Susanna: Disciple of Jesus
By studying disciples like Susanna, Joanna, Salome and more, we discover more about what it must have been like to participate in this movement with Jesus in a culture that rejected God's ideas of liberating women.
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Susanna, Disciple and Supporter of Jesus
Susanna was a disciple of Jesus that followed him from Galilee, witnessing his ministry and learning from him alongside the twelve and many others
We don’t know much about Susanna unfortunately, but scholars agree she was likely a woman of means from the upper class of society who chose to support Jesus with her own finances. The name Susanna was unusual in her time, which is likely why the gospel writer didn’t specify who she was with a surname, or with connection to another relation.
Women like Susanna and the other disciples embraced their gifts in the early church, and the result was a revolutionary movement that stoked the fire of Christianity.
The Greco-Roman and Jewish culture of Susanna’s time was society that embraced an honor/shame ideology that worked against women. It reinforced the silencing and subordination of women of all classes, however the Christian church did just the opposite.
The church is where women were invited to be active members and impactful leaders.
They put their identity as women of God before the identity of the culture that had previously defined them and relegated them to domestic spheres alone.
Jesus & His Disciples
Jesus had many female followers and did not shy away from their company.
Jesus was not a follower of the “Billy Graham rule” and he did not separate men from women in their value as disciples.
Jesus did not place the responsibility on his female disciples to bear the burden of the suspicion of others.
He and his teaching were accessible to all those who followed him.
Jesus’ kindness to women he encountered in his ministry was transformative for Christian women’s roles in society.
He had deeply meaningful connections with women like Mary and Martha of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, Salome, Joanna and Susanna and many more disciples whose names remain unknown.
He took special care to go out of his way to heal and include the ritually unclean women and tend to their very personal and sometimes very sensitive needs.
Jesus & Way More Than 12 Disciples
We do not know the total number, but it was certainly way more than 12.
In Luke 10 Jesus sends out 70 or 72 depending on the translation. How many were male and how many were female? Is it possible that they were equal in number or even that the female disciples could have outnumbered the men? We just don’t know. But we can be sure the crowd of his disciples who traveled with Jesus was incredibly diverse and women were leaders among them (Acts 1:13-14).
When you picture Jesus with his disciples is it just him with the 12?
How does it change your perception of Jesus’ ministry when you imagine the number of disciples to be closer to 100 than 12?