Traveling with Jesus
Women Impacted by Jesus – part 8
I grew up in the era of the Sunday school flannel graph Bible story. To my best recollection, whenever “Jesus & the disciples” were depicted, the figures of Jesus and The Twelve were placed on the flannel board. It was never mentioned that women also traveled with Jesus. But in Luke 8 we read: “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women…These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” (Luke 8:1-3)
Some women are named: Mary (called Magdalene), Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household, and Susanna. Some women remain anonymous, falling into the category of “many others.” Luke tells us that some of the women had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. He also points out that these women supported Jesus and The Twelve financially. Noticing this for the first time as an adult, my imagination was stirred.
I had to edit the visual images embedded in my mind by those childhood flannel graph lessons. I now had more questions than answers. Did these women occasionally or consistently travel with Jesus?Reading further in Luke 8, I wondered: Did these women hear Jesus tell the parable of the sower and his subsequent explanation? Were they in the boat on the lake that was being swamped? Did they witness Jesus’ encounter with the demon-possessed man? Did they see the demons come out of the man and enter the pigs who rushed into the lake and were drowned? I could go on, but you get the idea. What did these women see and hear while in the presence of Jesus? Some day I plan to ask them as we hang out together for eternity.
I like to think of these women as the original ladies Bible study group. Together, they listened to the Word, the Word made flesh. Talk about the ultimate audio Bible! Together, they talked to Jesus. The first women’s prayer circle.
The fact that a women’s fellowship group was formed during the days of Jesus’ public ministry, and the fact that Jesus allowed them to travel with Him and support Him financially, makes me love Jesus even more. I am sure these women experienced the power of Jesus’ authority over the ills that held them captive. I am convinced they were forever changed as recipients of the full measure of grace and truth that Jesus possessed.
Recently, I was reintroduced to an older worship chorus, “As the Deer.” As I sang, some of its lyrics resonated with my spirit and I was filled with renewed gratitude. I imagine these women would have made a similar declaration: “You’re my friend, and You are my brother, even though You are a King. I love You more than any other, so much more than anything. I want You more than gold or silver, only You can satisfy. You alone are the real joy-giver and the apple of my eye.”
As we travel together through a month that celebrates love, may God grant each one of us a renewed love for Jesus. May we also celebrate the opportunity we have as women to search the Scriptures and approach the throne of grace together through prayer. “For from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” John 1:16
I enjoyed reading what you wrote here. I am in the process of writing a blog post on women in ministry, which was always a touchy subject in the C&MA when I was growing up in that denomination. It was a long time before I, as well, realized that women traveled with Jesus and with his disciples. I saw the same flannel board illustrations as you, as I was in the C&MA all throughout the 50s to early 90s and then some more in the early 2000s.
Anyway, thank you for writing what you wrote here. I appreciate it.
Thank you, Sue.