Breaking the glass ceiling -Luke 8:1-3

This summary passage is unique to Luke and accords the important role he assigns to women. We have been speaking of the reconstituted Israel in the Gospel of Luke which began with the choosing of the twelve apostles  in Luke 6:12. These apostles will be Jesus’ emissaries who continue his kingdom proclamation and are commissioned to preach the Christ event or as Luke will call it, ‘the word of God’; a phrase used 30 times in Luke and Acts. This is a rare phrase for the other evangelists as you barely find them using it.

In choosing the twelve, Jesus had presented a great symbol of unity from diversity; fisherman, a zealot. Galileans, a Judean (Judas of Iscariot) a toll collector, one with a Greek name (Philip). Women now comprise the second element of the band of reconstituted Israel and this would have been considered strange and very revolutionary at the time of Jesus for both the Gentile and Jewish audience. 

While it was not uncommon for women to support rabbis and their disciples out of their own money, property or food stuff it was certainly unheard of if not scandalous for a woman to leave her home and travel with a rabbi. What made eyebrows rise even further is that this band of women included some from whom demons had been cast out.

Among the three women mentioned are Mary of Magdala from who seven demons have been cast out. She is not to be confused as a sinner woman of the preceding text 7:36-50 and there is no evidence that she is a ‘prostitute’ as made out by many enthusiastic preachers. Then there is Joanna, wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod Antipas’ estate and a person of position and means. Finally, there is Suzanna of which we know little. However, scripture mentions that these three women were also joined by many more women.

The text of today indicates that these women were involved in the proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom of God and providing for Jesus and the twelve out of their resources. This is a very powerful piece of information. The Gospel writer is highlighting a ‘reconciliation’ and collaboration between men and women in the inner circle of Jesus.

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