“God has looked favourably on his people!” (v. 16)

Luke 7:11-17 Sunday 5 June 2016

Psalm: Psalm146


The theme of the week is as old as time itself. TheBible itself begins with the story of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), describing rebellion in personal,individual terms. Then throughout the Old Testament one readsstories of both individual and national disobedience, as we willread in the book of 1 Kings this week. Yet time and again Godjudges, restores and saves. For Christians, looking at the OldTestament through the lens of Jesus and the New Testament, thisnarrative is infused with the saving love and grace of God aspersonified by Jesus himself.

Without wishing to suggest that Jesus went aroundGalilee looking for direct parallels with the Old Testament, theaccount of Jesus raising the widow's son in Nain would havereminded early Christians of other stories. One of those we willread on Friday in 1 Kings 17:8-16 when Elijah prays for thewidow's son at Zarephath; and Elisha's healing of the boy at Shunem(2Kings 4:17-37) takes place at Shunem, a short distance fromNain.

Jesus raises the boy at Nain and, as a religiousteacher, he would have been well aware of both of these well knownand oft-quoted stories about the prophets. Indeed, Jesus includesthe story of the widow in Zarephath in what is regarded as hisfirst sermon at Nazareth (Luke4:26). It is therefore little wonder that in verse 16 theawe-struck witnesses to Jesus's healing say, "A great prophet hasrisen among us. God has looked favourably on his people." Suchhealings meant that Jesus was recognised by many of hiscontemporaries as a second Elijah.

The good news for Christians is that Jesus was notsimply a prophet, but the Son of God. His ministry and mission wereabout bringing both individuals and the world back to God. Theraising of the widow's son is one example. The task of Jesus was toreconcile and heal a broken world.

"Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my Godshouldst die for me" wrote Charles Wesley in his hymn 'And can it be'.

To Ponder

  • Think of an example in national life where God's healing isneeded. What is it?
  • In your own circle of family and friends, who needs a specialhealing from God today? Offer them to God.
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