Wednesday 03 February 2021

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 Wednesday 3 February 2021

Psalm 71:1-16


The Bible passage today is set in Nain, which is about five miles south-east of Nazareth. Jesus’ reputation as a healer had been building up and he now has a great crowd following him. As Jesus approaches the gate of Nain they come across a crowd of mourners accompanying a widow who has lost her only son. Losing her husband and her son leaves the woman in a very vulnerable position. She is poor and without a male protector; she is destitute.

Luke tells us that Jesus has compassion for the woman as he recognises her situation and Luke names Jesus as the ‘Lord', which is a statement of faith in the Messiahship of Jesus. The word 'compassion' derives from Latin and means ‘to suffer with’. The love of the Father for Jesus, and Jesus’s returning love of the Father spills over into an overflow of love and Jesus’s capacity to care.

Experiencing God’s love enlarges the human heart and our ability to ‘suffer with’ others. The ‘faith’ in this story comes from Jesus, rather than the widow or her associates. He knows God’s purposes of life and love for this destitute woman. When Jesus touches the bier, he is disregarding Jewish ceremonial purity rites. But the demands of love are to reach out and touch and Jesus obeys his internal authority, fulfilling the needs of love. Jesus manifests God’s power to give life and to restore life. Powers belonging to God alone. He heals with a word that fulfils its purpose.

The response from the crowd of witnesses is ‘fear’ which could be interpreted as ‘awe’. They recognise the authoritative power of God at work and glorify God, even as they are terrified to see such power at work. The text says the crowds glorified God, rather than Jesus. They see God’s hands in the actions of Jesus. They recognise him as a great prophet. The dead man restored to life restores the widow to her position in the community.

To Ponder:

  • Recall a time when someone reached out to you in compassion at a time when you felt powerless to reach out to God or anyone else. What did you learn?
  • Recall a time when you were unexpectedly touched with compassion for someone, which empowered you to reach out to them. What did you learn through your involvement?
  • If you had been Jesus would you have touched the bier knowing it contravened Jewish purification rites and would be problematic for the Jewish elders? What are your reasons?
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