Are we Pondering Our Compassionate Shepherd? Considering or Recognizing the ‘Reasonable’ Christian? Luke 7:13-14

Luke 7:11-17Amplified Bible

11 Soon afterward Jesus went to a city called Nain [near Nazareth], and His disciples and a large crowd accompanied Him. 12 Now as He approached the city gate, a dead man 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 [in the funeral procession]. 13 When the Lord saw her, He felt [great] compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 And He came up and touched the bier [on which the body rested], and the pallbearers stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise [from death]!” 15 The man who was dead sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 Fear and profound awe gripped them all, and they began glorifying and honoring and praising God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited His people [to help and care for and provide for them]!” 17 This news about Him spread through all of Judea and in all the surrounding countryside.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

The divine image, which every single human being bears as a result of God’s indescribable and undeniable benevolence at creation, attracts us to the Divine.

Human beings are religious by nature and in order to fully realize themselves as human beings they have to be and live out the divine qualities instilled in each of them by the Creator of their Life, Author of their Life, Redeemer of their Life.

The opposite is often the case when human actions are critically evaluated.

One of the divine qualities, which we ought to acquire and practice in order to enhance good human relationship, is compassion.

This singular divine feature characterized Jesus earthly ministry in words and deeds.

In this Narrative text, the writer Luke, focuses on an episode in the life of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospel according to Luke 7: 11-17.

The man Rabbi Jesus walked into a dire situation, he had compassion on the widow who lost her only son; he consoled and restored her son back to her.

In following upon Jesus’ footsteps, demonstrating His radical counter-cultural compassion we can make our world better, be able to bear and live with others.

Instantly upon walking into this situation, Jesus made an instant assessment of all the other’s needs, Jesus’ heart went out to this woman who was left all alone.

While many rightfully, righteously grieved and mourned with her upon the loss of her only son, the man, Rabbi Jesus’ heart was touched, longed to comfort her.

His heart was full of indescribable and undeniable compassion.

He could say what no one else could say: “Don’t cry!” 

Most of us can only cry with those who have lost loved ones.

Only Jesus can wipe away our tears.

Jesus is touched by our loss, moved to compassion by our mortal limitations.

That’s why he came to earth.

We can be blessed and we can be assured He feels our losses in the same way.

Psalm 103:11-14English Standard Version

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;[a]
    he remembers that we are dust.

When we cry in grief, we do not cry alone.

The coming of the kingdom of God was not heralded by spectacular and dramatic victories over the powers and authorities of the world but through something much more transformative: the great compassion of its King.

Throughout their accounts of Jesus, the Gospel writers present us with encounter after encounter demonstrating Christ’s unparalleled compassion.

In these incidents, Christ’s power is revealed as His compassion is extended.

In chapter 7 of his Gospel, for instance,

Dr. Luke highlights Jesus’ compassionate response to a sorrowful widow—a response which hopefully, prayerfully, clears any doubts about His greatness.

The woman in this part of Luke’s narrative was in true need. Her husband was already gone, and now her son had just died.

In an ancient Middle-Eastern society, this meant that she had no means of protection or provision.

She faced a life of sadness, loneliness, and precariousness—and then the end of the family line.

But then Jesus entered into the extremity of this woman’s life, and “when the Lord saw her, instantly had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’”

All it took to arouse the compassion of our tender Shepherd was seeing this grieving woman.

Literally, that word “compassion” means “His bowels moved”—our equivalent would be “His stomach churned.”

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When Jesus, through whom and for whom all things were created, sees sadness and grief in this broken world, He feels it and He feels it DEEPLY!.

Here is a King who cares deeply.

Even more beautiful is that Jesus had the power to meet this widow’s need, and so He chose to do something only He could do: to bring the dead back to life.

He didn’t just restore a deceased son alive again to a mourning mother and thereby meet her need and obliterate her grief, though.

More importantly, Jesus revealed Himself to the crowd (and to us!) in all of His power, grace, mercy, lovingkindness, authority—even authority over death.

Scenes such as this show us that Jesus doesn’t simply comment on or cry over sickness and death, those great enemies of mankind.

He overcomes them.

He hears the cries of the sorrowful, He comforts them, not only in an earthly, temporal sense but also in a final, perfect, and eternal way, by offering Himself as the only true and genuine means of salvation to all who confess and believe.

Your King is not merely infinitely powerful; He is infinitely compassionate.

And note the combination of those two qualities in Him is sufficient to bring you through every single sadness and every single grief of this world, until you and I stand in His amazed presence and He wipes every last tear from our eyes.

