Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost
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11 Soon afterward he went to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him.
12 As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her.
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep."
14 And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise."
15 And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother.
16 Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!"
11 Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ἑξῆς ἐπορεύετο εἰς πόλιν καλουμένην Ναΐν· καὶ συνεπορεύοντο αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἱκανοὶ καὶ ὄχλος πολύς. 12 ὡς δὲ ἤγγισε τῇ πύλῃ τῆς πόλεως, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐξεκομίζετο τεθνηκὼς υἱὸς μονογενὴς τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ αὕτη ἦν χήρα, καὶ ὄχλος τῆς πόλεως ἱκανὸς ἦν σὺν αὐτῇ. 13 καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὴν ὁ Κύριος ἐσπλαγχνίσθη ἐπ᾿ αὐτῇ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ· μὴ κλαῖε· 14 καὶ προσελθὼν ἥψατο τῆς σοροῦ, οἱ δὲ βαστάζοντες ἔστησαν, καὶ εἶπε· νεανίσκε, σοὶ λέγω, ἐγέρθητι. 15 καὶ ἀνεκάθισεν ὁ νεκρὸς καὶ ἤρξατο λαλεῖν, καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτὸν τῇ μητρὶ αὐτοῦ. 16 ἔλαβε δὲ φόβος πάντας καὶ ἐδόξαζον τὸν Θεόν, λέγοντες ὅτι προφήτης μέγας ἐγήγερται ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ὅτι ἐπεσκέψατο ὁ Θεὸς τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ.
Larger Thought Unit
The larger unit at the beginning of chapter 7 includes today’s pericope (found only in Luke) which serves as an introduction to the questions coming from the disciples of John the Baptist regarding Jesus as the “coming one.” The Gentile Centurion’s unwavering faith and confession is similar to that of Peter’s earlier in chapter 5. With the raising of the widow’s son, Luke is clearly showing Christ as the coming one referred to in Isaiah and in the Elijah/Elisha cycle of miracles.
Chapter 7 starts with two pericopes implementing the command of being merciful as God is (see the last’s Sunday reading Lk 6:31-36). In the first (Lk 7:1-10) we see Jesus having mercy on a centurion’s son, whom he heals, and here on a widow’s son, whom he resurrects. In both cases, the underlying element is the power of Jesus’ word: “For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (v.8); “And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’” (v.14b). As such, both pericopes introduce Jesus’ teaching about prophecy and God’s power being enacted through a messenger who carries His ‘word’ (vv.24-28), whether it is John the Baptist or Jesus (vv.31-35). Thus the essential thing for us is to put our trust in God’s teaching as set in the scriptures. Otherwise, even raising someone from the dead, as Jesus does here, will be of no avail: “He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.’” (16:31) Indeed, “God visits his people” when “a prophet arises among us” (7:16) and a prophet is someone who repeats God’s words as they stand in the scriptures (vv.22-23).
Paul Nadim Tarazi, New Testament Introduction, Vol.2: Luke and Acts, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 2001; p.64.