Women of the bible: JOANNA


Joanna: who was she and why is she mentioned in the bible. 

Only mentioned three times in the bible, Joanna was significant enough to be mentioned by Luke.  We don’t know her family, what village she grew up in, or if she had many children. This is what we know about her. 

Firstly, Joanna was an wealthy upper-class Jewish woman and married to Chuza, an influential member of the staff to Herod Antipas, the Roman appointed ruler of Galilee.

Secondly, at some stage in Joanna’s life she came into direct contact with Jesus of Nazareth who cured her of an unspecified illness. Luke’s gospel mentions ‘evil spirits’ and ‘infirmities’, which means that Joanna’s illness could have been almost anything.

And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,  And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. (Luke 8:2-3)

Whatever her illness, the miracle of the cure changed her and resulted in her following Jesus and supporting him and his disciples. Joanna dedicates the rest of her life to following Jesus, and earns her place as one of the rare women mentioned in the gospels.  

What she did, we are not sure, it is likely she used her wealth and position to help and assist Jesus and his disciples as they travelled about — whilst the details are not clear, Joanna, like Mary Magdalene, Susanna and the other women were all very familiar with teachings of Jesus and  knew his disciples well. 

Thirdly, we know she was part of a small group that went to the tomb to clean the body. Since there were no family members present in Jerusalem (Luke does not mention Mary the mother of Jesus), Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James took over the responsibility. This shows us that her relationship with Jesus was very close and the disciples trusted these women completely with this important task. 


Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.  (Luke 24:1-3, 10-11)


What can we learn from Joanna

* God can change our lives — Joanna must have prayed for her illness to be cured, I wonder how many people she had seem in regards to it and no one could help. One visit with Jesus of Nazareth was all that was needed. She was now a new woman and ready to follow faithful and do whatever Jesus wanted of her. She had seen His power at first hand and needed no further convincing. How many times have we seen His power and dis-regarded it or not realised it’s significants. Or when He does something and we continue on with our lives without thanking Him for what He has done for us. 

Joanna was faithful, God changed her life and in return she follows Him and his disciples. It isn’t clear what role she played, however small it may have been, she was faithful until the end. We don’t need to play large roles during our lives, sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest differences.

Are you willing to give your life to Jesus as Joanna did. This was a woman, who was risking her life to follow Jesus. Herod wasn’t a ruler to mess with and if he didn’t like you or what you were up to, he was willing to have you executed. Joanna’s conversion was genuine, her love for Jesus was deep and unequalled, and her stewardship was faithful and uncompromising. We too need to have the same conviction as Joanna. 


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