He’s Still Risen! – part 3 of 4

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. Luke 7:11-17, NIV

This devotion is the third of four based on my Easter 2020 Sunday message. It looks at Luke 7:11-17 where Jesus raised a widow’s only son as they were on their way to bury him. The idea is that Christ performed three resurrections foreshadowing His own. Each one points to His own resurrection to give us hope in our daily lives. He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

We look at this example of God’s compassion because it gives us hope. We should desire his compassionate voice to speak to us in His Word. We should be compassionate to each other, and thank God when people are compassionate to us. God delights in loving kindness * . This touches on the most basic element of a life changing relationship with God and others: love.

The widow was crying and sad from the loss of her son. In this story, Jesus did what he did so that we would know exactly what God is like. Knowing what God is like is meant to give us hope. Death is considered the END, but, with Jesus present, it is just the beginning. In fact, the years that you spend in this life can’t even begin to compare to eternity. The point is that Christ will compassionately meet us in death, and, as a gift, He will give us life with him and life with all those who walk with Him.

In this story, they looked up and they knew it was Jesus. Now granted, they had the advantage in knowing that he had already done some really great miracles, but I wonder if they just thought that he was going to have sympathy. Could they have really imagined what he was going to do?

“When the Lord saw this mother, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” Crying would be such a natural thing. I don’t think that Jesus is telling her to deny the pain that she naturally feels. Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. It’s healthy to cry. The point is two-fold: God understands human fear and frailties, but most importantly, the Lord want us to hear what He has to say. Are you open to what the Lord has to say to you? What happens next in the story only happened because Christ spoke to them. God’s word is powerful!

Look at the text. It says that they stopped. They could sense his compassion and concern, and they stopped. That’s what we need to do. We need to stop and find a quiet place to meet with Jesus—to be with Christ and others who can encourage us in him. Let him touch anything that concerns you. Can you stop and see him approaching you? The presence of Jesus in our lives is evident by the spiritual strength that he gives us. This story shows that not even death is an obstacle to God.

I found a quote from Luther that speaks to this: “The strength of God is far different from physical strength, which decreases and is consumed if one uses and does something too much. But this spiritual strength increases the more one makes use of and applies it.” (LW, vol. 30, p. 158)

“But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness,
    judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the LORD. Jeremiah 9:24 (NKJV)