Raising the widow’s son
When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk!
Luke 7:13-15 (NLT)
When I was a teenager, many moons ago, I found myself in a funeral parlour in Buffalo, New York. The family I was staying with had gone to pay their respects to a loved one who had just died. On entering the warm room filled with grieving people, a queue formed, and I found myself being ushered slowly to the front where the open casket rested. When she got to the head of the queue, the lady in front of me talked quietly to the deceased person as if he was still alive, telling him she would come back and see him tomorrow, and just before she left she reached in and patted his hand. Suddenly it was my turn. I had never seen a dead person before and wasn’t sure what the etiquette was in such a situation, so I followed her lead and told the man I was sorry he had died, and I patted his hand before hurrying out.
Although quite a memorable experience, I had forgotten about it until recently when I was reading the account, in Luke, of Jesus coming across a funeral procession in the village of Nain.
The first thing that struck me was that his heart overflowed with compassion for the widow. Jesus notices the suffering of people and, no matter who they are, he stops to help. Sometimes in life we can feel alone and we forget that God cares deeply for us. He cares about what we are going through and is never too busy to stop and help. We just need to go to him in prayer. The widow didn’t ask for help. Maybe she didn’t know she could. But we do.
The second thing that struck me was that Jesus talked to the dead boy as if he were alive. Unlike the lady in my story, who perhaps was having a difficult time letting go, Jesus talked as one who had complete authority over death. He spoke confidently and simply told the young man to get up – and he did. On more than one occasion during his time on earth, Jesus raised the dead. Jesus hates death and has overcome and conquered this enemy for us.
I wonder what would have happened if Jesus had walked into that funeral parlour that day instead of me?
Father, thank you for your Son Jesus, who has a heart that moves with compassion when he sees our suffering. Thank you for giving up your son so that He conquered death for all of us. Amen.
Study by Jackie Mill
About the writer:
Jackie Mill is an elder and Pastoral Worker for
Grace Communion International in Scotland and Ireland
and Director for SEP summer camp.
Gilmerton New Church
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