SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST | June 10, 2007
1 Kings 17:17-24
Psalm 30 (Ps. 30:2)
1 Kings 17:8-16 (17-24)
Psalm 146 (Ps. 146:8)
1a. TEXT: Luke 7:11-17
Lk. 7:11 Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large
crowd went with him.
Lk. 7:12 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.
Lk. 7:13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, "Do not
Lk. 7:14 Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, rise!"
Lk. 7:15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Lk. 7:16 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!"
Lk. 7:17 This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.
1b. CONTEXT: Luke 7:11-17
The account of the raising of the widow's son is form the special "L" source. It shares many similarities with the Elijah story in 1 Kings 17:17-24. The story follows the healing of the centurion's slave and leads up to Jesus' reply to the disciples of John the Baptizer, "the dead are raised up" (Luke 7:22).
The story gives witness to the fulfillment of the prophesies in the Songs of Mary,
Zechariah and Simeon and the Isaiah prophecy in Luke 4:18,19 in the person of Jesus. He is the one Israel has hoped for. The Lucan theme of mercy and compassion for the poor, women and all marginalized persons is developed.
2. ANALYSIS: Luke 7:11-17
Luke 7:13 - And when the Lord aw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do
not weep." - ho kyrios - Among the gospels, this title appears only in Luke, as mentioned elsewhere in this volume of LEXEGETE. The title is introduced her and reflects a later Christological understanding of Jesus' identity.
Lk. 7:13 - esplagchnisthei - to have compassion - The theme of compassion is developed here. It was the through the tener splagchna of God that Jesus was sent to preach the good news (Luke 1:78,79). One's innermost being, bowels, are moved with pity and mercy. This is the feeling of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) and the father of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Luke helps us realize the compassion and mercy God pours out to all who fear him and especially to the poor, lost, the broken.
Lk. 7:13 - do not weep - The beatitudes are here coming alive...."Blessed are you who weep
now for you shall laugh" (Luke 6:21b).
Lk. 7:14 - And he came and touched the bier - heipsato - Touching the dead resulted in
ceremonial uncleanness for Jewish priests, those who had been anointed to serve God
(Lev. 21:11,22:4f.). Jesus ignores this concern about purity in touching the bier. He is
willing to touch and be touched by the "untouchables." (See 5:13, the leper; 6:19, the
crowd; 8:43f., the woman with the flow of blood; 7:36;f., the woman who anoints his feet;
18:15, the infants; 22:51, the slave's ear).
Lk. 7:16 - Fear seized them all and they glorified God saying, "A great prophet has risen
among us!" and "God has visited his people!" - fear - phobos- This is similar to the fear
experienced by the shepherds when the angel appeared to them and announced the birth
of Christ. "Fear" is an awareness of God which leads to glorifying God. "Fear" is the
attitude of humility Jesus invites his followers to in the parable of the pharisee and the tax
collector (187:9-14). As Mary proclaimed, "his mercy is on those who fear him."
Lk 7:16 - great prophet - In the Elijah story (1 Kings 17:17-24) after the prophet restores
life to the widow's son she remarks, "Now I know that you are a man of God." The
miracle pointed to the authority of the prophet and the authenticity of his message. In
calling Jesus a "great prophet," the bystanders link Jesus to the prophets of old: Moses,
Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jonah, et alia. Jeus is authenticated, sent by God to communicate the
invitation to repentance and God's love and mercy. But Jesus more than parallels the
prophets of old (see Luke 4:25-27). In the person of Jesus many will be raised from the
dead (7:22;8:54,55). Many lepers will be cleansed (5:12f.; 17:11-19). The greater number
of healings indicates that Jesus is greater than the prophets. He is the one of whom the
prophets foretold (24:44f.).
Lk. 7:16 - God has visited his people - As predicted by the prophets and lauded by
Zechariah (1:68), "the Lord has visited and redeemed his people." God has come to look
after and care for his people. In coming Jesus demonstrates God's concern and
responsibility for humanity.
3. STRATEGY: Luke 7:11-17
Several approaches could be taken in exploring this text in a sermon:
a) RECOGNIZING OUR LORD:
If Jesus came to us today, would we know to be the Lord, the Christ?
