What would it have been like to hear the words, “He is not here; he has risen!”? Joanna was among the women at the empty tomb as they heard those glorious words. We read her name listed in Luke 24:10 with other women who went to the tomb that first Easter morning. We can assume that Joanna was among the women who watched Jesus’ crucifixion from a distance (Luke 23:49), and she was one of the women who followed Joseph of Arimathea to see Jesus’ tomb and how he was buried (Luke 23:55). Both of the Luke 23 verses tell us that these women had followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem.
Joanna was an unlikely follower of Christ, but she followed him relentlessly. We first learn of Joanna from the passage in Luke 8:1-3, where her name is also listed. Joanna was among the women who were with Jesus and the twelve disciples as they traveled from town to town in Galilee. Joanna is described as the wife of the manager of Herod’s household. As in Herod the King. Her husband was a high ranking official, and they were probably of well off means.
So, what would have made her follow Jesus to towns and villages throughout Galilee and then to Jerusalem? We see the answer in Luke 8:2—because Jesus had changed her life by healing her from an evil spirit or disease. As she traveled with Jesus and the disciples, she would have heard him preach about the kingdom of God. She saw how he lived his life as the Son of God. Then in her grief following the horror of the crucifixion, she was among those at the empty tomb to hear, “He is not here; he has risen!”
Joanna relentlessly followed Christ and helped support him out of her own means. This was probably at some risk to her stature. She continued to follow him when things got tough and he was sent to the cross. Then she was among the first ones to know of the joy of the resurrection.
As you think about Joanna, consider the ways that she showed authentic faith in Christ. What compelled her to follow Christ, and then to keep following Him? May Joanna be an example to us as we live out our faith in Christ.
Dear Jesus, Help me to live out my faith day to day by following you. May my love for you continue to grow as I walk with you each day. May the preschoolers I teach see authentic faith in you. Amen.
by Joye Smith, Preschool consultant