Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You know "of" her and yet you don't "know" her!

You have no doubt read the Bible many times and each time you learn something new. That is the power of God's Word. It is ALIVE and WELL but when we allow it to become dry and sick, it is then that we feel we have to entertain the crowd!

You have all heard the Easter story. No doubt you have read it many times, perhaps, each and every Easter your pastor or you have read it aloud to others.
Let's look at what Luke 24:1-10 says...
Now upon the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain [others] with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down [their] faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary [the mother] of James, and other [women that were] with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

Let's stop right there for a minute. Look at that last verse again. "It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary (the mother) of James, and other (women that were) with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

You know Mary Magdalene, you know Mary the mother of James and undoubtedly, you know "other" women. But who is Joanna? Who is this lady that received special mention in the Bible? She is only mentioned a couple of times in Luke so I wanted to do some research on her. Here is what I found.
And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve [were] with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. Luke 8:1-3

1. went--travelled, made a progress. throughout every city and village--through town and village. preaching, &c.--the Prince of itinerant preachers scattering far and wide the seed of the Kingdom.
2. certain women . . . healed, &c.--on whom He had the double claim of having brought healing to their bodies and new life to their souls. Drawn to Him by an attraction more than magnetic, they accompany Him on this tour as His almoners--ministering unto Him of their substance. Blessed Saviour! It melts us to see Thee living upon the love of Thy ransomed people. That they bring Thee their poor offerings we wonder not. Thou hast sown unto them spiritual things, and they think it, as well they might, a small thing that Thou shouldst reap their material things ( 1Cr 9:11 ). But dost Thou take it at their hand, and subsist upon it? "Oh, the depth of the riches" ( Rom 11:33 ) --of this poverty of His!
Mary Magdalene--that is, probably, of Magdala (on which see Mat 15:39 ; see on JF & B for Mr 8:10).
went--rather, "had gone." seven devils-- ( Mar 16:9 ). It is a great wrong to this honored woman to identify her with the once profligate woman of Luk 7:37 , and to call all such penitents Magdalenes. The mistake has arisen from confounding unhappy demoniacal possession with the conscious entertainment of diabolic impurity, or supposing the one to have been afflicted as a punishment for the other--for which there is not the least scriptural ground.
3. Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward--If the steward of such a godless, cruel, and licentious wretch as Herod Antipas (see on JF & B for Mr 6:14, &c.) differed greatly from himself, his post would be no easy or enviable one. That he was a disciple of Christ is very improbable, though he might be favorably disposed towards Him. But what we know not of him, and may fear he lacked, we are sure his wife possessed. Healed either of "evil spirits" or of some one of the "infirmities" here referred to--the ordinary diseases of humanity--she joins in the Saviour's train of grateful, clinging followers.
Of "Susanna," next mentioned, we know nothing but the name, and that here only. But her services on this memorable occasion have immortalized her name. "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done," in ministering to the Lord of her substance on His Galilean tour, "shall be spoken of as a memorial of her" ( Mar 14:9 ).
many others--that is, many other healed women. What a train! and all ministering unto Him of their substance, and He allowing them to do it and subsisting upon it! "He who was the support of the spiritual life of His people disdained not to be supported by them in the body. He was not ashamed to penetrate so far into the depths of poverty as to live upon the alms of love. He only fed others miraculously; for Himself, He lived upon the love of His people. He gave all things to men, His brethren, and received all things from them, enjoying thereby the pure blessing of love: which is then only perfect when it is at the same time both giving and receiving. Who could invent such things as these? It was necessary to live in this manner that it might be so recorded".

We see that Joanna is the wife of Chuza which so happens to be Herod's steward. I find that amazing! Someone who works for Herod as his steward, has a wife who is following Jesus. We don't really know a whole lot more on this subject but it does raise some interesting questions.

1. Was Chuza a believer in Christ?
2. Was Chuza sharing what he knew about Christ with Herod?
3. Was Chuza a "closet" Christian?
4. Did Joanna have any fear of what might happen to her from King Herod?
5. Do you think Chuza was ever in any danger if Herod found out that it was his wife (Chuza's) that was following Jesus?

it really does raise a lot of questions. But one thing it does for me...
It shows a person who is fully devoted to following Jesus regardless of the cost. Knowing full well that Herod might know what she is doing, she followed Jesus anyway.

How about you?
Are you worried about your boss finding out that you are a Christian?
Do you have a spouse who is a Christian and yet you are not?
At what "cost" is it to you to follow Jesus?

We are to die to self. The old nature should be thrown away and we are to put on the new creature that is found in Christ Jesus.

So the next time you get into your bible to do some reading. Don't just fly through the pages quickly because you "know" the story. Take time to actually STUDY God's Word. You will be amazed at what you will find!

And by the way...
the verses immediately following the story about Joanna in Luke 8:3 tells us about the Parable of the Sower. you know...
it is about those who are True Followers of Christ compared to those who are the False followers of Christ. True Converts vs. False Converts. By the actions of Joanna, we can see she is most likely a True Convert! Do your actions show your true allegiance?


1 comment:

Joseph A. said...

Whew, that's a lot of info. :) Very interesting.