With Holy Week behind us and Easter upon us, we learn more about the many people around our Lord at the end of His earthly life. There are of course the apostles and His Mother, but also some lesser-known friends. So rarely are women named in Scripture, often being identified only in terms of their husband or father, but in this case we do know the name of one of Jesus’ female friends, Joanna. Which is fortunate, as it is my daughter’s middle name!
We know St. Joanna only through Luke’s Gospel. In Chapter 8, we learn that she was the wife of a man named Chuza, who was a steward to Herod. In this brief account she, along with Mary Magdalene, a woman Susanna, and “many others”, is described as providing for Jesus out of personal resources as he traveled, preaching and healing in many villages and cities.
The other time Joanna is referenced is of course the account of Easter morning in Chapter 24. She was one of the women who arrived at the tomb with spices to prepare His body for burial, but found the stone moved and the body gone. They were confronted with two men in dazzling clothes who told them that He had Risen, and reminded them of Jesus’ own words that He would be crucified and rise again. The women left the tomb and told the apostles what they had seen and heard.
Though we know so little about her, it would seem she was a generous and devoted woman. She served our Lord in His ministry as well as after His death. In both descriptions she used her own means to provide for Him, and in return she had the honour of being one of the first people to truly understand His Resurrection.