Last week Ps Josh shared about the miracle of the raising of Lazarus over death, and today I want to continue the resurrection theme with this next miracle…
Luke 7:11-17 (ESV)
Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.
I’VE BEEN DYING TO TALK ABOUT DEATH…
Death is something we all face. We don’t like to talk about it. You don’t get cards saying “Merry Death, Happy Dying, Wish you were dead,” But maybe a miracle like this one is an opportunity to talk about this taboo subject, that we all face at some point.
Did you know some people believe that they are going to beat death? 27 people in fact. I’m sure there are more around the world, but currently at the Alcor Life Extension Institute in Arizona there are 27. These people have chosen to pay $150,000 to be frozen in liquid nitrogen at –320 degrees, believing that science will one day bring them back to life. If this works, I’ll be the first to sing, “Freeze a jolly good fellow,” These people fear, but show a profound lack of understanding, about death.
Let’s look at what happened and what we can learn from this incredible miracle. We are going to witness here a contrast and indeed a clash of 2 world’s…
1. TWO CROWDS MEET
Luke 7:11-12 (ESV)
Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her.
There were 2 crowds meeting that day, one with Jesus, full of happiness and joy and hope, and the other with the funeral, full of misery, fear, death and sorrow. One was heading into town, the other heading to the cemetery.
The widow and her friends were lamenting the death of her only son, but the others were following the only Son of God, Jesus.
There are 2 similar groups in our world today… One fearful, saddened, and heading to death, eternal death, and the other rejoicing, following Jesus Christ the Saviour to life. Which group are you with today? Are you following the crowd, or the Saviour?
Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Every person on earth faces death, but they also face a choice. Where they spend eternity depends on this choice. Do you choose Jesus, or the world? The narrow way or the broad way? Life, or death?
Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,
God wants you to choose life. Today, don’t face death with fear, don’t face death alone, come to Christ and discover hope.
2. TWO ONLY SONS MEET
Jesus was an only son, and so was this widow’s son. Both mothers want the best for their only sons. Everyone wants to see their kids reach their full potential, and this widow was just like Mary or any other mum. They want to see their children prosper and succeed in life.
I heard about a mum who was a doctor, and she had left her stethoscope on the car seat of the car, where her little girl picked it up, and began to play with it. The mum thought, “Excellent. My daughter wants to follow in my footsteps!
Then the child spoke into the instrument: “Hello and welcome to McDonald’s may I take your order?”
All parents have high hopes for their children. This widowed mum was no different. This lady was a widow, which means she had no husband alive, so her son was her only means of provision for the future. Ancient Israel had no superannuation, no old age pension, no Medicare and no one to care for her as she grew old. Her destiny was intertwined with her son, so her hopes and dreams for her child were very real. But at this point, those hopes were shattered, by the premature death of her son.
As this miracle sets up, Two “only sons” meet. Warren Wiersbe said, “One alive but destined to die, the other dead but destined to live “.
3. TWO SUFFERERS MEET
On this day 2 sufferers met. The Widow, broken hearted, mourning, in despair and without hope, and the other Jesus, man of sorrows.
Isaiah 53:3 (ESV)
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
If you are going through a hard time, let me tell you that Jesus understands. The Hebrew words for sorrows is MACOB, which means sorrow, physical or mental pain, affliction or grief. Whatever you face today, physical, mental, pain, fear, anguish, grief, you don’t have to face it alone, you can face it with Jesus, because He understands.
We are now supposed to be wearing masks to church. I hate it, and so do you. But the reality is, we’ve all been wearing masks at church for a long time. We all mask our true feelings, our pain, our struggles when we meet others. We don’t want to be a burden to others, we don’t want them to see us as not coping.
If you are suffering today, get rid of the mask and don’t walk that road alone. Be brave enough to open up and share your burden with others.
Galatians 6:2 (ESV)
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
MOVED WITH COMPASSION
Last week we looked at the shortest verse in the Bible, showing the compassion and love of the Saviour.
