Chasing History – Joanna

There’s not a lot of talk of Joanna in the New Testament.  She is certainly not mentioned as much as Mary Magdalene, another woman follower of Jesus.  However, this woman would have played a vital role in the ministry of Christ.

Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. (Luke 8:3 NLT)

What strikes me the most about this woman who followed Christ to the cross and who was one of the first women to see a risen Saviour is her elevation in Herod’s circle.   Her husband, the bible says, was highly placed, some versions call him a business manger, some a steward, but regardless of the title he would have had great responsibility. 
Joanna would have had access to the inner workings of Herod’s household and would have been able to speak to those within the palace of Jesus and the life He had come to offer.  And, I can’t help but think that this would have been at great risk to herself.  The political and religious turmoil of the time was such that your life would have been in danger by even the breath of rumour that you were a follower of Christ. 
Joanna didn’t seem to care.  She was part of the Ministry and followed Jesus with a singular devotion, to the point of providing resources, by means of cash, to the daily workings of spreading the gospel. 

What does this mean for me? 

I am in awe of Joanna’s commitment to the gospel.  And when I read her story I can’t help but think that I am lacking in my own commitment to the gospel.  She would have risked her life to follow Christ, and I shy away from speaking about His goodness to people because I’m afraid of what people might think?   Joanna followed Christ to the point of great sacrifice and I’m only willing to follow based on what’s comfortable for me? 
Let me tell you that thought stirs up the uncomfortable plenty.  What sacrifices am I going to make that ensure that I am living a life worthy of talking about my faith openly and freely?  I am fortunate to live in a time and a country that allows freedom of religion and currently I am free to express my faith in anyway, the very fact that I get to type this sentence and post this is the proof.  But what other sacrifices am I wiling to make?
Now I’m not just talking about money here, I’m talking about following Joanna’s lead in her devotion to Christ.  Nothing stopped her.  Nothing.  So I asked myself these questions about how I demonstrate my faith on daily basis:
When was the last time I went out of my way to help someone in need without first making sure it fit nicely into my schedule or whether there was something in it for me?
When was the last time I looked someone in the eye when I handed over my spare change and let them see Jesus in me? 
When was the last time I stopped my tongue from engaging in gossip and speaking words that tear holes in souls? 
When was the last time that I stood up for my faith no matter what the personal cost to me? 
And it saddens me to think that on my very best days my Joanna-faith wavers and falters.  It breaks my heart to think that my decisions are often based on the personal cost to me not the cost to the Kingdom if I don’t step out in faith and follow hard after Him. 
It is my prayer today and every day that God will show me ways to step out boldly in my faith. 

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