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The Compassion That Heals

• Greg Boyd

God chooses to engage us in all of our pain, division, and confusion to help us be healed. In Luke 7:11-17, Jesus demonstrates both the miraculous power and loving heart of God as he brings a widow’s only son back from the dead. Just like Jesus had tremendous compassion on the widow, we can also seek to show God’s compassion to help bring healing to others.

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In Luke 7:11-17, Jesus demonstrates the wonderful, loving heart of God. A widow had just lost her only son. In Jesus’ day, that did not place the woman in a very healthy position, socially. In 1st century Jerusalem, widows without sons were usually forced into situations of begging or even prostitution. Jesus saw the broken heart and troubling situation of the woman, and his “heart went out to her.” Jesus had compassion for the woman and her situation. From that loving heart, Jesus surprised everyone by raising the dead young man to life again, causing everyone to praise and glorify God.

Some views of God suggest that God is not really affected by the suffering of human beings. These perspectives of God argue that because God is perfect, it must mean that God doesn’t change in any way, including emotionally. However, the Bible gives us different story and perspective of God’s love! As we see in Jesus’ raising of the widow’s son to life, God’s loving character never changes, but he does have compassion and mercy. God chooses to engage us in all of our pain, division, and confusion to help us be healed from our wounds of self-centeredness. Jesus meets us right in the depth of our pain to bring us healing for this life and for the life to come. Just like Jesus had tremendous compassion on the widow, we can also seek to show compassion on others that we see in need.

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Topics: Controversial Issues, Healing, Pain & Suffering


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 7:11-17

    Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don't cry."

    Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

    They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

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