Luke 8:1-3 – Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. 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.
What point is Luke making by drawing our attention to these women and their relationship to Jesus? We wouldn’t even ask such a question if this paragraph had mentioned only men. But the fact that it does not name men, but only women, makes the question worth asking. It seems that Luke is going out of his way to tell us that women followed Jesus, helped Him financially and were helped by Him. A few thoughts in answer to this question.
1) Luke’s Gospel is the Gospel of the social outcast. In no other account of Jesus’ life and ministry do we see Jesus involved in the lives of people considered untouchable as we do in Luke. Lepers, tax collectors, sinners, children and women. Luke’s message is clear. This Jesus is for you, no matter who you are. Are you considered unclean because of disease? You can come to Jesus. Are you ostracized because you work for Rome or have cheated and lied? You too can come to Jesus. Has your life been one of immorality and godlessness? He will restore you to God. Come to Jesus. Are you young and deemed worthy to be seen but not heard? Are you generally considered a nuisance and bothersome? Jesus will not think such things. He will gladly and joyfully receive you. Are you considered less important, less intelligent, less valuable because you are not male? Jesus will welcome you with no regard for your gender. What a glorious thing the Gospel is.
2) Jesus receives help from these women. He puts Himself at their disposal. He shows them that they are useful, needed, helpful. He makes them feel fully human. They are grateful for what He has done for them and He allows them to use their abilities and resources to help Him. These women have been healed and freed from demon oppression. Jesus has touched them who could not be touched and now says to them, “Would you please help me?” What an act of love and liberation!
3) He teaches those who are considered not worthy of teaching or too stupid to teach. The text points out that these women and the Twelve are travelling with Jesus. The women are not Apostles, but they are learning the same things that the Apostles are learning. They are not regarded as second class.
4) Even within this group there are divisions that get lost at the feet of Jesus. The wife of a king’s steward and a woman possessed of seven demons travel together because with Jesus the differences disappear.
Luke 8:2-3 seems like such an innocuous little piece of writing. But it packs a real punch and still addresses some of our deepest prejudices based on social class, gender, and what sins a person’s past may be laced with. How thankful we should be that this little text has been included for us.