Luke 8:1-3 – Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna
SummaryLuke introduces three of the women who travel with Jesus around Galilee and unto his death in Jerusalem (see also 23:49, 55; 24:10). These women are actively engaged in Jesus' work, for the Gospel notes the support they provide, possibly as patrons who fund Jesus' mission.
AnalysisAlthough these three women's appearance at this point in the narrative is brief, they provide an important reminder that the company of Jesus' followers includes women as well as men. The Gospels of Matthew and Mark also note that women accompany Jesus throughout Galilee and unto Jerusalem (Matthew 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41), but only Luke informs readers of this fact in the middle of the stories describing Jesus' public ministry.
It was not necessarily scandalous in the first century for women to join themselves to a traveling male teacher or religious figure, but the mere presence of women among Jesus' followers, along with Luke's willingness to make them known, suggests that Jesus' movement was more inclusive and welcoming toward women than were some others in the ancient world. Luke mentions that the women "provided for" Jesus and the others "out of their resources." Luke does not elaborate on the nature of their service, so some have interpreted it to be supplying and preparing food. The context and details of these verses, however, lend stronger support to the assumption that the women offered their independent financial patronage to assist the functioning of Jesus' ministry. In any case, offering service of any kind to Jesus and the community of his followers is something highly valued throughout Luke-Acts.