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April 13, 2022 12:00 am
Most Christians can name some, if not all, of Jesus’ 12 disciples. Far fewer know who Joanna, or Susanna are, or what they did in Jesus’ ministry. But as chapter 8 of Luke opens, we see several examples of women, representing far more anonymous servants, who faithfully followed and served Jesus throughout His earthly ministry. From these three brief biographies, we can learn several valuable lessons about our own service to Christ.
Spices with all the women to anoint his body for burial.tv rose before the fulfill that desire 23% to be the first person to see the resurrected Lord March 16 nine that she along with other women will be the ones to deliver the news to the rest of the disciples that Jesus is alive.
24 to quite a resume for a former demonized hopeless. Not all can't name them all know of them know that they followed and served Jesus far fewer people know who Joanna or Susanna are and what they did in Jesus ministry. But as we come to chapter 8 of Luke we encounter several specific examples of women representing many more anonymous servants who faithfully followed and served Jesus throughout his earthly ministry from these brief biographies will learn several valuable lessons about our own service to Christ. Welcome to wisdom for the heart Stephen Davies message today is called the supporting cast, church history would neither exist nor advance nor be filled with so many testimonies of faith and courage were it not for women who were committed disciples of Jesus Christ affect so much of what we just enjoyed this morning with her children's choirs. The ministries around this campus today are made possible by these committed disciples find it interesting that in the gospel by Luke.
If your new were studying our way through this text, you will discover that women play an important role in the narrative.
In fact, nearly 40 time, Jesus will refer to women. He will talk with women, evangelize women, heal women teach women which the rabbis it is day did not do. Luke records that these faithful women came to the cross came to the tomb announced his resurrection to the disciples. Women have played in the early days, and to this day crucial significant role in the supporting cast of the gospel. As you know I enjoy reading a biography as I'm usually involved in order to at any given time, but I came across one of the woman that I've never heard of her name was Gladys Aylward born in 19 022 a poor family shoemaker's wife lived ordinary lives there in London in her teen years and in her early 20s. She fulfilled the role in that culture which was suitable for her, which was what they called a parlor made the housemaid she eventually heard the news. As a young believer of a widowed missionary in China who needed to be helped replaced actually in an orphanage even started in the early 18 late 1800s. So Gladys applied to the China inland Mission and was accepted into their three month preparatory course, but because she couldn't grasp the Mandarin language she was declined rather devastated. She really didn't want to spend the rest of her life in that manner wanted to be on the field and so she decided to save every penny she could and she did it so she was able to buy a one-way passage to China and she expected to spend her life. There because arriving or selling my ship was costly. She arranged her plans to go by train as far she could train eventually was making its way through Siberia on the trans-Siberian railroad. All of the other passengers were soldiers they were headed to the front as Russia was in war.
She was alone, single. She stood 4'10" order to eventually this determined woman who would be nicknamed the small woman in China for the rest of her life, but every inch determined the train came to a halt in all the soldiers got off and she sitting there along the conductor gave exit. This is the stars were going because of the war and I'm not returning so she got her two suitcases, one of which it stuffed full of rice and beans in pots and pans and began walking back to the station.
It took nearly a day and nearly dead with cold and exhaustion.
She finally reached the station and there the providence of God connected her to a diplomat who gave her passage on a ship to China.
I could tell you so much more of what God did through her fearless faithful disciple of Christ.
It's interesting to me that nowhere in the Gospels, not even one time.
Do you hear of a female follower of Jesus denying him, betraying him, leaving him. Never once from the earliest days they served with faithfulness and humility. There there members of the supporting cast of the ministry of Christ in that legacy continues to this very day.
Luke is going to introduce us to three of them. So if you have your Bibles turn to the eighth chapter in his gospel in verse one were told here in in this chapter now marks a little bit of a transition that Jesus went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God and the 12 original oldies will be the apostles eventually with him and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. Now Jesus is essentially commencing what we could call his first missionary trip we would call here at this church a global impact trip. He sets out with a 12 and begins broadening his circle of ministry Capernaum has been home base. Now they are that they're going to camp out as they travel around and are going to need some logistical help they need money they donate food there. There's there's no mention anywhere in the accounts that Jesus ever appealed for money. He didn't pass a play to the end of the service. Remember to he was poor he was very poor. He needed money to the fact you're aware that on one occasion he needed to pay his taxes and that the monies we sent Peter to the lake to catch a fish which Peter did that. It is about the money to pay taxes that the fabulous way to pay her taxes but but Jesus didn't tell Peter to stay down there that like keep fishing that Jesus didn't need anybody's help, he could have created every meal of bread and fish right bleach hoses will see the co-labor as he does today so where is he going to get the money from to buy food along the way will if you look out of the universe. Three. Financer and many authors who provided for them out of there means you could expand this paraphrase it to literally read and many other disciples provided for their support of their private funds their private mean. So these women along with the others men and women. In addition to the 12 disciples literally funded out of their own accounts. The earthly ministry of Jesus there supporting him. How's that for an investment at least three women Luke is about to introduce to us are members of the support team and they they have this in common.
