Study Guide

Gospel of Luke Chapter 7:1-17

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Chapter 7:1-17

Jesus Versus The Grim Reaper

  • After this long bout of teaching, Jesus enters Capernaum, where a military officer wants one of his slaves healed.
  • Just one problem: the officer thinks he's unworthy of having Jesus in his house. He knows that that a non-Jewish house is a source of religious pollution.
  • Besides, he's convinced that Jesus needs only to say the word for his slave to become healthy again. That's all he has to do to get his people to follow him, at least.
  • Jesus is impressed and says to the crowd following him, "Not even in Israel have I found such faith" (7:9 NRSV). These non-Jews may be unclean, but their faith evidently outpaces Israel's.
  • And… the slave is healed. Wait, Jesus didn't even say anything. Cool.
  • Next up, another city in Galilee called Nain. As Jesus & co. approach the city's gate, Jesus happens upon a funeral procession for the only child of a widow.
  • Jesus comforts the mother: "Do not weep" (7:13), and then he turns to the corpse and says, "Young man, I say to you, rise!" (7:14).
  • The corpse sits up and speaks. Hmmm, that was easy. What do you imagine he said?
  • This seriously freaks everyone out, but they're all giving God major props and are convinced that Jesus is a prophetic superstar.
  • Their assertion that God "hath visited" (KJV) or "looked favorably on" (NRSV) his people is pretty loaded.
  • Looking for a topic for a term paper? Compare this story with 1 Kings 17:17-24, where the prophet Elijah revives a widow's son, and 2 Kings 4:32-37, where the prophet Elisha also resurrects a woman's dead son. What do these allusions mean in light of Luke's gospel as a whole?

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