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Did Jesus have women disciples?

The Bible does not specify just how many women traveled with Jesus and his male disciples, but Luke records the names of a prominent few and mentions “many others.”  

“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.  Many of these women were helping to support [minister] them out of their own means.” (Luke 8:1-3)  

The Greek verb here in this last verse is diakoneo, “to serve, minister,” from which we get our word “deacon.” In this verse it is found in the imperfect tense, meaning continual and habitual activity in the past.  They supplied Jesus’ financial needs again and again.  Luke is recounting the typical way that Jesus’ ministry was supported.  We are told of no other supporters of Jesus’ mission than these women.  They generously met the needs of Jesus and his band out of their own family fortunes. Even though in many towns and villages there was an outpouring of hospitality, these women were consistent in their financial support.  

Jesus’ team of men and women disciples may be thought of as a picture of the spiritual church in which all are one with Christ Jesus.  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

To learn more about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus listen to, “What Does Discipleship Cost?”

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