And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. (Luke 8:1b-3)
This week we begin reading the Gospel According to Luke. Luke, a Gentile believer, wanted his readers to know that the gospel is for all, both Jews and Gentiles. Another interesting and shocking fact is that Luke has more references to the role of women in Jesus’ ministry than any other Gospel (ESV Study Bible). This is in steep contrast with first-century Jewish culture, as evidenced by the following daily prayer of thanksgiving: “Praised be God that he has not created me a woman.” Many Jewish teachers of that time believed that women should never leave the home except to go to the synagogue. Luke captures the essence of Jesus’ ministry. He did not only come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), but also to break dividing walls caused by man’s prejudice. Jesus led by example by including social outcasts in his ministry. In the opening verses of chapter 8, Luke mentions Jesus ministering with women from the highest levels of the social order in Herod’s palace, to a demon-possessed woman who would have been a social outcast. The Well Church, I believe that Jesus is calling us to follow his example and lovingly accept those who are living on the margin of society — the social outcasts. Who are they? Would you lovingly include them in your inner circle? The gospel calls us to do so without hesitation. Let us boldly proclaim God’s love with our actions.
- Pastor Jay