Sunday 06 June 2010

Bible Book:

"A great prophet has risen among us!" (v.16)

Luke 7:11-17 Sunday 6 June 2010


Today's passage is set early on in Jesus' ministry, which beganin his hometown of Nazareth. From there he journeyed to the town ofCapernaum, not far away, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. InCapernaum - the most important place in northern Galilee - hetaught the people and had healed his disciple Simon Peter'smother-in-law (Luke 4:38-39). He also performed other healings- a man with leprosy, a centurion's slave - so crowds were seekinghim out to cure their sick relatives. His teachings were beginningto cause a stir too and, at times, Jesus withdrew for a time ofsolitude on the mountainside. People were beginning to askquestions about him in their homes, with their friends andrelatives, in the market place, at the well... "Who is this?" "Whois this Jesus?"

Those who witnessed the raising of the widow's son in the town ofNain had an answer to the question...

From Capernaum Jesus, his disciples and a large crowd walked toNain. The ruins of Capernaum can be visited today. Archaeologistscan even point to what they believe to be the foundations of thehouse of Simon Peter's mother-in-law. Of Nain, however, there is notrace. All that can be said is that it was not far from Capernaumand not far from Nazareth.

As they all arrived at Nain, a funeral procession met them. Amother's only son was being carried out for burial. Jesus felt verydeeply for her. Not only was she without a husband but now her onlyson had died too. The grief of the woman we can only imagine, andshe would have probably feared for her very survival. In 1stcentury Palestine, widows had a particularly difficult time. Womenwere dependent on their husbands to care for them and for theirstatus. Without a husband a mother could hope for protection fromher son but with the loss of her only son as well she would be in avery vulnerable position. Yet Jesus tells her to dry hereyes.

Fear was the first reaction of all those who witnessed the youngman raised to life. But then came an outburst of praise and thanksto God. And what did they give thanks to God for? Jesus. They sawin Jesus a special messenger from God, a great prophet and a signof the living, loving God, 'risen' amongst them.

To Ponder

In what ways is Jesus still a great prophettoday?

What is your experience of the living God amongstvulnerable people today?

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