1. Read Luke 7:11-13. Jesus was traveling from town to town on His way to Jerusalem. When Jesus encountered the many mourners in Nain, He had several options for His response to the crowd. Discuss what some of these options might have been. What in fact made Jesus stop? (Intent: Introduce the passage by having the group envision the scene of these dusty travelers and help them to focus on Christ’s purpose in this encounter. Jesus felt compassion, then stopped, spoke, and acted.)
2. Read Luke 7:12-17. Why do you think Jesus raised this particular man from the dead? (Intent: Jesus “saw” the widow. In other words, He did not look past her, but He looked upon her defining need of the moment: a widow, an only son, a deep sorrow, and probable poverty ahead. He was motivated by the compassion of God. Deut. 10:18, He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow.)
3. After an encounter with Christ, do you share what He has done in your life with others? A. If yes, describe a time when you took the opportunity to share. B. If not, how can you begin making this a life pattern of sharing how the Lord is at work in your life? (Intent: Lk. 7:16-17 describes the scene and outcome following this first miracle of Jesus raising the dead found in Scripture. This question is to help the group explore ways they can share their faith.)
4. Read Numbers 19:11 and Psalm 40:8. Touching the open coffin rendered Jesus ceremonially unclean. In your daily life, are you willing to do things that are guided by Scripture, the character of God, and the Holy Spirit that go against social norms and/or culture for the sake of Christ? A. If yes, share an example. B. If no, why not? (Intent: have the group explore what a heart set after the Lord does; see Ps. 40:8, Your Law is within my heart. We are mandated to respond scripturally, but with our eyes set upon the Lord and in concert with the Holy Spirit when we act. This requires flexibility rather than rigidity to our own concepts.)
5. In first century Israel, and today in many poor countries, poor widows are on the bottom rung of society’s ladder. They are insignificant, without property rights, and without hope. Do you tend to “write off” a particular person, group, or geographic location because you consider it/them insignificant? Explain.
6. In what ways can you specifically identify and meet the needs of those around you, both physically and spiritually?
7. What is something you believe the Lord has anointed you to do with your life?
1. Examine your heart for whether you feel not just sorrow for others in need, but compassion that moves you through the Holy Spirit to act. Ask the Lord to work in you to help you deeply relate to needs and guide you to specific action.