The thing I notice here is the compassion Jesus had for the poor widow. In her culture, a woman without a husband and child was the lowest, without hope and without provision. He felt her pain and loss.
Luke 7:13 (ESV)
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
The Greek word for compassion used here is the strongest word for caring in the Greek, SPLAGCH-NI-ZOMAI, which means “to be moved to the point of your bowels yearning”. In Greek, the bowels were considered the seat of love and pity, but it conveys the incredible, gut wrenching compassion Jesus had.
Whatever you are feeling today, Jesus has that same compassion for you. Have you felt loss? The loss of a loved one, loss of your home, your career, a friend? Jesus’ heart goes out to you this morning. He not only cares, the Greek conveys that He agonises not just for you but with you.
Psalms 103:13 (ESV)
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
2 Corinthians 1:4
God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
So many people suffer abuse, fear, hardship and loss, and they feel that God has abandoned them. He hasn’t, He is always there, just waiting for an invite from you. If you are suffering today, invite Jesus in.
YOU ARE PRECIOUS
Jesus cares for you and whatever you suffer, not because of what you can do for Him, but because you are precious. Doesn’t matter if you are dirty, sinful, despised, divorced, physically or mentally challenged, in despair or without hope, God sees you as valuable!
And when you come to Jesus, yes you are saved, yes you have eternal life, but even more than this, God adopts you into His family.
1 John 3:1
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
So He is the King of Kings, and that makes you royalty, a prince or princess. Some of you here need to hear this… You are a princess. Don’t live like a pauper, don’t act like a vagrant, you are a prince or princess. Act like it!
Isaiah 61:3 (ESV)
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
Today, whatever you are going through, God has a compassion, a gut wrenching compassion for you, and He also has a plan for your life. He hasn’t abandoned you despite what you might be feeling.
A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain. Don’t see your pain as oppression, see it as opportunity to mature and shine for Jesus.
4. TWO ENEMIES MEET… DEATH IS CONQUERED
Two enemies met that day on the road between Nain and the cemetery. The boy was experiencing death and decay, but Jesus was all about life and resurrection. Death and life are opposites, and they are enemies.
Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
What we are seeing right now across the world is a fear of death on a scale never before seen in my lifetime. And as always, the fear is far, far worse then the reality.
Death is fearful because it is a mystery. Science can’t tell us what’s beyond the grave. We don’t really know for sure what is beyond the veil. I heard about a godly man whose wife was dying of cancer. As he nursed her, he asked her a question… “What’s it like to wake up each day knowing you’re dying?” She replied,”What’s it like to wake up each day pretending you’re not?”
One certainty of living is dying. I’ve asked Dr Colin Dicks, a man who deals with death every day for his take on death and dying. And what comes next.
Here is mine…
I believe in life after death. I’ve seen it, and I was totally surrounded by the love and security of Jesus Christ. I want this for each of you too.
JESUS GAVE HIS LIFE TO BEAT DEATH
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
The life Jesus speaks of lasts for eternity, but it starts right now. He purchased your life by giving His. He experienced death that we might have life.
As He gave life back to the widow’s son, so He can take the broken pieces of your life which is destined for death, and give you eternal life.
John 3:16 (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Are you facing death? Then this verse speaks life into your situation, and light into the darkness of death. Let’s face it, we are all facing death, but knowing Jesus takes away the sting of death because the sting is sin, and Jesus death and resurrection takes away our sin.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus gave life back to that little boy, and He can do the same for you.
Jesus did not die to make bad people good! He died to make dead people live!”
For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
And He wills you to have life. It lasts for eternity with Him, but it starts now. Is your marriage dead? Is your career dead? Is your family dead? Jesus came to give life and life to the full, which means life for your marriage, your career, your family.
Romans 8:11 (ESV)
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
The key is, do you have the Holy Spirit living within you? Have you asked Jesus into your life? Are you living a life of victory and faith that you have life, to the full, and forever more?