You are on Jesus team, so let’s go!
Luke 8: 1-3
After this, Jesus travelled 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.
Yesterday we were imagining Jesus visiting our town or village. But can you also imagine being a member of the crowd that came with Jesus? Sometimes it is referred to as a large crowd as when Jesus entered the town of Nain (7:11), here Luke writes ‘many others’.
In the crowd were of course the Twelve apostles. The chosen ones, appointed to be sent into all the world. They constantly heard the parables being taught, day after day, often the same messages, so much so that they could repeat them verbatim. They could even teach them the way Jesus taught them they had heard them that often. The lessons of the teaching of the kingdom went deep into their soul. They knew the way Jesus spoke. They saw how he lived. They watched him pray, eat and sleep. They could recognise his laugh, his voice when he sang and his favourite Scriptures. They saw many healings, in fact every disease they could think of they saw healed. They saw that many that they knew nothing was impossible for Jesus.
In the crowd were many others, all at different levels of faith perhaps, disciples who were following, learning as they went. Others perhaps just tagging along, looking for excitement, they would soon disappear when Jesus spoke some tough teaching, but for now they are there.
Jesus made sure he took with him certain people. Woman who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases.
Women like Mary who they simply called Magdalene, probably her nickname given by Jesus because she came from Magdala. Can you imagine being given a nickname and that being your home town or county? I was born in Norwich and in that county you are called a Norfolk Dumpling! Or if you’re from Birmingham, Jesus would simply call you Brummie!
Mary came from Magdala, now modern day Migdal but she had been a deeply troubled woman. There is no mention of a husband, so perhaps she is unmarried or a widow. But can you imagine seven different life-controlling, oppressing demons that were owning this woman’s life? Now imagine her testimony of what Jesus had done for her! She was definitely an asset for the gospel trips!
“What Jesus has done for me he can do for you.”
Women like Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household. Here is a woman who was also healed or delivered, we are not told. But a woman from perhaps a completely different privilege. Chuza, her husband, most probably a man of intelligence and ability because of his position as manager of Herod Tetrachs household.
Women like Susanna. Again someone who had been transformed by Jesus. It must have been very shocking at that time to see women being given such prominent positions in the team, to be part of the disciples, to be on mission with Jesus. Luke places this detail immediately after the incident between Jesus and a woman known as a sinful person in Simon the Pharisees house, where he misjudged badly the pure encounter that Jesus had with the woman.
Luke says that these women were the financial backers of Jesus’ mission. We don’t know how much it cost for this evangelistic team to travel around the nation with the gospel. The need for food, clothing, accommodation, there were constant bills needing to be paid. These women continually gave and provided for Jesus. They had access to money and they made sure the mission continued. Perhaps we need to make sure we have on our gospel teams the financial supporters that are necessary to keep going. If you are one of these people, you need to see your role as important as the Twelve. So important that actually you will remain so close to Jesus that you are there at his greatest need, the foot of the cross (John 19:11) and the greatest experience of power, his resurrection (Luke 24:10).
Can you imagine being part of the Jesus team? Can you imagine travelling from city, town and village? Can you imagine learning from Jesus every day and seeing wonderful things he was doing? Can you imagine carrying a testimony of the work of grace in your life? Can you imagine getting the opportunity to tell people about what Jesus has done for you? Can you imagine it? Yes you can! Today is another day of gospel work. Let’s go!