Summary: This message looks at why the women gave of their own resources to support Jesus
When you stop and think about it, it’s the little things the minutiae. I can get my head around the miracles in the New Testament, miracles are by definition miracles. You either believe them or you don’t. So I don’t struggle with how Jesus fed the five thousand that was a God thing, a miracle and by definition miracles are miraculous. He took the little bit the boy had to offer and multiplied it to feed thousands. And there are all kinds of lessons we learn from that miracle, the concern that Jesus had for the hungry crowd, the sacrifice that the boy was willing to make and the faith that the apostles had when they started handing out the food. It is a great story and I preached on it two years ago during our stewardship month.
And so I don’t ever wonder about the mechanics of how Jesus fed thousands of people one afternoon but on the other hand I do wonder how he fed the twelve, day after day, week after week and month after month for three years. And where they slept each night and what they did when their sandals wore out. You know the little things the minutiae.
You ever wonder about stuff like that? Probably not, maybe before today it never crossed your mind. And probably the vast majority of people who heard Jesus preach and watched him heal the sick and those who ate tuna fish sandwiches on a hillside two thousand years ago never gave it a second thought.
They enjoyed the teaching they heard, they laughed when Jesus told stories of men straining a gnat out of their drink but swallowing a huge camel and people with beams in their eyes trying to take sawdust specks out of the eyes of others. They marvelled at the beatitudes and pondered the parables that he told, but they never really thought about the little things, the minutiae.
And maybe if people had brought up the little stuff that needed taken care of the response of some would be “Don’t sweat the little stuff” or “you just have to trust that God will take care of those things.”
But that didn’t mean that the little things weren’t important, as a matter of fact if the little things hadn’t been taken care of than the big things wouldn’t have happened. How long could the ministry have continued without Peter, James and John and the other nine guys eating? Or finding a place to crash at the end of the day. And so we have the scripture that was read earlier this morning.
Luke tells us in chapter 8 that Jesus travelled from town to village teaching and preaching about the Kingdom. And apparently he didn’t go alone because we are told Luke 8:1-3 . . .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 . . .
Kind of interesting the mix we have here. There are the twelve apostles, which of course is to be expected. And then we are told that there were some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. We really don’t know how many women there were in the group, only three are actually named, and of those three this is the only time we hear the name Susanna. But we are told that there were many others.
I think it’s neat though what we know about the other two, we are told that Mary Magdalene had seven demons cast out of her and that is really all we know about Mary, through the centuries she has been cast in roles as diverse as being a prostitute or being the wife of Christ. But all we know is that she had seven demons cast out of her and she was from Magdala and she was a follower of Christ. When the Da Vinci code came out as a movie I preached a message called “There is Something About Mary” and if you want more information about Mary let me know and I will send you the manuscript.
And then there was Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager. But business manager doesn’t say it all, the Greek word used here is ἐπίτροπος, epitropos. And this was the man who would look after all of King Herod’s financial interest, his Chief Financial Officer so to speak, one of the most important people in Herod’s court. And things like that fascinate me, how she heard about Jesus, what made her decide to follow him, how different she must have been from the common Mary from the little village of Magdala. But then again Jim Irving’s wife Jean is a committed believer who grew up on a farm outside of Peticodiac.