Tuesday 19th March – Luke 7:11-17 ‘His heart went out’

Luke 7:11-17

It’s easy to get into the habit of reading something into all of Jesus’ actions: he says this because…. he does this because….  And that’s all well and good, Jesus usually does have a bigger picture in mind – he is, after all, the Son of God!  But there is a risk to over-analysing: we can get so caught up with the ‘big picture’ that Jesus starts to appear more like a military strategist or a marketing guru – carefully lining up all his ducks to fulfil the mission of the kingdom.

Sometimes we read a story and the best response is just to marvel at his glorious compassion for people like you and me.  Today’s story is a case in point – on the face of it, there’s nothing unique here.  It’s not a unique place: Nain is a village in Galilee eight miles south of Nazareth, so familiar territory.  It’s not a unique encounter: Jesus raises others from the dead (the little girl, Lazarus). 

There are striking details, but again not unique: he touches the coffin, which would make him unclean according to the regulations – just as touching the leper did in chapter 5.  Likewise, the people’s response in v16 – ‘God has come to help his people’ – seems deliberately to echo Zechariah’s prophetic song (1:68), thereby fulfilling the expectations which accompanied Jesus’ birth; but it’s not an exact match, so we can’t be totally sure.

Ultimately, none of that is the point.  What matters here is exactly what is written on the page: it’s the story of Jesus’ encounter with a person in need, and how he met her at her point of need.  What matters is what it tells us about Jesus’ heart of compassion for a hurting world.  When Jesus saw the funeral procession, ‘his heart went out to her’ (v13).

For all the demands on his time and energy, Jesus still kept seeing the world with God’s eyes of compassion. His heart broke for one person – and he met with that person and changed her life.

This is how Jesus feels about you, too.  His heart is big enough to encompass every person – he doesn’t just look at the mass of humanity with compassion: he looks at you with compassion.  So, today, offer your troubles to him, and receive his love.  Let him wipe your tears and soothe your mind – because you matter to him.