Fun Facts of Lent, Day Twenty-One: Female Disciples

When we talk about Jesus and his disciples, we usually refer to the 12 named male disciples that would go on to become the apostles after Jesus’s death (minus Judas, who was unavailable at the time). However the gospels indicate that many more people followed Jesus and listened to his teaching, including several named women. Unfortunately, for most of these women all we have is a name.

1) Mary, mother of Jesus – Jesus’s mother is present in several stories of his adult life, including his death on the cross

2) Mary Magdalene – a follower of Jesus, a witness to the resurrection, and very possibly the one who bankrolled the whole operation

3) Mary, sister of Martha – she ignored her chores in favor of listening to Jesus (it’s unknown if Martha followed him as well)

4) Mary, mother of James – present at the crucifixion

5) Salome – present at the crucifixion

6) Mary, wife of Clopas – present at the crucifixion

7) Joanna – her husband Chuza was an officer in Herod’s court

8) Susanna

It’s worth mentioning that there are also four named male disciples for whom we have no information, and several others that are identified by name and occupation but nothing else. So once again, the text has given us the same information about male and female characters, and history (more specifically the western church) has chosen to build out the male figures and ignore the female ones. It is some consolation to me that I don’t have to teach it this way in my Sunday School class. When we talk about the disciples, we talk about all of them.