Monday, November 16, 2015

Joanna - healed and heard

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!
                   After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. (Luke 8:1-3)
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:      
           On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. (Luke 24:1-12)
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.


Austin Towers said...

It is quite interesting to read that Jesus's ministry was supported by people with money and material things! But I suppose it had to be to a certain extent! Jesus said that the poor you will always have with you, but me you will not, when the woman came and poured the flask of alabaster oil over him! As we know from from the end of the Gospel of John, all the books in the world could not contain all that Jesus did! It must have been mind blowing! A phenomenon!

Cathy said...

I was one of those who didn’t recognize the name. I’ve read that passage of scripture so many times, and yet never noticed the name of Joanna in between the two Mary’s. Nor can I remember noticing the phrase “and the others with them”. Somehow in my thoughts and imagination, when I picture this scene, it’s always been just the two women. Time for some re-education!