In Luke’s Gospel, many of Jesus’ encounters with people are described in terms of whether or not they have faith. Yet this week’s story of the widow of Nain stands in contrast: the person in need never asks for help.
During the time of Elijah’s ministry, while the LORD was particularly angry with Ahab and his Ba’al-worshiping wife Jezebel, God shut off the rain in the fertile crescent for three years. It was a drought of epic proportions. It was a mess in those days, and people were hungry everywhere.
I have neither given or received, nor have I tolerated others' use of unauthorized aid. At the university where I teach part time, students write this honor code statement on every exam, essay and homework submission. It is up to the instructor to identify what constitutes authorized aid for each assignment or exam.
When Luke set out to write his “orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us,” there seems to have been no concept of unauthorized aid.
We see it every day on the news—the raw grief of a parent whose child has died, perhaps in a drive-by shooting or while serving in Afghanistan. Sometimes the tragedy is tied to an automobile accident. We hear of these deaths so often that we become numb to the pain. Then comes something like the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Parents, friends and neighbors weep.