After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another,
proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,
2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary
(called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife
of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These
women were helping to support them out of their own means.
Jesus was very busy traveling. He consistently engaged in equipping people to be truthful and
lovable. Truth and love were the obverse and reverse of his gospel. He wanted everyone to live
a life with a meaning and purpose. Luke’s perspective in projecting Jesus as a women liberator is
one of a phenomenal work of the Gospel. In a patriarchal domain, Luke’s inclusive presentation
about the disciples of Jesus befits the radical initiative of Christ in treating women as equals
to men. The Movement of Jesus is primarily a movement of women.
From the beginning of Gospel, Luke illuminates a newness in activating God’s mission that centers the marginalized and women in the salvation paradigm. When women are branded as polluted beings by the Jewish tradition, Jesus trained them as effective leaders for transforming the society to carry the Good news to all. Women recorded in Luke 8:1-3 were pictured as the special people by Luke. They were healed by Jesus as well as cleansed by him from the possession of evil spirits marks us an interesting study. Because these women are more thankful and followed Jesus even to Cross and they are the first ones to visit his tomb after the sabbath. Women were always truthful to the Lord. They were loyal to their master and their love never ceased even though Jesus became the victim of the empire and religion.
Women disciples were not power oriented rather they are attached to truth. “In the area of
religious practice, women were in many ways overlooked. Men were required to pray certain
prayers daily, but women were not. While the study of Scripture was regarded as extremely
important for men, women were not allowed to study the sacred texts. Rabbi Eliezer, a first-
century teacher, is noted for saying, “Rather should the word of the Torah be burned than
entrusted to a woman.” At the Temple in Jerusalem, women were restricted to an outer court.
In synagogues they were separated from the men and not permitted to read aloud. They were
not allowed to bear witness in a religious court. But Jesus defies these expectations.” 1But Jesus,
equipped women to be leaders, facilitators, entrepreneurs and counsellors. He gave them a new orientation about life which made women as equal subjects in the world to do God’s mission along with men counterparts. They were very much convinced about Jesus' divinity and believed him to be the true messiah and at last became the first evangelist to propagate the message of hope, Resurrection message even to the apostles. Especially Mary Magdalene became the Apostle to Apostles. We have read some special insights on Mary and Magdalene in the earlier bible studies so today I like to focus on Joanna, Susanna.
Joanna: Joanna means “God is Gracious”. She is the wife of Chuza. I feel that Luke purposefully
records this to tell us that married women were part of Jesus' movement. Apparently, we see
that Chuza was a manager of Herod Antipas household estates. A man certainly who was
influential. Jesus’s movement was able to influence all people and crossed boundaries, because
Joanna seems to represent a privileged group. She was also quoted in Chapter 24 when women
disciples accompanied one another to the tomb of Christ. It’s not the miracles and healing beyond that the message of Christ pulled them and grounded them deep is an intriguing insight. I also feel without her husband's consent she would have not joined the movement which so self-evident that families were associated with the movement. Wherever women are they are the key educators and the true builders of families. They always build families and net the subjects to truth with the help of God.
Susanna: She is one of the women named by Luke in Chapter 8. Susanna means “Lilly”. We don’t
have much information about her but she and Joanna were noted for their support and helped
them by their own means along with some unnamed women. I feel probably these women were in constant touch with the local communities and kept the ethos of the new movement of Jesus, which spoke about peace and Love. They would have travelled with Jesus and had a good exposure about the predicaments of people and would have committed themselves to bring change. From Luke we can map that these women became the agents of change and thus the movement of Jesus sustained facing imperial dominance for nearly three centuries.
Women disciples were loyal to Jesus, supported the mission of Jesus through various means and became the channels of change through the quality of endurance. Amen!