Joanna (“Yahweh Has Been Gracious”) is a woman mentioned in Luke’s writings. She was healed by Jesus (either healed of a disease or infirmity, or exorcised by a demon), and later supported Him and His disciples in their travels. She was the wife of Chuza, who managed the household of Herod Antipas, the king of Galilee. Being the wife of Chuza, she must have been wealthy and powerful… at least compared to other women in 1st-century Palestine. This also means her husband was directly connected to the very man who had John the Baptizer put to death, and who played a part in Jesus’ death.
Yet, she followed Jesus faithfully… and provided for Him and His apostles financially.
She witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion… and was among the first to be told by angels of Jesus’ resurrection. Joanna is among a group of women who are the first resurrection witnesses, along with Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and other women; Luke 24:10. These women went to the apostles who thought their testimony about the risen Lord was nonsense, though Peter and some others decided to go to the tomb to look for themselves.
Joanna has been named a “saint” by the Catholic Church.
Some scholars link Joanna with “Junia”, who is mentioned by Paul in Rom. 16:7. Paul says Junia was famous among the apostles, and that she was in the Lord before him (Paul)… which would have been prior to 34AD.
An ossuary (coffin) has been discovered, bearing the inscription, “Johanna, granddaughter of Theophilus, the High Priest”. It’s possible this was this Joanna.
If Joanna had been a man, she would have been considered a celebrity among the early followers of Jesus:
– She had access to Herod’s palace.
– She had money and resources… and possibly lived a lifestyle that matched.
Yet, she is known for her connection with Jesus:
– She (and other women) helped meet the needs of Jesus and His traveling group.
– She was among the women who heard and saw firsthand that Jesus was risen from the dead.
It is almost as if Joanna lived dual lives; not contradictory lives, but parallel lives. If so, she was known – and is remembered – for her life connected with Jesus.
What about you? You balance home life and work life. You balance private life and public life. You may even be trying to balance a secular life with a spiritual life. But… which part of life are you most known for?
You can read Joanna’s story in Luke 8:2,3; 24:1-10; Acts 1:2,3.