Have you heard of a lady in the Bible named Joanna? Do you know where to find her story? Don't hang your head in shame; many people don't remember her. But she was an integral part of Jesus' ministry and in the spread of the Gospel -- we can learn a lot from her!
Let's dive in!
These verses introduce us to Joanna; she was cured by Jesus of a disease, or released by Him from the clutches of evil spirits. Her life was changed, and she helped Jesus while He was on earth.
We see her mentioned again, later in Luke:
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. (Luke 23:55)And lastly, in the next chapter we see her again:
There are several translations of the name, "Joanna" -- it can mean "Jehovah hath shown favor" or "the Lord is grace" or "gift of God."
God certainly did show favor to Joanna, and she was a gift in the lives of many. Let's look at the background for our story . . .
Joanna was a very wealthy woman; as the wife of the manager of Herod's vast and prosperous estates, she would have had plenty of money and lots of material possessions. She would have been quite comfortable in the scheming and intrigue of the court, for she was highly regarded, as was her husband, Chuza (some translations note his name as Cuza).
At some point, she became ill. We don't know if Joanna was demon-possessed, or if she suffered from a mental or physical illness. A rich and powerful woman would have been able to consult with many noted physicians, but it's apparent that none of them were able to effect her healing. Perhaps she came to Jesus as a skeptic, or just as a last resort -- but she left a changed woman.
He healed her body and He changed her life. She was different.
Whenever anyone came into contact with the Lord Jesus, they were never quite the same. Some went away happy. Some left angry. It's the same today . . . people will always go away different. When you talk to someone about Jesus, they might become irritated, angry, or hostile. Or they may become repentant, relieved, and joyful.
Joanna went away healed. But in reality, she never went away! She began to support His ministry with her money and her material goods, and probably her influence, as well. She traveled with them, too. She gave her life to Him.
We'll see as we study that this had profound effects on Joanna, and on the people around her.