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.

Ninteenth Sunday after Trinity 14.10.12 Mark 10.17-31

7 10 2012
Tough Love
Like so much of Mark’s gospel this passage is packed with difficult things for us to hear. Jesus is in a very uncompromising mood.  He demands from people the very last thing they want to give. He teaches that to follow in his way demands the sacrifice we don’t want to make.  There is nothing cosy here. The way is hard.  In fact ‘tough’ is probably the right word.  And yet Jesus looks at people with compassion and love.
Mark 10.17-31
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ 20He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’28 Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ 29Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’

1. What does this passage suggest about the way Jesus looked at people?

2. Why did Jesus give the answer that the young man did not want to hear?

3. What is the passage saying about money and wealth?

4. Peter’s question in  verse 28 gets a very positive answer. And yet there is a sting in the tail. How do you feel about that?