I read it quickly, but this is what they have in common, all of them have been healed by Jesus. They been cured, delivered by the Lord, the first woman now was introduced to us in verse to the middle part notice.
Mary called Mac the lien from whom seven demons had gone out now. Mary is not to be confused with the prostitute we we looked at last Lord's day study that encounter broader vial of perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus. Nowhere in fact in the Bible is Mary Magdalene, called or referred to as a prostitute. The medieval church created that myth that tradition without any evidence of that really opened the door for all kinds of legends and superstitions and lurid ideas that exist to this day the Gnostic Gospels will later on in the second and third century create their own version of this woman and they'll say that she and Jesus fell in love, then moved to the south of France and raise the family.
You know, as the apostle Paul would say that's a bunch of baloney day so you know but but the truth remains she is living a miserable life in her home village of Magdala, demon possession typically bought brought with it a physical and emotional disorders that later on in this chapter. Luke is going to introduce us to deranged man living in a cemetery, but but this doesn't mean in in every case or most cases, that mental illness is the result of demon possession but demon possession typically brought with it physical, emotional, mental distress, pain and suffering are not given anywhere in the gospel accounts that moment when when Jesus found Mary of medical and set her free but you can only imagine what a day that was when Luke says here in verse two that Jesus healed these women of evil spirits and infirmities. The word Dr. Luke uses for healed, is the verb therapeutic which gives us our word therapy. It's it's a comprehensive word in the first century that emphasized an entire restoration of health and and cleansing, so it's no wonder really that Mary Magdalene wants to do nothing more than follow Jesus. So if you track her through the Gospels as I did I just give you the summary she and other women will serve him along with the other disciples.
Matthew adds that in chapter 27 in verse 55.
She will eventually follow along with other women who trailed behind the Lord weeping as he walks up dog a thought. Luke 2327 shall stay on that hill and watch him until he dies. Matthew 2756 shall prepare spices with other women to anoint his body for burial at state never got to the rows before they could fulfill that desire. Luke 2356 shall be the first person to see the resurrected Lord. 16 nine than she, along with other women will be the ones to deliver the news to the rest of the disciples that Jesus is alive.
That's quite a resume for a former demonized hopeless woman without a prayer, and certainly without a future ostracized unclean unwanted avoided, no doubt abandoned by everyone who knew her and would have known her. When she fell under the power of the devil that were not told how long were not told how were you given any details of that moment when she meant meant Jesus, but we do know that he found her just like you found you and me know lest we relegate you to Mary's deliverance disarming the distant past. I never forget that Jesus is still delivering people this day. To this day just like you did back then. In fact, it strikes me that he is delivering people just as easily today as he did back that this was not a strain for Jesus. You know I didn't have to buy extra holy water in double the holy smoke and you know champ and some monotone and utter incantations. If you want to deal with demonized people all he does is speak speak that when Jesus shows up. The demon possessed person is not helpless. The demons are helpless. What I love about Mary Magdalena is.
She joined this group of disciples and it really just highlights the Lord's ability to take somebody this hopeless and helpless and and and give hope in the future. But let me make an observation here and will put it in principle form as they turn down the air conditioner here is having a dark past doesn't handicap the Lord's ability to give you a bright future, no matter what your past, Jesus took somebody that's ostracized and any gives her a brand-new family. All of a sudden she surrounded by brothers and sisters, fathers and mother did what what this group was to her really can they be you can do some degree because you came to Christ you were alone. Maybe when you came to faith.
You were the only one in your family first generation brand-new. Nobody understands you better not sure that what you're either Thanksgiving or Christmas. What are we to do with her what a new family. She was given as well as look at the next woman here in verse three.
