Joanna and Susanna are two women who are introduced in the book of Luke and served alongside Christ during His earthly ministry. Luke 8:3 describes Joanna as “the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household.” Susanna is mentioned alongside her, and Scripture says, “these women were helping to support them [Jesus and His twelve disciples] out of their own means.”
Luke 24:10 goes on to say that Joanna was among the group of women who visited Jesus’ tomb after His resurrection. This Scripture specifically mentions Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, but it is possible that Susanna was among the “others with them” who told the apostles that Jesus was risen.
1. Joanna and Susanna were woman who had been healed by Christ and they showed their gratitude and love by supporting Him. Luke 8:2 says that these women who helped to support Jesus and His disciples had formerly had evil spirits and diseases, but had since been cured by Christ. We don’t know exactly what sickness plagued them, but from the way they followed and served Jesus the Christ, we see that they were fully thankful for what Christ had done in their lives. He had healed them emotionally, physically, and spiritually. He had taken their broken hearts and bruised souls and made them whole. Whereas their lives had once been filled with pain and darkness, there was now only peace and God’s glorious light.
Just as Christ had willingly given them His gift of healing, Joanna and Susanna willingly gave out of their own means to Him. Truly they modeled the words of Jesus Himself, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” When it came to making sure that Jesus was taken care of, they held nothing back. They thought of His needs before their own. We should think in the same manner. Christ has done many good things for us, with the main one being that He died and rose again to give us eternal life. Should we not then be concerned with what we can do for Him?
2. Joanna was a courageous disciple of Jesus the Christ. Susanna’s relations are not mentioned, but we do know that Joanna was married to a guy named Chuza, who was the manager of Herod’s household. Being the manager of Herod’s household sounds like it would be a pretty big deal, however, Herod was no BFF of Jesus the Christ. He was the guy who beheaded John the Baptist, after all. Despite the close association that Chuza (and thus her entire family) had with Herod, Joanna did not let that stop her from following Jesus the Christ. Who knows how much influence she had in Herod’s palace by living out and speaking about her faith?
There is no place that exists where we cannot be witnesses for Christ. It matters not how hostile the environment we are in or how unbelieving the people we are around, we can be faithful disciples and courageous witnesses for the One who died for us.
3. Joanna and Susanna spread the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. These women walked with Jesus during His life, remained at the foot of the cross as He hung dying, followed His lifeless body to the tomb, and were the first to discover that He had risen, just as He said He would. After overcoming their initial shock, these women joyfully went and told the disciples that the One who they supported and loved was no longer bound by the chains of death.
In allowing women to be the first to proclaim His glorious resurrection, Jesus the Christ acknowledged their faithful support and honored the love they had for Him. He gave them a role in His kingdom work, thus liberating all women from the shadow of sexism and commissioning us all to be bold proclaimers of His Word and of His works. Rachel Held Evans writes, “That Christ ushered in this new era of life and liberation in the presence of women, and that he sent them out as the first witnesses of the complete gospel story, is perhaps the boldest, most overt affirmation of their equality in his kingdom that Jesus ever delivered.”