Friday, July 25, 2008

Bible Study About Joanna

The woman that I read about in my devotional study book this week is Joanna.

This study is the first time that I have ever heard of Joanna. There is not much said about her in Scripture, but God does not have to use very many words to say so much, amen?

We are introduced to Joanna in the book of Luke.

Luke 8:1-3
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.


Being the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household, would have made Joanna a woman of high rank in Herod's court.

These verses tell us that Jesus healed Joanna, but we don't know "what" she experienced healing from, but her response to Jesus' healing touch was huge and personal. She gave herself to Jesus and His ministry. She, like the other women, followed Jesus wherever He went, and she supported him and his ministry from her own means.

The devotional that I am reading points out that Herod himself may have known about Joanna's personal story of healing at the hands of Jesus.

As with all of the other women that I have learned about in my devotional, there is always a certain part of each story that sticks out in my mind. This story is no exception.

Before I tell you what struck me the most, let me share the verses from God's Word that tells a little more about Joanna and the other faithful women that were with her.

Luke 24:1-12
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.


What strikes me so much about the story of Joanna is her faith and the faith of the ladies that she was with.
Think about it for a minute.......These ladies are telling the Eleven and some others what the angels had just told them to be true of Jesus and what had happened to His body, but the men did not believe them.

The Eleven did not believe them.

The Eleven who had been with Jesus all throughout His ministry.

The Eleven that knew Him personally.

The Eleven that loved Him.

Are the same Eleven men that thought that these women spoke words of nonsense.

But these ladies, including Joanna, spoke boldly in faith to the Eleven. They knew what they had seen with their own eyes, and they knew what they had heard with their own ears. They knew the peace that they felt in their hearts.

That is what strikes me the most of the story of Joanna; her complete confidence in Jesus.
Being married to the manager of Herod's household, Joanna was a woman very familiar with power. But she knew that the power she had been surrounded by in her wealthy lifestyle in Herod's court was nothing like the power she had found in Jesus.

It did not matter to her if others thought that she was just an hysterical, grieving woman, because she knew what the truth was. She knew Who the Truth was.

God honored her faithfulness by letting her be one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection.

So many times in our own lives and walk with the Lord, others don't believe us when we tell them something wonderful that God has done in our lives. If you go so far as to tell someone that God has promised you a miracle in any given situation, most times you will be looked at as someone speaking "nonsense."

But thankfully, God has given us the testimony of Joanna and her faithful friends for encouragement in our own walks of faith. What those faithful women told the Eleven about Jesus was one hundred percent true. The disbelief of the Eleven did not change a thing; these women knew the truth.

When God speaks a word into our hearts, we need to walk with that same faith. Others may not believe you, but that's okay, because you know what God spoke to your heart.

I have been confronted by someone in my past who tried to argue with me about this very topic. I shared with her a promise that God had made to me, and she told me very matter of fact that I was completely mistaken. She said that God would not promise me that because of decisions that Shannon and I had made in our past. I looked at her and said, "You can think what you want, and that is okay. The thing is, God told me about this promise, not you." She was quite speechless after that. And I will humbly tell you that was the first time in my life that I did not back down, and I did not let the devil use her negative comments to confuse me or make me question what I knew God had told me.

And several months later, God honored my faithfulness of believing His Word over the negative words of another. That same girl called me and apologized, because God had shown her that what He told me was completely possible, and that it lined up with His Word. She said that she realized just because God wasn't speaking to her in that same way, didn't mean that He wasn't speaking to me.

Our relationship with God is a personal one. So no other person can know (without your sharing) what God says to you. That is between you and God.

God speaks to each and every one of us differently.

Only Moses stood in front of the burning bush.

Only Jonah sat in the belly of a whale.

Only Daniel sat in the lion's den.

Only Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood in the fire.

God speaks to us uniquely,and works through us all uniquely, because we are all unique. Not one of us are the same, nor will our walks with Him be the same.

So listen for God's Voice in your own life.

Look for His activity all around you.

Open your Bible and read it to see if what you are seeing and hearing lines up with the Word of God.

He will speak to you. You just need to open your heart, listen, and believe!

The devotional book points out how Joanna and the other women went to the tomb grieving, but left the tomb rejoicing.

