Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit.
Reflect: Jesus of Nazareth (Vol. 1) opens with the following comment about Luke 8:1–3:
A prayer of men common in both Jewish and Greek circles during Jesus’ time expressed thanks to God for not being born an animal, a woman, a Gentile (Jews), or a barbarian (Greeks). By His attitude and actions Jesus shattered this view of women. In His dealings with women Jesus was a revolutionary. He was shocking. For the rabbis, women could only be regarded as dangerous, on two scores—they were a source of defilement and a source of temptation. . . . The rabbis taught that if the pious man saw a woman approaching, he should avert his gaze to avoid eye contact. If he should stumble and fall in the effort, that was far preferable to permitting lustful thoughts to spring up within. (p. 116)
Can you now see just how incredible Jesus was? For Jesus to even have women in His presence was a remarkable rebuke to the social order of the time. To have women as part of His inner circle?—even more so! The first witness on resurrection morning was a woman. And here is an additional—and amazing—little piece of information. At the time of Jesus, the ruler of Galilee was Herod Antipas. This was the same Herod who was officially trying to have Jesus killed (Luke 13:31). Herod, as the ruler of Galilee, was also at the center of politics and high society. Chuza was the man who ran his household, which would have made him very wealthy as well. Chuza was married to Joanna. Joanna was the woman who hosted King Herod’s lavish parties. She was the same woman who sat at the table with Mary Magdalene. Herod’s chief of staff’s wife was financially supporting the ministry of the man Herod was trying to have killed! Joanna later appears with Mary Magdalene (Luke 24:10) when they relay the news that Jesus has risen from the dead!
Jesus embraced these women and elevated them to equal standing with men in society. He gave them respect and the opportunity to serve and inspire others. His message—that a call is irrespective of gender—has always been ahead of its time. He was and is trying to restore humanity to its original state as planned from the point of creation. He is bringing us to a place of equality and hope.
Recalibrate: What has Jesus called you to restore that has been broken?
Respond: What could you do that would be completely unexpected and completely in line with God?
Research: Create your own timeline of the resurrection from the Gospels.