Luke 8:1-3 NRSVue
1Soon afterward he went on through one town and village after another, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered to them out of their own resources.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Lord, the Twelve apostles are remembered. The women are often forgotten, but their inclusion would have startled the Jews. They were the other members of your travelling group, not just supporting you, but risking their reputations by going out on the road with men. For a group of women, including the powerful like Joanna and the ex-prostitutes like Magdalene, to leave home and travel with a rabbi was scandalous. They showed the love and courage of great Christian women through the ages.
The presence of women among Jesus' disciples was countercultural and highly unusual. One was a woman of former demons and another attached to Herod's entourage - people who would have caused comment for Jesus when people saw them with him. He was a man who could ignore or challenge or accept the customs of the culture in their relation to his gospel. He went against many customs of the culture and religion, and his friendship with women was among the most significant.
This was a remarkable mix of women. Mary Magdalene moved from a dark and troubled past to stand by the cross of Jesus, and witness his resurrection. She is here rubbing shoulders with Joanna whose husband was Herod's financial controller: two women from opposite ends of society. What brings them into harmonious company is the love of Jesus, who likened the church to a great tree in which all sorts of birds build their nests.
Jesus travelled with a motley group of followers - men and women who were inspired by his way of life and his teachings. Our picture is of him leading a group into his way of life. In prayer we can become part of that group; each of us walks with his followers as we engage our lives with his.