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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

WOMEN MINISTERED TO JESUS

Luke 8:1-3 And it came to pass afterward, that He went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing 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.

This was another event in the life of our Savior, which was only recorded by Luke. He wrote that Jesus continued preaching extensively throughout every city and village. No doubt Jesus taught extensively in Galilee, but He also preached throughout the land of Israel, to the extent that the entire Jewish nation could not claim ignorance of His presence. Some heard His teaching, accepted Him as the Son of God, became one of His disciples, and a few even followed Him, partially or fully, throughout His earthly ministry. However, most people of the nation of Israel, due to their self-righteousness and their failure to accept God's revelation through His prophets, rejected Jesus as the Son of God and promised Messiah. Because they declined to accept their prophets of old, they also refused to accept the teaching of Jesus, because it was the same message of salvation for mankind that was planned by God from the beginning of time.

That message was showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. The only difference, during Jesus' sojourn on earth, was the time it was to take place. Prophets of old indicated that it was to take place in the distant future, but John the Baptist, preached that the kingdom of God was at hand (See Matt. 3:2), and Jesus told His apostles to preach to the lost sheep of the house of Israel that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (See Matt. 10:5-7). And as Jesus went into these cities and villages preaching about the kingdom of God, His twelve apostles went with Him. There is no indication that His apostles also preached the same gospel message at this time. It is more likely that they were learning from Jesus' spiritual wisdom, both what, and how, to teach of the promised eternal salvation that would soon be taught to the entire world.

Also traveling in His company, were certain women, which ministered unto Him of their substance. Not only did they commit themselves to Christ and His gospel of salvation, but they also used the things they owned to render sustenance to Jesus, and probably to His apostles also. Not only had Jesus brought peace and rest to their souls, but He also used His miraculous powers to heal them of evil spirits and infirmities. Indeed, their souls were renewed, but also the physical afflictions of both the mind and bodies of these women were healed and they were made physically whole.

The first woman mentioned here, that became a follower of Christ was Mary called Magdalene. The name "Magdalene" was given her to distinguish her from the many other women of the bible having the name "Mary." This addition to her name meant that she was from a city near the Sea of Galilee named Magdala. It was to this city that Jesus and His disciples came immediately after feeding the 4,000 men and women (See Matt. 15:35-39). Secular writers have written much about this woman. However, the lesson text tells us that she had been possessed by seven devils, and through His compassion, Jesus cast them out of her and freed her from these demonic bonds of Satan. Mentioned many other times in inspired scriptures, it should be noted that she remained a devoted disciple of Christ, and, it was to her that Jesus first appeared after His resurrection (Mark 16:9).

Also mentioned was a woman named Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward. As a steward of Herod Agrippa, Chuza probably held a position over some of this ruler's domestic affairs, such as a tutor, a governor of his household, or an overseer of a city or province within the domain, which he ruled. Also, many biblical scholars understand that the translation used here indicates that Joanna had been the wife of Chuza, but was now a widow. If that were the case, it would have allowed her the freedom to travel with the other women that accompanied and ministered to the life-sustaining needs of Jesus and His apostles. It is worth noting that she, along with other women witnessed the empty tomb of Jesus and announced His resurrection to the apostles (See Luke 24:1-10). Then there was Susanna. She is mentioned here as a follower of Christ and one that ministered to His needs. There is no other reference to her in other scriptures. These three women, along with many others, ...ministered unto Him of their substance.