STRANGE PROVISION

Lk. 8:1-3 – Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.

One of the beautiful things about the ministry of Jesus is the diversity of His followers. Just as we see in today’s verse, even today, everyone from the billionaire to the homeless, from the sophisticated to the streetwalker can be found in the crowd following Jesus. Two of the followers of Jesus mentioned in this passage demand our attention. Mary Magdalene, the woman with the shady past whom had seven demons cast out of her is mentioned in the same breath as the apostles. Then there is Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward. Think about that, King Herod’s treasurer’s wife, the man who controlled the money in Israel, his wife was a follower of Jesus. Not only that, Luke said she ministered to the Lord out of her substance. That is quite amazing. There were at least twelve families being supported by the ministry of Jesus, He even had a treasurer Himself. The Lord will always provide for His work, sometimes it is in the most surprising ways. Here is what Barclay says about today’s verse.

“There was Mary Magdalene, that is Mary from the town of Magdala, out of whom he had cast seven devils. Clearly she had a past that was a dark and terrible thing. There was Joanna. She was the wife of Chuza, Herod’s epitropos. A king had many perquisites and much private property; his epitropos was the official who looked after the king’s financial interests. In the Roman Empire, even in provinces which were governed by proconsuls appointed by the senate, the Emperor still had his epitropos to safeguard his interests. There could be no more trusted and important official. It is an amazing thing to find Mary Magdalene, with the dark past, and Joanna, the lady of the court, in the one company.”

All of us have a role to play in God’s kingdom. Sometimes it might be behind the scenes but that doesn’t have anything to do with the value of the gift. Every member is extremely valuable, each playing a critical role in advancing God’s kingdom. Obviously Mary Magdalene, a lady of the night; and Joanna, the woman from the king’s palace, valued the kingdom of God and poured out their love on Jesus.

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