Thursday 05 April 2018

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 Thursday 5 April 2018

Psalm: Psalm 106


There is a terrible wrongness about a mother losing a child. Quite apart from the disastrous economic consequences for this isolated widow, there is the profound anguish of a bereavement which feels contrary to the natural order, a loss where there should be support and strength. And though there were many to join the funeral crowd, long-term she faced loneliness and the struggle to survive.

Jesus’ compassion goes beyond ‘thoughts and prayers’. His words to the man’s mother, which might at first have seemed like empty comfort, are matched by his actions, in bringing the procession to a standstill and calling the man to “rise” (v. 14) (the word used by the angels to describe his own rising from death – Luke 24:5). This is a healing of the whole family unit, enabling both son and widow to take up again their places in the community for the flourishing of society as a whole.

Amazing though this is, Luke wants us to understand it more deeply. This story of healing for an Israelite family comes straight after the account of the healing of the centurion’s slave, who would have been a Gentile foreigner (Luke 7:1-10). Jesus’ healing is for anyone and everyone. Luke also flags up the direct parallel with Elijah, who raised the widow’s son at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17-24). And he follows it with a visit from disciples of John the Baptist, asking if Jesus is really “the one who is to come” (Luke 11:18-23). The point is hammered home for them and for us: if Jesus is able to heal and even raise the dead, who must he be?

It’s worth noticing that this is the first time in Luke's Gospel that Jesus is described as Lord. It’s a name associated with him after his resurrection – “the Lord has risen indeed” (Luke 24:34). This story and those which accompany it belong in the narrative stream which focuses on Jesus as Lord of life and conqueror of death. And so even where widows do not find their dead sons return to them, there is still hope in Jesus as the one in whom life finds its completion and perfection.

To Ponder

  • What situations are you aware of where it would make a difference to hear the Lord say “Do not weep”? How might you speak the Lord’s words into that situation?
  • How does it help you understand Jesus to talk about him as “a great prophet” (v. 16)? What else would you like to say about him?
Previous Page Wednesday 04 April 2018
Next Page Friday 06 April 2018