Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took His twelve disciples with Him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing their own resources to support Jesus and His disciples.Luke 8:1-30
This little element marks the end of the Lesser Interpolation. Big words which just mean Luke’s shorter insertion of his own material. Matthew scatters his unique material throughout his gospel but Luke groups his in two chunks. The shorter one is this one which closes at this point. [Luke 6:20 – 8:3] After this Luke goes back to shared material again. [Luke’s larger insertion starts at Luke 9:51 and goes till 18:14. Yes, it’s a long one.] It is strange isn’t it that the closing element of Luke’s shorter insertion opens Luke Chapter 8. Well, Luke didn’t put the chapter breaks in; Robert Estienne did. (see Gems 21, 334) From a purist’s point of view, theoretically it would have been better if this segment had been the closing element of chapter 7 rather then the opening element of chapter 8. That would have enabled us to see better the end of Luke’s insertion. But on the other hand Luke uses this new segment unique to him to set the stage for the next tour of Galilee and for that reason it is better to start the chapter with that. So one could say Robert Estienne got this one right.
This little segment is uniquely Luke. The other gospel writers don’t have it. Following it Luke goes into a story that is common to the other synoptic gospels, probably originally from Mark, but Luke has repositioned it, if we take note the order of the stories by using a gospel harmony. I will deal with that when we look at what follows. In the meantime we have this curious unit of Jesus with His band of women.
Jesus is on the move again. We have been staying in Nain it seems, while all the above action has taken place since the raising of the widow’s son. Some writers think the action took place around Galilee. But it is more likely to have taken place specifically in Nain, which is in Galilee anyway. Wherever they have been, they are on the move now. They, being His immediate band of disciples, the twelve and some women. It seems the large crowd has left them now. I guess if they have been staying in Nain it was hard for the huge crowd to stay there as well. Now the ministry seems to be itinerant or more transient than it has been up to now but the geographic focus of it is still in and around Galilee. Some commentators or experts call it the second tour of duty in Galilee.
Now Jesus is traveling with a significant group of women. Significant for a number of reasons.
Firstly, there are quite a number of them:
Mary Magdelene, from whom He cast out 7 demons. Some try to make much of the fact that Mary Magdalene had seven demons. Yes she did have a problem in the demonic but it is not to assume that she was Satanic. It is also conjecture to try to link her name to prostitution.
Joanna, Chuza’s wife, who was Herod’s business manager. Joanna is mentioned again among the post-resurrection events in Luke 24:10. Her husband is not mentioned anywhere apart from here in Luke. They were clearly wealthy by virtue it seems of the job Chuza had as Herod’s (Antipas) business manager. Some have even suggested this could be a political role like a governor.
Susanna, we know nothing more about other than the reference to her made here.
. . . and many others – these are other well-to-do women.
Secondly, it seems Luke is saying they were all women who had been delivered of evil spirits and cured of diseases. But not all commentators agree with the notion that the reference to “cured from evil spirits and diseases” applies to all of them. Conceivably some could have been cured of evil spirits while others were cured from diseases. Those who are touched deeply; give much.
Thirdly they were the funders for Jesus ministry. They used their own resources to support the work. This too is significant. It is unlikely that a large group of people could have travelled the country without some means of financial support. Oh yes, in some places they stayed in homes with the local people but with a such large group that would not have happened much. The women provided out of their own means indicates they pooled their wealth for the common good. It is interesting that this action is set in the imperfect tense inferring this was a repeated action. They contributed their funds to the on-going financial support of the group.
Enough said on this little unit now. We will look at the bigger picture in the next Gem.
I don’t have any quotes suitable for today’s topic so I will continue the his / hers theme from yesterday and include some quotes I considered adding yesterday.
Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.Henry Kissinger
Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on after shave lotion and they go out and smell each other.Karl, age 5
When I first met my wife the only thing I wanted to change about her was her last name.Arthavina Pratiwi
People generally have two reasons for doing a thing. One that sounds good, and the real one.Anon