April 16th 2020: Luke 7:11-17

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son

11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

‘A great prophet has appeared among us’ the people said. I don’t know about you but I’m not too used to seeing people raised from the dead. These days we hear about it sometimes in parts of the Church (although not so often in the Western World, interestingly). Jesus raised the son of the widow. Why? I wonder if it was because the widow needed the son, as well as to show something of the glory of God. We’re told that Jesus’s heart went out to the widow. And so he did something utterly outrageous and overcame physics and biology to restore the lost son to her, to reverse the crushing pain of the defeat of losing her precious son.

And yet the people still didn’t see him as saviour or messiah. They saw him as a great prophet, in the line of great prophets that had spread through the history of Israel.

Who are the great prophets of our day, I wonder. A very subjective question indeed and I won’t speculate here, but it feels a similar time in a lot of ways to the time in which Jesus was ministering in person on Earth. A succession of men and women come along to point us to truth, hope, justice, just enough to get through the day and often they can be a great help to a world which so often feels like it needs resetting or cheering up. Even in this very moment there is a lot of talk about the Church needing a reset. Perhaps that’s what’s happening in 2020. Whatever is really going on and whoever is speaking truth to power, speaking truth in places where it isn’t often heard, the question that springs forward to me from this reading today is, are we so distracted looking for prophets and people to change things around that we miss the very Saviour of the world walking, moving, loving and serving in our midst? I hope not.

Jesus was moved for the widow and he restored to her what was lost, broken, and healed her pain. He remained so moved that he went to the cross, through all that came with that, which most of us cannot even imagine and defeated death, moved with compassion to see wrong made right, hurt turned to healing, loss turned to love. He did it because he knew his Father’s heart was filled with compassion for us. The Father’s heart is filled with compassion for you. You might not feel it, sense it or see it, but I promise you it is true.

Something To Do

Find a way of showing compassion to someone you meet today

Something To Pray

Ask God to show you his heart for you. Don’t be alarmed if it feels overwhelming when you do. And then ask him to show you his heart for those around you. If you feel invited to move and do something for others, go to it.

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