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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary

Luke 7



Verses 1-56



Matthew describes the centurion as personally entreating our Lord (Matthew 8:5-13), but Luke tells how he first approached him through the Jewish elders and then through other friends.

THE WIDOW OF NAIN (Luke 7:11-17)

THE WIDOW OF NAIN (Luke 7:11-17) is a story original with Luke. Note that no appeal was made to our Lord in this case, but that His compassion was awakened by the sight itself. This was probably the first occasion when He raised the dead, which accounts for the effect and testimony in Luke 7:16-17.


As the fame of the wonder-worker spread it reached John the Baptist in prison (compare Luke 3:19). For John’s doubts and our Lord’s discourse concerning him see Matthew 11.


The Pharisee was willing to show Jesus the outward honor of an invitation for selfish reasons, but had no love for Him, as his treatment showed. Houses in the east had easy access, and on occasions when distinguished rabbis were entertained, outsiders were admitted to listen to the conversation. Reclining at the table with the feet extended outward, made possible the action of this woman. It was grace in her that drew her to Jesus as her Savior, hence she had already been forgiven ere she washed His feet. In other words, as the latter part of Luke 7:47 shows, she was not forgiven because she loved, but she loved because she was forgiven. It is solemnly suggestive that she was the only one in that company to whom such an announcement of forgiveness was made. They all heard it, including the host, but none seemed to desire it for himself.


Before reaching this parable it is pleasant to read of the woman ministering of their substance not to Jesus only, but to “them,” i.e., He and His disciples (Luke 8:2-3 RV). Compare this with the earlier suffering and need in the cornfield. We pass over the parable because of our comment in Matthew, but add a remark of Stuart, that “in Matthew the fruitful ones hear and understand; in Mark they hear and receive; in Luke they hear and keep.” These words are alike in that to understand, receive, and keep the Word are all requisite to fruit-bearing.


The remaining incidents of the chapter have been touched upon in the other Gospels, but we pause at the visit to the Gerasene country. A practical thought has been suggested to us here: if men can be the mouthpiece of demons, why should it be difficult to believe that a man may be the mouthpiece of the Spirit of God? Matthew speaks of two men though Mark and Luke call attention to only one. Was it because of this one’s subsequent request (Luke 8:38)? What a contrast in this he presents to the other people of that country! They wished Jesus to depart, but he wished to go with Him. Salvation makes all the difference as to whether one desires the Lord’s presence or not. But the Lord wanted a witness in Gerasene and could not spare this man to come with Him (Luke 8:39). Does the man’s work afterward explain what Mark says of this country at a later time (Mark 7:31-37)?


1. How does Luke’s account of the centurion’s action differ from Matthew?

2. How is the raising of the son of the widow of Nain distinguished?

3. How could the incident of Luke 7:36-50 occur in Simon’s house?

4. What three things are necessary in a Christian to fruit-bearing?

5. What desire does salvation awaken in the human heart?


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Luke 7:4". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. 1897-1910.

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