Read Luke 8:1-15
Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. (Luke 8:1-3 NLT)
This text amounts to nothing more than a preface to a well known parable… The Farmer Scattering Seed. These are the kind of verses that we usually rush through or skip over to get to the heart of the story. But today I simply want to slow down and remember those people in the story of scripture who we so easily pass by. We know about Mary Magdalene (although she is often grossly misunderstood and misrepresented), so maybe her name caught our eye for a moment, but today I want to remember Joanna and Susanna and the countless others whose names are never mentioned. These names are more than just words on a page. These names represent the real people through whom Jesus’ kingdom movement began and multiplied. It is because of Jesus working in and through the lives of people like Mary and Joanna and Susanna that this movement still exists and is moving forward even today. Most of us don’t have stories like Peter or Paul or some of the other great heroes of our faith. Maybe our names will never be recorded in books, and our stories not written down, but each of us, like Joanna and Susanna has a significant part to play in the kingdom of God. So today I am thankful to be among the nearly anonymous followers of Jesus. No one will ever make a movie of my life, but that doesn’t mean my life is insignificant. May God’s kingdom advance in and through my life! May God’s name be glorified, not mine. Thank you forgotten followers of Jesus. Your life and witness matters.