GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO HEALS BODIES AND SOULS!
TEXT: Luke 7: 11-17
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
Do you inwardly digest God’s Word? Most people read the facts of the Bible, like our lesson today, and get the main point of any particular text. In this case, a young man in his late teens dies. His widowed mother is filled with grief as now her only son is gone along with her husband. She is destitute, or soon will be, with no one to take care of her. The villagers of Nain are saddened too. A large crowd follows the funeral procession out to the graveyard. Jesus comes, stops, speaks some amazing words to the mother: “Don’t Cry!”, tells the young man to arise from the dead, and he does! Everyone is flabbergasted. They all praise God, and Jesus goes on His way. Those are the facts. But if you inwardly digest them, various intriguing scenarios come to mind. Today let’s explore a few of them.
Were these two human characters in our drama, mother and son, believers before this occurred? Maybe and maybe not. Having lost her husband and having grown up without a father and probably being the only child, the loss of dad must have crushed them. No doubt they were angry, angry with life and angry with God, too. Like us, that age old question must have erupted in their minds: “Why are You doing this to me, Lord? Don’t you love me?” Well, if they were believers before this occurred, they must have been tempted to give up on God—just like we sometimes do during such times of hardship. And if they were not believers, they must have come to faith in Christ as a result of this miracle. In fact, since this miracle is totally unbidden on their part, a product of grace alone, if they didn’t believe before it occurred, it’s all the more powerful and expressive of God’s love toward sinners like us. Either way, God’s undeserved gift of life and future eternal life are the result.
Did the crowd know exactly Who Jesus was when He first arrived on the scene? You get the sense that some of them must have known. After all, news of the miracle working Messiah was spreading like wildfire around Palestine. But when Jesus told the mother “Don’t Cry” and touched the bier, it was still quite shocking. No doubt, she was a sobbing wreck. Likewise, the crowd of neighbors was weeping, too. And now to have a stranger disrupt their grief seemed offensive. But, after the resurrection of this young fellow, everything changes. They all rejoice! Grief changes to joy in an instant. That reveals the amazing power of God’s grace to help everyone in their time of need—even when unasked. St. Paul didn’t ask to be converted on the road to Damascus. This woman and her son don’t ask for God’s help. The crowd didn’t ask. And neither did we before we were baptized. And yet in all of those instances, God seeks hurting souls out and works His grace upon their hearts. They owed Him their all, and so do we.
What becomes of this newly renewed family? Do they simply return to their former status quo, or to something far different and exciting? The text is silent—which speaks quite eloquently on the matter. Did the young man remember something of his deathly experience? Did he see hell or heaven and recall it later on? Or did God wipe away any memories of that event? Do you think this young man ever forgot what happened to him that day, or would his mother forget about it as the years passed by? To that, I say: “Would you?” So, we can probably conclude that he became a follower of Christ and a missionary in his own way. And who wouldn’t be mesmerized by hearing this story in the 1st person from his very lips?
St. Luke records this lesson. Luke was a physician. He may or may not have been there to see it happen. Either way, he tells us the facts of the case.—Christ raised a dead man to life without any miracle drugs but through His miracle Word. That’s because Christ is the eternal Word made flesh. He is the Son of God Who would die to save all people from their sins and then rise to life to give proof of His amazing power to heal and help.
As we inwardly digest God’s Word, we’re really feeding our souls on Christ, the bread of life eternal. Our speculations about what happened before and after this resurrection happened are intriguing. We place ourselves in their shoes and try to gauge our response to what theirs might have been. Likewise, we get frustrated a bit because the facts we know are a bit sparse, aren’t they? But as I said earlier, that speaks eloquently to the amazing power of God to help and heal you, too. Because it forces you to think deeply about this story and to inwardly digest it. For the Christian, life isn’t about the past since we cannot change it. For us, life isn’t about worry over the future since we know resurrection and heaven await us. No, life is about the here and now. It is about living your moments of grace and appreciating each and every blessing that God sends our way. For then, we truly are: Alive in Christ! Just like this young man! Amen