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Reflections on the Gospel, Week Before June 9, 2013

Luke 7:11-17

Soon after healing the centurion's slave, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As 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. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, "Do not weep." Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, rise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has risen among us!" and "God has looked favorably on his people!" This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.

What I am Learning:

The messianic leader was expected to raise the dead after he restored Israel, that is after he kicked out the Romans. He would raise from the dead those who had been faithful to God, but who had died before the God’s kingdom was fully manifested on earth.

When Jesus raises this young man from the dead, he is showing a sign of his identity as messiah. But Jesus does it out of order – he raises the young man from the dead before the kingdom of God was fully realized.

It is important to remember that most first-century people did not question God’s power to raise the dead. That is not the issue in the text, although it is okay that we question it.

When a woman left her father’s house, she did not have a real protector until her first-born son came of age. Her firstborn son would take care of her. If her husband died, her first-born son would take possession of the property.

This widow’s son had died. Her property would now be taken from her. The life expectancy of a homeless widow was very brief. She is weeping for her son, her self, and the others who were dependent on her household.

When Jesus raised the young man from the dead, he not only restored him to life, but restored to life the mother and all the others who lived in that house. The expectation of the messiah that is being lived out here is “to preach good news to the poor.”

When the young man returns to his mother she and her whole household has been returned to life.

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