Joanna’s Crown

Luke 8:3: “Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others . . . were contributing to their support out of their private means.”

Observation: Luke 8:1–3 addresses how the ministry of Jesus was funded. Jesus and the twelve disciples were in a season of great activity, moving from one city or village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. Luke describes such a breadth of activity that we can only conclude it must have been exhausting. No time for tentmaking for this passionate band. Their schedule would never permit it. So, how were they supported? Who gave the funds needed for their food, warm showers, and nights in the local Motel 6? 

Verse 3 mentions Joanna as being a key donor. Here is one of the delights of Scripture, as Luke lets us in on something that must have caused him to smile as he wrote. Joanna, it turns out, was the wife of Chuza whose name, except for this one passage, might otherwise have been lost to history. Chuza was Herod’s steward, a man in a position of considerable importance in the management of Herod’s finances. This was the same Herod who had beheaded John the Baptist (see Matt. 14; Mark 6). Ironically, the money of this evil king was being used to finance the spread of the Gospel.

Application: What a delightful thought! The wife of one of Herod’s inner circle was funneling family resources to the very thing Herod had hoped to stop. Have you ever wondered why Jesus, knowing full well of Judas’s thievery from the disciplies’ treasury, nonetheless allowed him to continue as keeper of the moneybags? Jesus knew His needs would be met, even from the treasury of the king of evil himself.

God will not be thwarted; His purposes will be accomplished. The only question I should ask is, will I get in on what He’s up to? Surely Joanna’s contributions came at great personal risk; if Chuza had ever reviewed her checkbook ledger, Joanna’s head would certainly have rolled as John’s had. Yet because she said yes to God, she will be known through all the ages as one whose life bore eternal fruit. Not because she preached. Not because she taught. Not because she raised the dead or healed anyone. She was simply someone in the background, through whose financial support Jesus did all these things and more.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, give me a generous heart. Cause me to so reorder my priorities that I can give more. Give me wisdom from on high as to how I ought to use the resources You have given me. And if You find me to be a faithful steward, pour more into the account. It is great fun to get to participate in Your work, Lord.

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