Nov. 13,2007; The Series - Jesus, Unique & Unequaled Teacher
Focus Text: Luke 8.1-3
One synonym for devotee is follower; another is supporter. In the case of Jesus and this miniseries, both definitions are appropriate. We will begin our study by considering a special set of followers about whom we know little, but about whom regrettably we hear even less. “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).
Who were these women? What do we know about them? What role did they have in the ministry of Jesus? What direct influence and impact did they have on His ministry? What impact did they have either directly or indirectly on the progress of the gospel in the first century? We will not address these questions in any particular order, but we will attempt to answer these and other questions as we proceed in our study of the Devotees of Jesus.
Without a doubt, some of the most courageous and loyal followers of Jesus were the women, albeit many of them shall for all time remain nameless. Consider the statement made in the focus text that these female disciples “…provided for Him out of their substance.” We do not know the details of how this was done; perhaps they gave Him money from which He was able to buy the things He needed; perhaps they supplied Him with food, and garments, and other necessities of life. Regardless of how it was done, we can know that it took great courage of convictions and unwavering loyalty to continue to support Jesus, the unique and unequalled Teacher. Many, many disciples turned their backs on Him when things got rough, but this band mentioned by Luke apparently remained constant in their support of Him.
When others refused to believe, they refused to do anything but believe! After the resurrection, it was the women who bore the news to the apostles, but were not taken seriously. Luke records, “Now they were Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James: and the other women with them told these things unto the apostles. And these words appeared in their sight as idle talk; and they disbelieved them.” (Luke 24.10-11). Consider the contrast in how these two sets of followers reacted to the resurrection; the apostles disbelieved and discounted the word of the women; the women held steadfastly to the truth and refused to be shaken by the reaction of the apostles. This again demonstrates the great conviction which these women shared and the courage that they had to exhibit in order to remain loyal to His cause!
It is not the case, never has been the case, and never will be the case that women of conviction are of inferior value to the cause of Christ. Another thing is just as certain; women of conviction are of much greater worth to the cause of Christ than men of little or no conviction! The women devotees of Jesus should forever dispel the myth that they are in any way weaker or of less value that their male counterparts.
1. What two women are mentioned by name as followers of Christ in both Luke 8 and Luke 24?
2. What did these women do on behalf of Jesus and to further His ministry?
3. Would you say that this might have been an unusual thing for them to do in a male dominated society and in which women were frequently treated as just so much property? What does this say for their courage and convictions?
4. What significance do you see in the fact that God chose women to be some of the first witnesses to the resurrection and the first to testify to others of this momentous event?
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