‘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.’ Luke 8:1-3
Today we read about another New Testament woman. The mention of Joanna was limited to two verses in Luke’s gospel account. We are first introduced to Joanna in chapter 8 verses 1- 3. Scriptures tell us that Joanna traveled with Jesus, His 12 disciples, and certain women healed of evil spirits. These women included Joanna, Mary Magdalene, Susanna and others. Not only did they travel with Jesus in His ministry, but they also provided support from their own means to Jesus.
What’s most interesting about Joanna’s short story in Luke 8 is not in the verses where Joanna’s named was mentioned, but in the following verses when Jesus told the parable of the sower to the large crowd.
‘And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”’ Luke 8:4-8
The disciples confused by the parable asked Jesus what it meant. Jesus explained ‘Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.’ Luke 8:11. He went on to clarify the different soils refer to different people hearing God’s word. While Jesus doesn’t refer to specific individuals in His parable explanation, I think that Joanna, the disciples and the other women can be described as seed fallen on good ground. ‘But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.’ Luke 8:15
Her commitment to the Son of God gives us a powerful example of faith. We see her continued commitment and love for the Lord later in the book of Luke. Joanna was in the group of women that took the prepared spices to the tomb of Jesus only to see that He was not there. Joanna and these other faithful women did their part to serve the Lord even in His death. Because of their servant hearts, they were given the privilege to be some of the first aware of His resurrection.
‘Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still 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. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles.’ Luke 24:1-10
Like many women in the bible, Joanna gets little more mention than her name. Her example of service, faith, and love for the Lord provides plenty of reason for her name to be introduced, though. With Luke being inspired by the Holy Spirit to record His account of Jesus’s life, we know that the mention of Joanna served a purpose. We can trust that the Lord saw fit to include her in His word for our learning. We would greatly benefit our spiritual lives if we studied about Joanna’s faith and the part she played in Jesus’ life.
Hope you are enjoying this 31 Day Bible Study Challenge. Be sure and join me for Day 29 to read my daughter’s thoughts on Abigail.