Who Supported the Ministry of Jesus? (Luke 8:1-3)
Jesus spent approximately thirty months in His ministry going from town to town and preaching the gospel of the kingdom. He grew up as a carpenter’s son and may have supported himself through carpentry work in those younger years. Many of His disciples also traveled with Him during those three years of teaching and left their nets and fishing work to do so (Mark 1:17- 18). This begs the question: who financially supported Jesus and His disciples during their ministry?
Did Jesus perform miracles and selfishly create food and coins out of thin air? If so, how could He possibly be a human template for others who serve as ministers today and must navigate their needs in the kingdom of God? Was he bi-vocational during those three years? It seems difficult to fathom traveling through villages carrying the tools of a carpenter along the way. Furthermore, there is no mention of it in the gospels. No, instead, we find an excerpt in the gospel of Luke which helps us answer the question and provides an inspired pattern for kingdom workers and citizens today.
“Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance” (Luke 8:1-3, NKJV).
Based on this passage, Jesus and “the twelve” were supported as they “went through every city and village” by several individuals “who provided for Him from their substance” (Luke 8:1-3). These individuals, such as Joanna, were wealthy enough to help support the daily needs of food and lodging for Jesus (some have identified “Chuza, Herod’s steward” as the “nobleman” whose son was healed by Jesus in John 4:46-53). Yet, whether they were immensely rich or just willing to share the extra “substance” with Jesus they set an inspired example of our duty to the ministers of the kingdom gospel. Jesus was willing to give all for them. In return, He received from them a token of their appreciation for His work as they generously supported Him in His daily work.
Likewise, those who choose to serve in the ministry of Jesus Christ need support to enable the work. God intended for this to come from kingdom citizens who are blessed with incomes, inheritances, and lands. Those with the means to share and generously support God’s kingdom workers should willingly do so as these first supporters did. The laborers must trust God will provide their needs as they sacrifice to do His work. Those who are blessed by their work must provide for it so they may also benefit. The ministry of Jesus Christ will be hampered if no one asks the question, “who should support the ministry of Jesus?” May we learn from these notable women.