Sunday, January 01, 2006

Observe & investigate - Lk.8:1-3

This is entire summary of Jesus’ content of preaching: “the good news of God’s kingdom,” (i.e. – God’s rule coming into your life is the best possible, and most needed, news people need to hear).

That Mary was possessed by “seven demons” is a way of saying she was “perfectly possessed” by Satan.

Luke commonly makes mention in his Gospel and in Acts of people of substance and how they have been affected by Jesus’ ministry, as he does here with Joanna.

What a contrast/comparison is set up between Mary Magdalene and Joanna - a once perfectly Satan-possessed person and a well-to-do person with access to many possessions.

Every ministry requires money and women provided it for Jesus’ ministry.
1. “The character of Jesus’ ministry now changed; on this Mark and Luke agree, though they disagree about the precise nature and the cause of the change. According to Mark it was the growing enmity of the leaders and the almost embarrassing enthusiasm of the crowds that prompted Jesus to abandon the more settled ministry of the synagogue and to make the sloping seashore his auditorium. Luke . . . implies that it was no outer compulsion of circumstance but the inner necessity of his own missionary programme that drove Jesus to take a systematic visitation of the smaller townships and villages.” (Caird, 115-116)

2. “The pericope is a Lukan summary statement designed to serve as an interpretive framework for the section it introduces (8:1-9:20). . . . They play no visible role in the unfolding of the section. But their mention here, besides serving the purpose of setting the women’s role in parallel with that of the men, prepares for the significant role for the women in the passion/resurrection narrative (23:49,55-56; 24:1-11).” (Nolland, 364-365)

3. “There are good Jewish parallels for women supporting rabbis and their disciples out of their own money, property, or foodstuffs, but these women are far more intimately caught up in the enterprise in which Jesus is engaged.” (Nolland, 367)

4. “This passage tells us – what no other Evangelist makes known – how Jesus and his disciples lived when they were not being entertained by hospitable persons. The common purse (Jn.13:29; comp. 12:6) was kept supplied by the generosity of pious women. This form of piety was not rare. Women sometimes contributed largely towards the support of rabbis, whose rapacity of accepting what could ill be spared was rebuked by Christ (20:47; [Mt.23:14; Mk.12:40]) with great severity.” (Plummer, 215)

5. “Women following Jesus was an unprecedented happening in the history of that time, and the consequence was that one of them, Mary Magdalene, not Peter, was the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.” (John Stambaugh & David Balch; The New Testament in Its Social Environment, Westminster Press, 1986, 104; cited hereafter as Stambaugh & Balch)

6. “. . . Jesus knowingly overthrew custom when he allowed women to follow him. He could do this because he required from his disciples an attitude to women of complete chastity . . . (Matt.5:28). Jesus was not content with bringing women up onto a higher plane than was then the custom; but as Savior of all (Lk.7:36-50), he brings them before God on an equal footing with men.” (Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1969, 376; cited hereafter as Jeremias)

7. “The way Mary is introduced here makes it clear that neither Luke nor his source identified her with the sinful woman in the preceding story [7:36-50]; demon possession and sinfulness are to be carefully distinguished.” (Marshall, 316)

8. “The Herod meant is probably Antipas . . .” (Plummer, 216)

9. “The name ‘Chuza’ has been found in Nabatean and Syrian inscriptions . . . For Luke’s acquaintance with other members of Herod’s entourage, see Acts 13:1 . . .” (Fitzmyer, 698)

10. “Luke has a recurring interest in the utilization of one’s means (12:15-21,33-34; 14:33; 16:9; 19:8, etc.). (Nolland, 367)

11. “Luke establishes a deliberate parallel between the apostles and the women (his gospel is marked by such paralleling of men and women . . .) . . . In fact the women are Luke’s only . . . connection with all four stages of the traditional confession preserved in 1 Cor.15:1-5 (death, burial, resurrection and resurrected appearance.).” (Nolland, 365-366)

12. “The fact that they are identified by name suggests that they were important to the Palestinian church. Their ‘service’ (diekonun, 8:3) to Jesus and the Twelve may be a prototype of the ‘deaconess’ (diakonos’) found later in the church. Cf. Rom.16:1; cf. Lk.2:36ff; 10:39; Acts 9:39; 1 Tim.5:9.” (Ellis, 124)