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Sunday, September 11, 2011

for Tuesday (September 13) Gospel: compassion


Scripture: Luke 7:11-17 11 Soon afterward he went to a city called Na'in, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." 14 And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." 15 And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!" 17 And this report concerning him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.



Reflections
How do you respond to the misfortunes of others? In a number of places the gospel records that Jesus was "moved to the depths of his heart" when he met with individuals and with groups of people. 

The English word "compassion" doesn't fully convey the deeper meaning of the original Hebrew word which expresses heart-felt "sympathy" and personal identification with the suffering person's grief and physical condition.

 Why was Jesus so moved on this occasion when he met a widow and a crowded funeral procession on their way to the cemetery? Jesus not only grieved the untimely death of a young man, but he showed the depth of his concern for the woman who lost not only her husband, but here only child as well. 

 The scriptures make clear that God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone (see Ezekiel 33:11); he desires life, not death. Jesus not only had heart-felt compassion for the widow who lost her only son, he also had extraordinary supernatural power – the ability to restore life and to make whole again.

 Jesus, however, as an observant Jew incurred grave risk by approaching the bier, since the Jews understood that contact with a dead body made oneself ritually impure. His physical touch, however, not only restored life but brought freedom and wholeness to soul as well as body. 

This miracle took place near the spot where the prophet Elisha raised another mother's son back to life again (see 2 Kings 4:18-37). Jesus claimed as his own one whom death had seized as its prey.

 By his word of power he restored life for a lad marked for death. Jesus is Lord not only of the living but of the dead as well. 

Jesus triumphed over the grave and he promises that because he lives (and will never die again), we also shall have abundant life with and in him both now and forever (John 14:19).

 Do you trust in the Lord Jesus to give you abundant life and everlasting hope in the face of life's trials, misfortunes, and moments of despair?

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