Now, what should we say and how should be address, what should be connect others with about a “reasonable” human response to such a magnitude of love?

Philippians 4:4-7Amplified Bible

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Philippians 4:5 English Standard Version– THE REASONABLE CHRISTIAN

Let your reasonableness[a] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

“They will know you by your love.”

This saying is often used in the church as we talk of reaching others for Jesus.

This is taken from the famous verses in John 13:34-35.

A question we need to ask ourselves though is, “What does this love look like?”

It is reasonable for us to surmise that it can be helping those around us, giving of ourselves, our time, resources to the needy, or just lending an ear or lending our quieting presence to someone as they just “desire someone to be near by.”

But, what if showing love meant being a reasonable person?

The Greek word for “reasonable” can also be translated to the word “gentle” with its definition: seemly, equitable, yielding.

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Does this sound like someone you have come to know an deeply trust?

Is this one person you claim to know and trust so thoroughly – actually YOU?

Aren’t we called to be strong in our stances and to not bend in what we believe?

The answer is yes!!

But we can do it in a reasonable manner.

Too many times Christians can be looked at as a hard headed, divisive group of bickering snarky people who want argue with everyone they don’t agree with.

You know, that guy or gal who wants to always argue, never compromising and is never wrong and who has about as much compassion, mercy and forgiveness as the specks of dust on top of their bookshelves loaded down with 1000 Bibles.

I know I am definitely guilty of being one of those people at times.

We are never going to change people by belittling their views and putting them down, never seeking to find, till, seed, that reasonable piece of common ground.

We are, however, definitely going to win them over with the same measure of love, uncompromising compassion Jesus revealed to everyone at that funeral when we reasonably meet their grief, and lovingly show them Christ’s mercy.

Our reasonable, unreasonable arguments don’t and won’t change reasonable or unreasonable people, the infinitely reasonable Jesus reasonably changes people.

Beloved Child of God, God has absolutely seen your tears.

He has absolute compassion on you.

He will absolutely and reasonably respond to your needs,

He will absolutely and reasonably help you,

He will absolutely and reasonably strengthen you.

He will absolutely change your dead situation to life and celebration!

Today ….

In this point of uncompromising fact, in this exact and exacting moment ….

In these coming days and weeks ahead, challenge yourself and someone else …

How has God, in Savior Christ Jesus, been reasonably compassionate with you?

How have you been a reasonably ‘reasonable’ compassionate Christian today?

Where have you been a reasonably ‘reasonable’ compassionate Christian today?

Were you a reasonably ‘reasonable’ compassionate Christian yesterday? Why Not?

Why were you a reasonably ‘reasonable’ compassionate Christian today?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us gather as reasonable Christians and Let us together Pray ….

God of the Helpless, I know that You want Your children to show compassion for those less fortunate. I know this, but I have failed to help others as You would like me to. I know there are so many in need of kindness, Lord. Please open my heart and fill it with Your compassion for Your creation. Please guide me on how I should reach out to each of my neighbors, as Jesus did for the widow and that grieving and mourning community at that funeral and live love for the less fortunate for Your glory. Amen.

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Do We Ponder or even Recognize our own Desire for HIS Vastly Better Life? Genesis 50:22-25.

Genesis 50:22-25Amplified Bible

Death of Joseph

22 Now Joseph lived [remained] in Egypt, he and his father’s household, and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years. 23 Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children; also the children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born and raised on Joseph’s knees. 24 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up out of this land to the land which He promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob [to give you].” 25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel (Jacob) swear [an oath], saying, “God will surely visit you and take care of you [returning you to Canaan], and [when that happens] you shall carry my bones up from here.”

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

As near as I can calculate, roughly 65 years of Joseph’s later life are summarized by Genesis 50 verse 22: “Joseph lived [remained] in Egypt…..”

Presumably, these were quieter times than the recorded drama of his early days.

But these 65 “remaining” years are definitely not to be considered pointless.

Considering these “remaining” years in the life of Joseph causes us to reflect:

Whatever age we are in this exact moment, we must ask ourselves; “What, Who, are we living for? What are we planning to do with the time God has given us?”

It’s far too easy to spend our lives chasing earthbound horizons such as career success, financial stability, or comfortable luxuries.

The myths of these things is seductive: life is about slaving at your job as long as you can in order to build, edify, add on to the nest in which you plan to settle down—that the most essential purpose of life is to prepare for our retirements.

Just at the point when believers are often in a position—financially, physically, emotionally, socially—to free up that incredibly elusive amount of time to serve God’s kingdom, they start to talk “just wanting a period of rest, hibernation.”

