their money, possessions, time, influence, and service. #WisdomHunters #women #truth #Jesus
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