Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 31 July 19:
Note: Here is a short video overview of Esther: https://youtu.be/JydNSlufRIs
Luke 8:3 — “Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.”
Through Joanna, Jesus’ ministry was partly funded by the estate of Herod Antipas, the king of Galilee, executor of John the Baptist and coconspirator against Jesus himself. Little is known about Joanna other than she was the wife of the man who managed Herod’s estate; that she had been healed by Jesus; that her name means “Yahweh has been gracious”; that she accompanied Jesus and the Twelve, and that she was also one of the women who discovered the empty tomb of Jesus on the first Easter morning. Joanna is only mentioned by name twice in the Bible, once here, and once in Luke 24 at the Resurrection.
So, why does the Bible take time the mention Joanna in Luke 8 and to point out that she (along with the other women) provided for the needs of the disciples? I think that this statement would be shocking to a Jew in those days – “How could Jesus surround himself with these unacceptable women, and how could He accept their ‘blood money’ in order to take care of his personal needs and ministry activities?” Remember, this was a time when the Jews would not allow Roman coins with Caesar’s image on them to be brought into the temple as offerings.
– 1 Corinthians 1: “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”
Joanna, redeemed by God, used her position and resources (which are neither good nor evil) at her disposal to advance the Gospel. Similarly, Paul, exploiting his position as a Roman citizen, traveled to Rome in an Alexandrian ship adorned with a figurehead of two gods, Castor and Pollux. Did that matter to Paul? Of course not! To Paul who knew and served the One True God, this ship dedicated to idols was nothing more than transportation to fulfill God’s purposes. Likewise, Paul viewed meat sacrificed to idols (imaginary gods) as nothing more than high quality food – what others had intended for this food had no impact on him, unless eating it publicly would cause a problem for someone else.
The lives and experiences of both Joanna and Paul reveal how God uses once unworthy people and unworthy systems to accomplish His redemptive purpose — “What God has made clean, do not call common.” (Acts 10:15) If you are a Christian committed to serving the Lord, there is not ‘secular’ job, assuming your job or activity is a legitimate one. God has placed you where you are for a reason. Use your position, influence, expertise and resources to advance the Gospel.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 31 July 19: Use every opportunity to share the Gospel wherever God has placed you.