Second Sunday after Trinity 9.6.13 Luke 7.11-17

2 06 2013

Compassion in Action

Jesus’ journey continues and we are given a detailed account of an important incident. People notice. Word gets out…. This is exciting.

Luke 7.11-17

Soon afterwards Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. 13When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ 14Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’ 15The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen among us!’ and ‘God has looked favourably on his people!’ 17This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.


To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. How far is it from Capernaum to Nain?
  2. What, precisely, is your understanding of compassion?
  3. In v 13 Jesus is described as ‘the Lord’. Later he is described as a prophet?  What’s the difference – and how are things developing?

Heart Questions

  1. What sort of situation is most likely to draw a response of compassion from you?
  2. Does it matter that Jesus touched the bier?
  3. The emotional response to the miracle was fear. How surprising do you find this?

Hand Questions

  1. Is God inviting you to notice some local sadness and feel compassion?
  2. Is it conceivable that there might be way for you to reunite a mother and a son?
  3. See v 17. How might you be better able to spread the word?


These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you.  That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands.  Take your time.




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