Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Willing to Go (Luke 8:2,3)

and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means. (Luke 8:2, 3 NASB)

In addition to Mary of Magdala, two other women are mentioned by name. We know little about them, except that Joanna was married to Herod's steward, and had likely been in and out of the royal palaces frequently. As a result of his job, her husband had been in close proximity to Herod on a daily basis. We know from this passage that Joanna was one of the women who had been healed by Jesus, either of evil spirits or a terrible sickness. Whichever, her healing was noteworthy and she kept close to Him. Because she and the other women accompanied Jesus, some commentators think they may have been widowed or never married, which allowed them more freedom in being away from their husbands. 

Another possibility is that Chuza, Joanna's husband, was still living and working as Herod's steward, and that he supported Jesus with as much enthusiasm as she. My reasoning for this supposition comes from this verse: 
Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. (Luke 23:8 NASB)
By this, we know that someone had been talking to Herod about Jesus and the miracles He performed. Because Herod was glad to see Jesus and "had wanted to see Him for a long time", it is likely that He had heard positive reports about Him from a disciple of Jesus rather than one of His enemies, such as a Pharisee. There is no one more likely to have the opportunity to share about Jesus than Herod's personal steward, whose own wife had been miraculously healed by the Galilean preacher. 

Regardless of her current circumstances, Joanna was not a woman from one of the rural villages. She was likely more accustomed to an urban, more sophisticated lifestyle, yet she willingly accompanied Jesus on his preaching tour, helping to support the work from her private means and walking dusty roads for miles every day without complaint. 

It's a little easier to identify with Joanna, rather than Mary, in some ways. Her lifestyle was certainly a little more like ours than Mary's had been, but she willingly left her comfort to go where Jesus would go, eat what Jesus would eat. That choice is a little harder to embrace, isn't it? Comfort is very appealing, and hard to leave. 

Jesus's purpose in leaving the comforts of His own heavenly home was not an earthly wilderness trek. It was the redemption of sinful man, and He left home and comfort willingly, so that the work of redemption could be accomplished. 

How willing are we to be uncomfortable for Christ? 

How willing are we to leave the comforts of home to go where Jesus would go, live as He would live, in order to bring others to Him? 

How willing are we to speak out about our faith to those who need Him? 

Today pray that we and our loved ones would be willing to be uncomfortable for Jesus in order that all might know His truth, and that, willing, we might follow His call wherever He leads. 

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Link to last night's post is here: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-big-bonus.html