In the Gospel of Luke chapter 8, verses 1 through 3, we read about Jesus and his disciples traveling from town to town, preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. The passage also mentions women who were with them and who “provided for them out of their means” (Luke 8:3). This raises an interesting question: who were these women and how did they financially support Jesus and his disciples?
The Women Who Followed Jesus
The Gospel of Luke mentions several women who followed Jesus and his disciples. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and “many others” (Luke 8:2-3).
These women were likely from various towns in Galilee and Judea and had different backgrounds. Some were likely wealthy while others may have been poor.
Financial Support for Jesus’ Ministry
Jesus’ ministry was not financially supported by any religious institution or government. Instead, he relied on the support of individuals who believed in his message.
In Luke 10:7, Jesus tells his disciples to rely on the hospitality of those they meet on their travels. Similarly, in Matthew 10:9-10, he instructs them not to take any money or provisions with them but to rely on the generosity of others.
The Role of Women
In a patriarchal society where men held most positions of power and influence, it is notable that Luke specifically mentions women as financial supporters of Jesus’ ministry. This suggests that these women played an important role in sustaining Jesus’ mission.
- Mary Magdalene: Mary Magdalene is mentioned in all four gospels as a follower of Jesus. She is often depicted as a wealthy woman who provided financial support for him.
- Joanna: Joanna was the wife of Chuza, a steward in Herod’s household.
She is mentioned in Luke 8:3 as one of the women who provided for Jesus and his disciples. Her husband’s position suggests that she may have been wealthy.
- Susanna: Susanna is only mentioned in Luke 8:3 as one of the women who provided for Jesus and his disciples. Nothing else is known about her.
The Significance of Women’s Support
The fact that women were financial supporters of Jesus’ ministry is significant for several reasons. First, it shows that Jesus’ message was not limited to men but was intended for all people, regardless of gender.
Second, it challenges traditional gender roles by depicting women as active participants in spreading the gospel. Finally, it highlights the importance of community support in sustaining a mission.
In conclusion, the women who followed Jesus and provided for him and his disciples out of their means played an important role in sustaining his mission. Their financial support allowed Jesus to focus on preaching the good news without worrying about his material needs. The fact that these women are specifically mentioned in the Gospel of Luke underscores their importance and challenges traditional gender roles.