As devoted, obedient and steadfast followers of our Lord, Savior and King Jesus, we must ‘minimize our footprint’, to not live as though this world is all there is.

John 3:28-30 admonishes and teaches us we have a humble, limited role in life.

“28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I stated, ‘I am not the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ but, ‘I have [only] been sent ahead of Him [as His appointed forerunner and messenger to announce and proclaim His coming].’  29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands by and listens to him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this pleasure and joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase [in prominence], but I must decrease.

Yet some of us cannot, will not say with integrity, “There is more than just this life,” because everything we are doing with our time, talents, and money seems to be saying, “This is it! Done! That’s why I am working up to 60 hours a week.”

“That’s why I don’t come home or take a vacation.”

“That’s why I missed church again last Sunday.”

“That’s why I don’t make time and take risks to serve and to share the gospel with my neighbors.”

“Because this is it.”

Being “my working myself into the grave for a lifetime of rust worthy material things which I can never hope to ‘stuff into my coffin’ to take with me anyway.”

It is wonderful thing to have a dynamic, hard core, faith-filled, vibrant and unwavering faith when we are in the center of a whirlwind of a battle; it’s a whole new challenge to live a life of steady obedience through daily routine.

For a life to be well spent—especially as it relates to our resources and legacy—we must consider not just what we want in life but what we ought to do with life.

We need a vision of the heavenly horizon.

Joseph had a purpose for his life and for those final, quieter years.

His vision was set for a time and place and ‘life’ beyond the borders of Egypt.

He was neither centered or focused on himself; he was responsible for ensuring his children and his children’s children did not settle down too comfortably in Egypt but instead remained unsettled enough so they would be more desirous of a significantly better life and might truly settle one day in the promised land.

24 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up out of this land to the land which He promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob [to give you].” 25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel (Jacob) swear [an oath], saying, “God will surely visit you and take care of you [returning you to Canaan], and [when that happens] you shall carry my bones up from here.”

Joseph said to his brothers:

“but God will surely take care of you and bring you up out of this land which He promised to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob [to give you.]”

then Joseph made the sons of Israel (Jacob) to swear [an oath] saying to future generations – God will surely visit you and God will surely take care of you and surely be returning you to Canaan – the promised land – God WILL do all this!

God turned an early life of great life threatening negativity, given him peace, prestige, and prosperity in Egypt—everything that so many of us chase today.

Yet he had always kept his eyes and his soul and heart, looking beyond Egypt.

He truly knew Egypt was not where he, or any of God’s people, truly belonged.

The man, Master Rabbi Jesus, communicated this, his “last will and testament” to His disciples in the Upper Room during those fateful final hours of his life:

John 14:1-3Amplified Bible

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

14 “Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.

Apostle Paul would, just several years later, would echo the very same thought:

Philippians 3:12-14Amplified Bible

12 Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on [a]so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. 13 [b]Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Joseph knew by his steadfast and immovable faith that he was not yet home!

The man, Master Rabbi Jesus knew we were not yet home – Just believe on Him!

Apostle Paul knew, communicated – we can live with eternity deep in our souls.

We too must live in such a prophetic way that we help our loved ones and our own hearts to “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).

Whatever you have or do not have ‘rusting away’ today, you are not yet home.

John 10:9-10Amplified Bible

I am the Door; anyone who enters through Me will be saved [and will live forever], and will go in and out [freely], and find pasture (spiritual security). 10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].

There is absolutely abundantly more, absolutely, abundantly better, than this.

Be sure that your abundance of time, talents, and money reflect that knowledge.

This place called planet earth is not, was never meant to be, our forever home!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Lord, my teacher, I’m often confused when I need to make important decisions about my work, my relationships, my health, or finances. Show me the way I should go when I don’t know which way to turn. Help me remember to come to you, rather than trying to figure everything out on my own. Guide me along the best pathway for my life. Advise me and watch over me. Help me to listen to your guidance and not resist it. I thank you that your unfailing love surrounds those who trust you. Amen

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Do We Recognize Jesus Christ as Our One, Only true King? Revelation 5:13

Revelation 5:11-14Amplified Bible

Angels Exalt the Lamb

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and [the voice] of the living creatures and the elders; and they numbered myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands (innumerable), 12 saying in a loud voice,

“Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

13 And I heard every created thing that is in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] or on the sea, and everything that is in them, saying [together],

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb (Christ), be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped [Him who lives forever and ever].

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

The Bible makes it crystal clear that history is moving purposefully towards a definite conclusion.

That reality is one of the distinctive features of the biblical worldview.

One way that Christianity distinguishes itself, in other words, is in the matter of how all things come to a close.

