Weekly Bible Reflection
Luke: Signs of the Kingdom
First Sunday after Trinity
Text: Luke 7.11-17 "A Double Healing"
Begin by using the Bible Study method as outlined
Have you ever been in a very insecure situation, perhaps without food, money or a roof over your head and without anyone to turn to for help?
How did it feel? Where did you find help?
A Window on the Text
The story of the widow of Nain has echoes in the Old Testament in the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarepath (1 Kings 17 8-16).
Life for a widow living in Palestine in Biblical times was often precarious. Without a husband to provide a home and ‘family’ framework for her life, she would become the responsibility of her husband’s brothers or of a grown-up son. Without that protection in a male dominated society she would be very vulnerable, even to the extent that her life expectancy could be short.
This is the reason why Jesus’ “heart goes out” to the widow of Nain, he begs her not to cry, and out of that compassion comes healing. However, it is not just healing for one person. We are told that after raising the son back to life, “Jesus gave him back to his mother”, thus giving her security of life for the foreseeable future. So, two lives are restored by Jesus in this one deed. And it is worth noting that after Elijah has brought the son of the widow of Zarepath back to life he, too, “gave him to his mother” (1 Kings 17.23).
We might also note the wider effect of both these restorations; Luke tells us that the people “were filled with awe”. The response of the woman of Zarepath is, “Now I know that you are a man of God”.
There are important social implications to both these stories. They call God’s people to care for those whose lives are lived on the margin, and remind us that care for one may reach beyond that person to others, furthermore, that the compassion, the healing and the restoration of relationships gives glory to God.
Responding as a community
- Name the widows or widowers known to you?
- What are the issues which they face in our society today?
- How might you as a community bring a degree of healing or restoration to any of them?
- Light tea lights to represent the widows and widowers know to you and name them again as you do so.
- Reflect in silence on the discussion which you have just had and ask for God’s guidance and strength as you continue to consider what action you might take.
- Pray for God’s blessing on any action which you have agreed to take.
- Say the Grace to one another.