One way we might be able to identify Jesus is through Scripture. Knowing what the
prophets foretold about him would help us to recognize him. If we are weak in our
understanding of Scripture, Jesus would help us by pointing out passages which point to who he is. We might recognize him through what he does, his actions, or what he teaches. If we are humble and fear God, then Jesus will be able to make himself known to us.
b) THE POWER OF TOUCH:
Jesus has shown us the importance and power of touch in our daily lives. Touch
communicates our love and our concern for others. Touch demonstrates our presence
with others. As the AIDS (HIV) epidemic continues to spread and reach into more amd
more of our relationships, our willingness to touch the victims and the infected will convey our presence and God's in ways that words and prayers cannot.
c) REACHING OUT:
What a tremendous feeling it must have been for the bystanders to realize that God
has visited his people. What an awareness of God's concern and sense of responsibility for them. They counted for something, were valuable in God's eyes. God had not forgotten them. In parish visiting we demonstrate our concern for the health and wellbeing of others. We communicate their importance to us (and God) by visiting with them.
Each of these three main themes offers a special message of value and importance to the whole people of God. The hymns suggested in the following section were selected to amplify and underscore these themes.
4. MUSIC SUGGESTIONS: Luke 7:11-17
a) Recognizing our Lord:
O LOVE, HOW DEEP, HOW BROAD, HOW HIGH (HB 448/9);
CALL ON THEE, LORD JESUS CHRIST (HB 634);
COME, LET US WITH OUR LORD ARISE ( HB 49);
O BLESS THE LORD, MY SOUL! (HB 411);
THINE ARM, O LORD, IN DAYS OF OLD (HB 567);
0 FOR A THOUSAND TONGUES TO SING (HB 493);
FROM THEE ALL SKILL AND SCIENCE FLOW (HB 566).
b) The power of touch:
CHRIST, WHOSE GLORY FILLS THE SKIES (HB 6/7);
THERE'S A WIDENESS IN GOD'S MERCY (HB 469/70);
JESU,JESU (HB 602, Ghanaian folk song);
WHERE CROSS THE CROWDED WAYS OF LIFE (HB 609);
HOW SWEET THE NAME OF JESUS SOUNDS (HB 644).
c) Reaching out:
LORD OF ALL HOPEFULNESS (HB 482);
I N CHRIST THERE IS NOT EAST OR WEST (HB 529);
LEAD US, HEAVENLY FATHER (HB 559);
LORD,MAKE US SERVANTS OF YOUR PEACE (HB 593);
LORD, WHOSE LOVE THROUGH HUMBLE SERVICE (HB 610);
HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION (HB 636).
5. A NOTE ON THE DAY OF SAINT BARNABAS (JUNE 11):
Propers for this observance are much the same in most lectionaries,
and for all three years of the sequence. In both the Book of Common Prayer and the Lutheran Book of Worship, these include:
Psalm - 112
Lesson - Isaiah 42:5-12
Epistle - Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3
Gospel - Matthew 10:7-16
In the Gospel for this occasion, Jesus sends out his disciples to do as he has done (Matthew
Barnabas and Paul are commissioned and sent our for ministry in Acts 13:3. Paul
and Barnabas develop relationships with those they preached to and taught. They have a desire to visit those churches which they founded (Acts 15:36). In there visiting Paul and Barnabas manifest the concern and responsibility for reaching out, which was mentioned above as theme (c) in the Proper 5 Gospel.
Thus one approach for this day would be to address the occasion not merely by
rehearsing the story of Barnabas, but expanding it to include the missionary outreach and church-building which Barnabas, Paul, you and I can engage in down to the present. Thus this day could be a great celebration of the church's mission in the contemporary scene, addressing a wide range range of important global, spiritual, human concerns.
Exegete – Rev. Dr. Lance B. Almeida †
The late Reverend Doctor Lance B. Almeida, of Millinocket, Maine, beloved husband of
Alison Almeida, was ordained October 12, 1985, and received his doctor of ministry from Bangor Theological Seminary in 1997. He was elected to the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine and later served as its president. Father Lance was rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Millinocket, for 15 years. He was a chaplain at Millinocket Regional Hospital, a member of the hospital's Public Information Committee, a member of the Drug and Alcohol Team at Stearns High School and a member of the Katahdin Area Coalition. He was a hospice volunteer, enjoyed being an AARP tax preparer and played golf, bridge and tennis. We were privileged to serve with Fr. Lance while he was at St. John’s in Fall River, MA. He Lance is much missed by his family, friends, colleagues and parishioners.
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