Do you rememer the lyrics from the song Oh Susanna? Stephen Foster wrote the song back in 1847. I really don’t remember where I heard the song as I was growing up, but I know I heard it somewhere. Well today I want to talk about Susanna, but not the lady from Alabama. The Susanna that I want I want to highlight on is the Susanna that we read about in scripture in the New Testament. She is only mentioned once in scripture, but let see what scripture says about her.
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. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. Luke 8:1-3
One of the things that we see about her is that she was either demon possessed or had an incurable disease. We know that she had an encounter with Christ. She was set free from a stronghold and then followed Christ and the twelve disciples, helping support the ministry of Christ through her own means. We really don’t know what type of means Susanna had, but whatever she had she was willing to use it to help promote the kingdom of God. Some great things that I see revealed in her life is:
#1 She was a woman that overcame a huge obstacle in her life through the healing power of Christ. The difficulty in those who struggle with a life controlling problem is that they have to cope with the sickness until they receive the healing. My mother in law lives with me and has a chronic illness and everyday she must overcome the pain and limitations she has due to this illness. We continue to believe and wait for the healing, but waiting can be difficult. Susanna overcame limitations in her life until the healing power of Christ came. This gives all of us who are waiting on our healing great hope.
#2 Susanna was totally surrender to Christ and willing to give of herself to help proclaim the kingdom of God. We live in a culture today that expects the pastoral leadership to do the work of church while everyone else watches. We call this the consumer mentality. This was not the case for Susanna, she was serving and giving her time, energy and whatever she may of had to support the ministry of Christ. Many of us think about Jesus’ leadership team being mainly the twelve disciples, but Christ had a huge support leadership team, like Susanna who enabled Him to minister. They helped prepare their conference meetings, where they were going to stay and much more.
#3 I already said this, but I want to make sure we don’t neglect to understand that Susanna gave of her own means. She managed her resources well and gave what she had to make sure that the ministry of Christ could have the resources needed to continue. I know in the back of minds we are saying to ourselves that Jesus didn’t need Susanna’s support, Jesus could have made food and any other supplies needed to just appear as he spoke them to life. I would agree that he could have done this on a regular basis, but that would have been a disservice he would have done to his twelve disciples, if he choose to raise up his core ministry team without teaching them the value of the body of Christ. We all have different giftings and talents to edify and build each other up. I have to believe that Christ encouarged his beleivers to operate according to the giftings and function in accordance to his teaching about the body of Christ.
I know it is so easy to pass by the gospel of Luke and not give attention to Susanna, but when we do this, we neglect to see the need that each of us have for Christ to take care of our needs and enable us to be the church. An active church that brings life giving change through Christ as we come in contact with people in our everyday life.