Scripture tells us that we will experience that same type of joy. It may not come in "our" timing, but our joy will come in God's timing.

And it is a promise.

His timing is perfect.

Psalm 30:5
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.


The devotional ends with a beautiful prayer that I will share with you.

"Lord, you laugh at the rulers and powers of this world who oppose you. Help me to realize that no evil, regardless of how terrible or prolonged it might be, can ever stand against you. Give me a greater sense of your resurrection power and majesty."

24 comments:

MereinSC said...

I love your blog!

I like your post very much. I have been struggling lately with knowing what the Lord's will for me is and how He tells me what His plans for me are. I think now that I need to wait for Him to speak to me in a way I will understand and not look for an answer in everything I do.

Pleasant Drive said...

A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised! Amen and amen! Thank you for speaking boldly of our wonderful Savior.

tiggerdaisy said...

Oh girl!!! GREAT POST! You have definitely got me to thinking!

I wonder just how often we are derailed from a promise just because of the naysayers in our lives? Too often, I'm sure.

Thanks for blessing me today!

Prayers and blessings,
Rebecca

Nicole said...

Great stuff, Amy! I pray you continue to stand and believe the promise that God has given to you.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Nicole

Mia said...

Thank you for blessing me this morning! Praise God that He tailors His voice so *I* can understand what He wants to say to me.
Personally, I take satisfaction in knowing that He revealed Himself to that small group of women on that resurrection morning : )

sa061545@bellsouth.net said...

Amy, that was wonderful! What insight you have - it's amazing to me! I am so proud that you pour your heart and soul in to these Bible posts - it means so much and is so important. I love you!
Mom :)

Denise said...

This is so wonderful, Amy. Thank you for sharing about the faithful Joanna. I have never heard of her before today. I really enjoyed this post.
Denise

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I feel like, I just want to sit here and continue to soak of this lesson of faith. I know your heart, I know your promise. I often think of you, your faith in the promise given to you and I question myself when I allow the enemy to detour my own faith for my own miracle. When in those moments of doubt, I too look to the women who had such faith and the people who I posted about last week who were healed, restored, given, promised, based on their faith.

It's hard at times. It's hard to believe in the promise whispered in our hearts. It's hard to believe in the unseen. It's hard to believe in the impossible. BUT, but...faith can and does overcome that "hard".

Thank you for sharing your heart and your faith to believe in His promises...not just those in general He gives in the Word but those He has specifically provided you.

I'm thankful that "person" who questioned God's voice and promise to you realized his/her ways and saw the validity in His promises to you.

I can so relate to how people think we are crazy for believing in the "impossible". Yet, the world's impossible is God's possible, His miracles.

Sorry for the book. I guess it's time to post on my blog.

Love and prayers,
Paula

Mari said...

Amy:

What a marvelous and instructive post! Such wisdom. Thank you!

Laura said...

Amy, this is so beautiful. It was the very Word I needed to hear today. I have been feeling discouraged about a promise God made me...questioning, listening to those voices. Thank you, dear friend.
You bless.
Laura

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Who knew? What a treasured read for me this day. Joanna is one of my over-looks. Thanks for pointing out her story today and for reminding me of the personal ways that God has spoken to me in the past and did so, even last night and early this morning.

This is a powerful contemplation, Amy. I hope you're gaining strength with each new day. How's the dust coming?

peace~elaine

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Amy-this was very good and really stirred my heart. I know what it is to be confronted that God could not still be in my life becuse of my past. BUT HE IS!!! It is a personal relationship with Him and His opinion is hwat matters the most. That I would be like this strander Joanna....what is this book you are stydying?

Blessings!

In His Graces~Pamela

Chris and Wanda said...

Thanks, Amy, again, for such a wonderful post. It reminded me that God does speak to me and that He has answered before and still speaks today. I am living proof that God brings His promises to pass (Christopher Daniel). And I know that I will be rooted in Kansas City and planted here like He has promised to me in scripture and my heart. I will not lose faith! Thanks for reminding me, and remember that I am still sitting at God's gates praying for you!

Love, Wanda

The Boyds Family said...

Thank you Amy! I love your Women of the Bible posts. They are always interesting and thought provoking. Beautiful. Thank you.

valerie said...

