Tuesday 30 January 2024

Bible Book:

Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, 'A great prophet has risen among us!' and 'God has looked favourably on his people!' (v. 16)

Luke 7:11-17 Tuesday 30 January 2024

Psalm 71:1-16


Continuing from yesterday's Bible reading, Jesus is on his way to a place called Nain which lay just south of Nazareth and about a 12 hour walk from Capernaum. This story unfolds before us, as Luke reveals the scene Jesus came across as he approached the village.

As Jesus drew closer to the town gate a procession for a dead man is moving towards him. We are told that the body is being carried out and that the man's mother was there. We are also told that this mother was a widow and this was her only son. It was a desperate scene. Whenever someone dies there is sadness and grief. Here, though, was a mother who had already lost her husband and now was taking her son to be buried. This only child represented her future and her family's future. Who would look after her? Who would carry on the family name? With the death of the son came the death of a family – and a bleak future for the mother.

The scene moves Jesus. Our English translations say he felt compassion or that his heart went out to her. The Greek original is more visceral, with a meaning that he was moved in his inward parts. His very organs were impacted by what he saw. This deep feeling in his very being caused Jesus to act.

Throughout the gospels, when Jesus acts he often ignores ritual or legal boundaries. The action and response to those in need are more important to him than rules and regulations. In this instance he reaches out and touches the bier. This action would have made him unclean, as anyone who came into contact with a dead body or something a dead body had been in contact on would be deemed 'unclean' for a day. Jesus thinks nothing of this and as he stops the procession he calls out to the dead man, commanding him to get up, which he does.

The crowd were rightly overjoyed and amazed by this act of compassion they witnessed. They proclaimed that a great prophet was among them and that God was here to help his people.


To Ponder:

  • Can you think of a time when someone's deep compassion or empathy for you or others has had a profound impact?
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