Sometimes, in looking at old historical photographs we may just find ourselves asking,

“Where am I in this picture?”—or, “Am I even in this picture?”

“Do I recognize the person, the people or the place or the moment?”

“Is it a random small piece of history or a very specific and significant one?

“I wonder what is really happening in the picture – what is its real story?”

Is there enough personal interest in the story for me to do more research, to want to know every single detail of the time, the people, the place, the events?

When it comes to our envisioning or picturing God’s plan, though, every single person, people and place on earth is included in Revelation’s picture of history.

No one is missing from the story.

Everyone who believed or did not believe on Jesus as their Savior are included.

And when history comes to a close, it will surely end in division and separation.

Jesus spoke about this separation when He said that the sheep and goats will be divided (Matthew 25:31-46): light and darkness will be delineated, and those who believed on Jesus as their Savior will be set apart from those who do not.

No one will be left out, though tragically some will have chosen to be shut out.

Therefore, our position in this big picture matters.

All of history’s ebb and flow is to be viewed in light of the fact that there is a throne in heaven and that throne is not empty; rather, it is occupied by God, who is in control. Jesus is King, and He is seated at the right hand of the throne.

Although many do not yet recognize His kingdom, many refuse to recognize His Kingdom, or have not been introduced, it doesn’t alter the reality He yet reigns.

From humanity’s fall to the end of time there exist, as the great fourth-century theologian Augustine of Hippo put it, two rival cities—two rival loves.

By our sinful human nature, we are involved in the city of man, and only by God’s grace will we ever be involved in and ever be devoted to the city of God.

2 Corinthians 5:1-5Amplified Bible

The Temporal and Eternal

5 For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our house is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our [immortal, eternal] celestial dwelling, so that by putting it on we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened [often weighed down, oppressed], not that we want to be unclothed [separated by death from the body], but to be clothed, so that what is mortal [the body] will be swallowed up by life [after the resurrection]. Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise].

The Word of God says The earthly city, the city of man, our earthly tent, our physical body is destined to be torn down by time, pass away through death.

But the heavenly city, God’s kingdom, will absolutely go on forever and ever!

Reading our text from Revelation 5:11-14, the many Angels around the throne and the voice of the living creature and the Elders, who numbered “myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands – innumerable (verse 11) recognized Him.

Saying in a loud voice –

“Worthy and deserving is the Lamb that was sacrificed to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (verse 12)

From within the context of our own 21st jumble of our own “Christian-ality”

Our own personal expressions of devotion, personal expressions of obedience, adherence to the precepts and commandments and covenants set by our God,

In our ministries and missions, our forays into all the streets and back alley ways, all the highways and byways and boulevards of God’s Neighborhood, Luke 10:1-3, Acts 2:43-47, 1 Corinthians 12:14-26, and Galatians 3:27-29)

Enemies or Friends, Faults, Failures, Fears, Flaws, Sins not withstanding …

In the eyes of God, we are ALL Children of God …. Without any Exceptions,

From the fears, failures and faults of mankind, however, exceptions okayed,

Do ALL Lives absolutely, unequivocally, without exception, equally Matter?

Do we recognize with our whole hearts our souls, our voices – Jesus as King?

How each of us give God in Christ an answer is a matter of eternal significance.

And how we give an answer to God is also a matter of present consequence. (Matthew 5:13-16, Matthew 23:23-33, Mark 3:31-35, Mark 4:21-29, Mark 7:1-16, Luke 10:25-37, Luke 11:33-36, Luke 19:1-10, John 5:1-15, and Acts 3:1-10)

If Jesus is your One and Only true King, then you will live as His subject, seeking to obey Him even when His command cuts against all your biases, preferences.

If Jesus is your King, you will be loyal and obedient to Him above all others, for this world is not yours or mine home and you and I are just passing through.

As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

Be sure to live as a citizen of a better country and a subject of a greater King.

When our earthly tents take their last breaths, will we spend eternity joining with Angels and Elders in bringing Him honor and glory, praise and worship?

I pray we may give a good answer to God, do so in our words and conduct today.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

God of ALL truth, sometimes I not sure if I’m actually hearing your voice, or if it’s just my own thoughts or even another spirit. Sharpen my spiritual hearing, Lord, so I can recognize your words when you are speaking to me. Help me know it’s really, only you, with no doubt or second-guessing. When I’m asking for your guidance in important decisions, give me your peace that surpasses understanding with your answer alone. Help me remember that your words to me will never go against your written word in the Bible. Give me a clear mind and push out all my confusion. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, My King and My Savior and Best Friend Amen.

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