Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Compassion from Jesus (thoughts on Luke 7)

I've been slacking a bit in writing real stuff here. I know that I get to writing and end up with the LONGEST blogs, which I think just annoy people! ha ha But, it is my journal and I do plan on printing all of this out (has anyone used blurb?) to keep. . so, bear with me over the next few days. I plan on writing a few posts that are wandering around in my brain. . .one on what I've been learning through the Old Testament, Tom's point about whether or not adoption solves anything, the pull of the status of Moms and a couple other things! For now. . more thoughts on compassion.
(This is the picture they used for the slide introducing me. . my friend Whitney does the slides and photoshopped this to represent me. . funny huh?!)
This month, our service were designed a bit differently at church. We went with a panel discussion in which our Pastor invited 3 different people each weekend to study the passage and discuss it as a group on Sundays. This weekend, I got to be a part of the discussions on Luke 7:11-17. I LOVED this. I really love doing research and then spending time discussing like this. I actually picked this weekend of the month because the theme was compassion. God had started a work in me a few months ago after reading Fields about compassion and what that means.

In this passage, Jesus comes across a weeping widow whose only son had just died. He stops the woman, tells her not to cry and then raises her son from the dead and hands him back to his mother. Here are just a few of our discussion points and things that stuck out to me. (take a sec to read the passage before reading this!)

1. This was the first of 3 times that Jesus rose people from the dead and LUKE is the one who wrote about this. . .interesting since Luke was a doctor, so he was very specific about details and raising someone from the dead would have been something he would have checked out. . this adds even more validity

2. This woman was a widow, whose ONLY son was dying. One thing to note is that this may have conjured up images of his own mom, whose husband died early and who would have a son die a gruesome death soon. Remember that a widow has no options. A woman in those days couldn't own property or provide for herself in any way, so she relied on her husband. When her husband died, her children would be the ones to provide. If your children died too, you were basically screwed. It was up to random kindness from the community from there on out. This widow represents utter hopelessness and despair.

3. The sweetest thing we noticed is how Jesus tells her not to cry. This just shows us how sweet Jesus is. He knows that her tears will be unnecessary in a few minutes as He's going to raise the guy from the dead. . but he still takes her tears seriously. He cherishes her. I love this about the Lord and His compassion for us. . .remembering that compassion is about suffering with someone. I love that Emmanuel (God with us) stops to suffer with this woman for a moment before performing a miracle and giving her back her son. How precious? How Intimate? Oh if that doesn't invoke praise, I don't know what does!

4. He was interruptable. Is this a word? You see, the walk Jesus had just taken from Capernum to Nain was about a 25 mile walk. All day they had been walking. Can you imagine how tired they were? Here he had been walking with a crowd of people, most likely teaching along the way. Tired. . .spent. . .ready to be done with the day. And yet, as he approached the city gate, another crowd approached and Jesus stopped, took the time to comfort and to minister to her needs. I wonder how many in his crowd thought, "come ON, Jesus, let's get on with this. . I'm hungry, thirsty and tired. . let's move on". How many times do I see need and walk by? Especially when I'm tired or spent. . .when I have a crowd around me especially. How wonderful of Jesus and how convicting of me.

5. Compassion is about care and obedience. Jesus felt with people. He loved them and cared for them , their hearts and their pain. However, he didn't heal everyone. This is a hard concept. In that 25 mile walk, how many graveyards did he pass? How many lepers did he contact and not heal. This is a hard concept. My friend, Theresa, who was on the panel this week said that her first impression of the passage was annoyance (I love her honesty) because why did Jesus even let her son die, knowing that he'd raise him from the dead a few days later. She said that if she were Jesus, she'd want to walk around healing every person possible in the 33 short years of life. And yet, Jesus didn't. He waited, He listened to God and He obeyed. So often, our definition of compassion is about relieving suffering. This isn't always the case. . sometimes, we won't be able to do anything to relieve a person's suffering, but can comfort them, offer our presence and more. Often, we choose to guard our hearts and not offer compassion b/c we can't fix it anyways so why get involved? Instead, how about we follow Jesus' model and care and offer compassion. . and sometimes act in obedience. Always caring. . always listening to how God might choose to use us. . .always obeying whatever He calls us to, whether it be a large or small act.

I LOVE how a simple 6 verses can touch my life. How a snippet of Jesus' life can touch my very soul. How my Jesus can teach me more in His interactions with a weeping widow than I could have learned through 25 books. Oh Jesus, thank you. May I live in the compassion you have shown me. May I offer that same compassion to others. May I SEE them throughout my day to day that they may SEE you!


mommy zabs said...

I love the point. "he was interruptable" How counter culture that is for us busy mom's. Especially with my personality. When we view our days as God ordaining our step we need to give thought to the fact that his plans may detour us from our own.

Anonymous said...

That was great Brandi, thanks! Kate (Leever)

Kelly said...

So, girl... when are you enrolling in seminary?! :o) Love you!

Angel said...

SO MUCH of this is what God has been showing me too these last couple of years. So weird and cool to see it here on your blog. Hugs! Angel

Anonymous said...

That picture is awesome!!! Love it!Denise

Amy said...

The pic is so cute - you are definetly an african women trapped inside a little white girls body!

Tracy said...

Hi Brandi! You're right, Snow for Africa is a lot like Kid's Lake! I love your blog and your precious heart for Africa! So excited about your trip coming up! Awesome post! :)

lifelaughterchaos said...

love the the post.

i will have to check out blurb...never heard of it. i defintitely would love to print out my adoption blog for nevaeh!

annNEE said...

Great post, Brandi! I wish I could have been at Westwood for the series.

(I thought that picture was real at first.hehe)