-A Wealthy Disciple-
Joanna means 'Yahweh's Gift'. She chose to be a disciple of Christ. She, with other women travelled with Jesus. Joanna made a self-sacrificing decision. Married to Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas's finances, she decided to follow Jesus literally on His travels rather than keep in her comfortable life-style.
Jesus was known to be a travelling teacher, preacher and healer, proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
Joanna's husband was a man of high intelligence and ability in order to have the position of managing Herod's income. Being in such an important position as a Roman Official he would have earned a good salary, enabling him to provide a nice home including every available luxury.
Joanna and her husband would have heard of Jesus perhaps through John The Baptist or Herod Antipas himself, for Herod imprisoned John and had the prophet beheaded. Throughout the household of Herod, all would have known that Joanna was a disciple of Christ. The office held by her husband gave Joanna an excellent opportunity of witnessing to others at Herod's Royal Palace. She was the first person connected with the Meridian household to be mentioned in the Gospel. Later on, the gospel often reached into distinguished and royal homes through the witness of Christian servants.
Herod Antipas was the Tetrach of Galilee and one of the six sons of King Herod The Great. He married his step-brother's first wife. He ruled over a fourth of his father's kingdom. To marry one's brother's wife while the brother was still living was forbidden by the Mosaic Law. The Family of Herod were non-Jews, but were Edomites, foreigners yet relatives, they were enemies of the Jews. Herod was worried about Jesus' identity and thought that He may have been John The Baptist, come back to life.
Like Mary Magdalene and others who had been healed of an infirmity, this wealthy woman was restored to a normal life by Jesus and became a loyal and devoted disciple. Joanna had been a sick woman healed by Christ, The Great Divine Physician, who heals physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Joanna obviously had been helped by Jesus. Joanna's wealthy husband no doubt was also a believer of Christ, and willingly allowed her to commit herself to Christ, rather than to an influential household. She, a woman of wealthy possessions and high position was exemplified in humble servitude to her Lord and Saviour. Out of her resources, many expenses for Jesus' ministry were met, and in this way she was to freely give of her means for His welfare, having freely received His healing touch.
Joanna honoured Jesus with her material goods. Joanna out of her plenty gave liberally to the needs of the travelling company. This would have given her great comfort and pleasing memories of helping benefit others, especially Jesus, who had done so much for her.
The travelling life of women disciples who served Jesus was difficult, yet Joanna regularly and willingly joined these women in giving unselfishly of her wealth, but more importantly of her time and energy for the support of Jesus and His ministry as He toured throughout His nation. Joanna and the women were industrious, truly liberated, and helped in the livelihood of Jesus.
Mankind's Saviour humbled Himself to need the provision of others. Christ condescended to accept, yet though He was the richest of the rich in all realms, He was willing because of God's providence to be bound to His known friends.
It is the duty of those taught in The Word of God to honour their Lord cheerfully with their possessions. Jesus would not be burdensome to strangers in the cities and villages where he preached.
While travelling Joanna wore a linen undergarment and a woollen tunic that covered her body from her neck to well below her knees. Over this, she draped a cloak that served as a topcoat, blanket, bedroll and a carpet. To keep her tunic from billowing awkwardly, she wore a highly decorated belt of cloth.
Not only Joanna, but all travelling in the group, whether rich or poor, considered strong footwear essential. Their sandals were made of camel hide. At Herod Antipas's palace, she was draped in a stole, much more elaborate with a certain colour and pattern to indicate her rank among the Royal Court.
Joanna's husband's employer, Herod Antipas was in Jerusalem for festivities and the crowds at Jerusalem. He was pleased to see Jesus, for he had heard much about the miracle works done, one probably being Joanna's. Herod interrogated Jesus and hoped to see Him perform a miracle but Jesus refused to acknowledge him so Herod Antipas ridiculed and mocked Jesus, dressing Him in an elegant robe then sent Him back to Pontius Pilate for sentencing.
Joanna was also privileged to be among the women who gathered together, the last few to see Jesus on The Cross and to see His burial. Joanna's presence at the Crucifixion in contrast to the flight of most of the disciples, showed her faithfulness She was among the group of women who had travelled from Galilee, who after the brutal death of Christ prepared spices and ointments for His body. She was still willing to serve her Lord in His death. This respect of servanthood was a token of inner reverence and thanksgiving.
The same group of women assembled at Jesus' tomb early Sunday morning following Jesus' crucifixion, but to their amazement, the tomb was empty. Christ had risen. Being perplexed over the empty grave the women beheld angelic guardians. She was one of the women who was told that Jesus' tomb was empty then women recalled Jesus' words of His death and resurrection.
Along with Mary Magdalene and the mother of James, Joanna became the first to be a witness to the reporting of Jesus' resurrection to the Apostles, but until Peter and John saw for themselves the grave clothes and no dead body of their Lord, the women's declaration was at that point believed.
Joanna would have also been with the group of women from Galilee who saw Jesus' Ascension and joined together with the men constantly in prayer, a group of 120 when The Holy Spirit led the group to choose another eyewitness of Christ's resurrection to fill the vacancy that was left by Judas, as well as receiving The Holy Spirit in Pentecost Day held 50 days after Jesus death and resurrection.
History records that Chuza eventually lost his position in Herod Antipas's Royal Palace because of Joanna's conversion to Christianity, but went on to greater and better things of eternal value.
Joanna was among those privileged few with Jesus throughout His Ministry, His Death, Resurrection, Ascension and the sending of The Holy Spirit.
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Documents may be printed for single personal use but my not be altered without written permission of the Publishers.
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