Very good post, Amy.
I recently purchased "Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shirer. We will be doing this study with the ladies of our church soon. I've been previewing the dvd's and they are so good.
I listened to one yesterday about the Holy Spirit and she did an excellent job of presenting this lesson. God speaks to each of us in different ways. He convicts each of us about different matters. I love that the more we are in relationship with Him (John 10) the more clearly we hear His voice. I am thankful that you know His voice and when others try to tell you things that go against what He says in His Word, you are not discouraged because you know His voice.
This post blessed me. You bless me, Amy. I love your blog!
Have a great weekend.
Love,
Valerie

Rachelle A Phipps said...

Hello,

I happened to stumble across your blog, in search of something more about Joanna. Two years ago God spoke to me and told me that I would have another child (3 years ago my husband had a vasectomy). Then amazingly he told me what I was to name *her*. It wasn't audibly...he just spoke to my heart. What's strange is that I had never considered the name Joanna and didn't even realize it was a Bible name. I have this book with all the names in the Bible. It tells who the people were and their story. Doubting that Joanna was a Bible name, I grabbed it and looked up Joanna. There it was in the book! :) The meaning blew me away....Joanna means "God is gracious". I almost cried!
We are military and didn't know until two weeks ago that the Army pays for reversals. When the Army does vasectomies they tell you that they don't pay for reversals. Anyway, they do, so we are waiting for a consult, which should be soon.
Today while I was doing a Bible study, I found this verse in Isaiah: Therefore the Lord WAITS to be GRACIOUS to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who WAIT for Him! Isaiah 30:18
My waiting has seemed long but I realize now that God is waiting to be gracious to us. And I am finally to that point where I am willing to wait as long as he sees fit to make me wait. Soon we will find out how long the waiting list is and I am confident that no matter how long the list is....that I will be happy to wait! :) Thank you for a little more info on this wonderful lady in the Bible! :) Rachelle

ChristiS said...

Just happened upon this while searching for information on Joanna. What a beautiful post of faith! Thank you for sharing!

Candace Morehouse said...

This is such an uplifting testimonial and a wonderful way to characterize each person's relationship with God. Thank you so much for sharing.

BTW, I ran across your blog as I was looking for Joanna's story and I also enjoy your take on her.

Marley said...

Hi Amy! Your blog post on Jonanna is still inspiring others in 2011! I found it searching about Joanna to teach a girls' Bible study in my home in India. The girls are all from Hindu or Sikh background. Later in the week I teach their moms the same lesson but with different applications.Thank you!

Joytutor said...

Hi Amy,

My name is JoAnna and I met a lady on the train yesterday who revealed to me that there was a JoAnna in the bible. My research brought me to your blog and I cried like a baby while reading through it. God has been so gracious to me and it has been my complete faith in Christ that has delivered me from adversity, doubt, fear and hopelessness. Through God's love and tender grace, I have beaten the odds and rules set on my life by other people.

Thank you for blessing me this morning.

JoAnna :)

Susy Matthew said...

Hi Amy,
My book In a Bubble of Time, a historical novel set in Judea (14 BC - 28 AD) has Joanna , wife of Chuza as one of the 2 main protagonists. I think you may like reading it as the reader can see Jesus and life in that turbulent times through her eyes. check out the live interview mentioning Joanna on www.cosmobuddies.com.

Sincerely, Susy Matthew.

jay mickster said...

I found this post by searching my name. Joanna Deborah. Im glad i had the chance.

joann.clark said...

I found this post by searching my name & I'm so glad I did. It REALLY hit home for me. Thank you & God Bless!

Esther Basey said...

Dear Amy,

I love ur post, u have given me a reason to still hold on Gods promises in my life. Am Esther from Nigeria, I was searching for the meaning of my elder sister's daughter's name "Joanna" I gave her that name when she was born but I only understood its meaning as "God's Gift" but today u have taken me deep into Faith and why I should ne proud to be a WOMAN for God despite my present situation and family struggles, God will do a great thing in our lives, He told us so Himself and He is Faithful to bring it to pass. Thanks for strengthening my Faith in Christ Jesus. May the Lord God bless u Amy. Amen

Esther from Nigeria (Calabar).