Let’s try this: Imagine five or six of the most stable, godly, faithful Christian women you know. Go ahead, name them out loud—real people with faces you can see in your mind. Now imagine they suddenly started following around some itinerant preacher who vilified the leading men of your congregation (Matt 23), taught things that seemed opposite of what you had heard all your life (Matt 5,6), and actually threw things and people out of the meetinghouse (John 2, Mark 11). Not only that, but every time he needed something, these women whipped out their checkbooks and took care of it for him. And he wasn’t even handsome (Isa 53:2). What would you think? Have they gone nuts?!!!
And it came to pass that he went about through cities and villages teaching…along with certain women who ministered to them of their substance. Luke 8:1-3
Susanna, Joanna, Mary Magdalene and others, probably Mary and Martha, and Aunt Salome, too, were those stable, godly, faithful women. “They were following Jesus,” we think, “so it was perfectly normal,” and miss the sacrifices they made and the courage they had. They were probably the topic of conversation in every home in their communities. Can’t you just hear the women gossiping, and the men mocking their husbands? “You mean he actually let’s her get away with that? Just who wears the biggest robes in his family, anyway?” They also risked being kicked out of the synagogue, which would have put an end to their social lives and maybe their economic lives as well.
Would I have been as brave? Would you? Are we that brave now, or do we find ourselves saying things like, “We need to be careful what the community thinks about us. We don’t want to be controversial. Why, they may think we’re fanatics!” There are times when you just can’t worry about what other people think.
The next time you study, remember, you are looking from only one perspective and sometimes that blinds you to things that should be obvious. Clear your mind and appreciate what these people went through, and try to be as strong and brave as they were.
And who is he that will harm you if you are zealous of that which is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’s sake, blessed are you and fear not their fear, neither be troubled, but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord, being ready always to give answer to every man who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear, having a good conscience that, wherein you are spoken against they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ. 1 Pet 3:13-16