The text says and Joanna the wife of whose whose us, Herod's household manager know not told she was healed from that were told she's a devoted follower of Christ. But it's interesting to me because Luke wants us to know that the gospel has reached the upper echelon of Roman society. He makes the pointed points out that she's married to a high-ranking member of Harrods administration. The word Luke uses to define whose disposition is the title for someone in charge of managing the personal property and the financial portfolio of of the King. He's the king's personal CFO and I would've been incredibly influential opposition in the court he would've commanded the respect of the court whose and Joanna would have been on the friend list of of of the king get this this king is not a friend of Jesus.
Herod's father. You may remember, was notice Herod the great. Try to find and kill Jesus after the Magi reported that the King of the Jews of been born. He failed in his search and his hatred and paranoia only intensified and now one of his sons, Herod ought to toss this Herod here in Luke's gospel account is going to be the one that orders the death of John the Baptist. He will be the one to conspire with Pilate to crucify Jesus they'll Herod it is, is not to be holding any testimony meetings or or six operations in the palace. This would have been a difficult place so Joanna is a difficult person to reach with the gospel. If there was ever a difficult place for an opening in the gospel. It would be the world of King Herod yet look you just declares her allegiance to Christ, we make another observation here. Sometimes God reaches an unexpected person in the most unlikely place where I told again when Jesus matter and healed her.
We don't know what was wrong with her. We do know that it was so remarkable that that she could only follow Jesus, and she became one of his disciples and evidently her husband went along with it. We don't know what he thought about it. We don't know if he was worried about it. Frankly, I believe he would've been because you can imagine the buzz. This is going to make around the palace, you know, I've have you heard Susan's wife is got religion Jesus and how little you know she's she's tilted she's following this itinerant rabbi she's given her body and easily helper don't overlook the fact that when Joanna decided to follow Jesus you cross the railroad tracks.
She left her neighborhood.
She she left out a pampered life to set up camp and wash dishes and clean clothes along with his other women she's choosing, as it were, to get on a train to go across Siberia with a suitcase full of beans and rice pots and long hours of hard work a lot of miles now Joanna is serving alongside people she would've shunned that she not met Jesus. She's like a hang around Mary Magdalene. What a great picture of the church to this day. Well, let's go on.
There's another woman. We want to meet in verse three.
If you don't look carefully you'll miss her.
The text simply says no back up in a business.
I want to read something Joanna the wife of whose parents household manager and Susanna. That's it.
That's it. We know nothing more about her. Mary Magdalena will become rather famous Joanna is married to a powerful man. She and her husband are insiders that Buckingham palace probably got a key Susanna.
She remains a mystery to this day we put it into principle form being unknown is not the same thing as being unessential.
She was essential. The early church. More than likely knew her well but we know nothing more than that, she was healed by Jesus that she follow Jesus that she helped serve him and the other disciples and gave out of her financial resources to support him. She is unknown, but essential to the work of Christ that he if you're tempted to think that she got shortchanged here in a she got left out of the award recognition ceremony just read on the text goes on to say and Susanna and many others who provided for them out of there means note that many others there not even named at least Susanna was named but these people remain completely anonymous. We don't know who they are.
When we only know what they did, they would've been part of that supporting cast doing those menial tasks of attending camp cleaning, cooking, providing along the way. All we know that this now all we know is that they helped Jesus they felt Jesus would that be enough be enough.
Most often the Lord has us doing menial things, not miraculous things.
There are a lot of people in the church today that are waiting to do something great for God and he's looking for people to do something small for God. Paul reminds us, is your place a small place tended with care. He put you there is is your place a large place guarded with care.
He put you there. Whatever the place. It is not yours alone. He joins you there Gladys Aylward who was interviewed sometime before she died. She had a meeting earlier with Elizabeth Elliott and Elizabeth wrote the was deeply encouraged by this elderly missionary to China. Gladys recounted in his final interview that she'd been a little surprised that God used her because of her limitations physically and intellectually, academically and with humility and a little humor. She said this in that interview, I'm convinced I was not God's first choice for what I did in China. There had to have been someone else.
It couldn't of been me. It must've been a man, a wonderful man a well-educated man but I don't know what happened to him. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing.
He never came.looked down below that I want you to consider the opening verses of Luke chapter 8 to be an invitation to join this glorious company of faithful women supporting tax someone wealthy somewhere impoverished, but all of them like us have this one thing in common. We all serve one who set us free to serve really want enough. This message is called supporting cast. It comes from Steven Davies exposition through portion of Luke entitled demonstrations of resurrection working to continue through this series. In the days that I hope you'll join us for all of our number is 86 648 Bible. That's 866-482-4253. Call today and join us next time. For more wisdom