Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jesus Cares and Intervenes for the Widow (Luke 7.11-17)

A devotional thought: In Luke 7.11-17, Jesus had just healed a servant of a gentile when He wasn't even near the servant. He is just now arriving with His disciples and a crowd of people at the town called Nain. Jesus sees a crowd coming out of the city. But unlike other times, this is not a crowd coming out for Him or even to Him. No, this crowd has different, more gloomy destination: a grave. It is the grave for the son of a mother who had only one son, a mother whose husband is already dead. This woman has gone through the pain of death--the hardcore pain and upheaval of the death of her husband, her lover, her provider, her protector. That was hard, but at least she had still had a son to care for her, provide for her, and protect her. But now, he too had died! Death had her again in bitter tears. She no longer had a son, she no longer had anyone who loved and cared for her, who would provide and protect her. She was as alone and as vulnerable as you could get, even though she is surrounded by the crowd of mourners leaving the city. We often feel that alone and helpless and vulnerable from all sides, even though there are others around us, we feel bitterly alone. But Jesus sees this woman. Jesus cares for and loves this woman. Jesus wants to provide and protect this woman. His insides are churning with intense emotions of compassion and love and shared-pain for her. So then Jesus takes action! Jesus does the unthinkable! He speaks. His voice is full of emotion, and He says two words to this alone and helpless widow: "Don't weep!" The words are paradoxical--crazy! Who could not help but cry in that situation? But Jesus still uttered that command: "Don't cry!" Why? Because Jesus' compassion has moved Him to take action! The crowd is confused and chatter is rippling back and forth about how Jesus just told the mother of the dead son to stop crying. Some are saying, "does He care?" "How could He say/do that?" Then Jesus takes a step towards the casket and reaches out a hand and touches the coffin! He touches it! The people caring the casket just stand there, halted from continuing their journey--the Rabbi is touching the box with the dead guy in it! Then something amazing happens that no one saw coming, Jesus speaks again, but this time He's talking to the dead guy! "Young man, I say to you, be awake!" Then every chattering voice is cut down by the young man sitting up in the casket and starting to speak himself! So Jesus gives the young man to his mom. Then fear grabs hold of everyone and they erupt in to praise and glory for God! They see in this that God still cares about His people! So the people can't shut up about it; and the message spreads to the whole area and all the places around it! They praise God because they see that the widow again has a son who will love her, care for her, provide for her, and protect her, but she also has The Son loving her, caring for her, providing for her, and protecting her! In the same way, the Lord Jesus sees our situation and all that we are going through! He feels for us! He cares for us and loves us and is seeking our best! I can't  foresee what Jesus will do, but I do see in the text that Jesus can reverse even the most bitter and hopeless of situations with just a couple words! I see that He is compassionate and loving! I see that He is more powerful than even death! So yes it looks like our youth group and church at deaths door, maybe even already on the way to the grave, but we also worship the God of Victory over Death! We Worship the Jesus who bled even death itself out when he bled out for us! We may look as good as dead, but we worship Jesus and we trust in Jesus who not only raises the dead, but who also raise from the dead Himself! There is hope for us! Jesus has the power and the concern and the empathy! The question is when and how and will we even be able to see it. We know Who Jesus is, so let's trust in Him as we trust Him to be Himself! Jesus can raise the dead with a few words, so He certainly can save our youth group and church! Take courage my youth group. I love you and am praying for you, and Jesus has our back!

Grace and Peace and Hope and Love in Jesus Christ our Lord
Pastor Anthony

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