Saturday 01 August 2015

Bible Book:

“When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’” (v. 13)

Luke 7:11-17 Saturday 1 August 2015

Psalm: Psalm 56


It would be possible to be distracted into spending timeconsidering the centuries of debate about miracles. However, itseems more important to me to remember that in those days it wasexpected that the best of the travelling preachers or Rabbis wouldprove themselves, as it were. So the stories of wonderful signs, ofhealings and other miracles, including the raising of the dead,were very common. The question for today's readers is to ask whatit tells them about Jesus, and only then to wonder what it mightmean for a life of faith.

The differences that are offered in the telling of the storiesabout this travelling preacher frequently have a great deal toreveal about who he is. One of the differences that is offered inthis case is that Jesus seems more concerned about the bereavedwoman than the dead man.

It is important to recognise how needy the life of a widow withno other support could be. She might not even have a home now heronly son is dead, unless she has another relative who is preparedto offer that to her. She would almost certainly have no income,again unless some relative was prepared to put themselves out forher. The law was very clear that a devout Jew would support 'thewidow and the orphan and the alien' (eg Deuteronomy 10:18; 27:19) - ie those in most need and unable tosupport themselves. But it is also clear in the Gospels and inother Scripture stories that this law was frequently notfollowed.

It would also be very unusual for any man to address a woman,particularly in public. So, when Jesus speaks first to her and,having raised the young man gives him to his mother (verse 15), thewriter is not simply underlining the strength of Jesus' compassion.The reader is being invited to recognise a new interpretation ofthe law, and a new way of being, especially as even touching thedead would have been regarded as making Jesus unclean. And thepeople see this as an act of God.

To Ponder

  • Who do you consider to be in most need in your own communityand in the wider world?
  • What might compassion for them require of you?
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