Children of the Bible, Part 18 by Allan McGuirl
We have been covering stories about children of the Bible the past several weeks. These are real accounts about precious children and how certain events have happened to them. Today’s story is no exception. If you have your Bible, turn to Luke 7:11-17 for a fascinating story. The setting is in the town of Nain, about 6 miles south east of Nazareth. The world is so bent on big things-important events in large cities that seem to appeal to the entire world. But, folks, we are going to learn about an event that revolutionized a widow’s life, taking it from sorrow to joy, from death to life, separation to reunion – an event that only God could mastermind.
In verse 11, Jesus was approaching the city of Nain with his disciples and a huge crowd of people. Also, the Bible says there was another, smaller crowd of people heading out of the city gate. They were carrying a coffin with a young man in it. The crowd was mourning, and the mother, who had already suffered the loss of her husband, was preparing to bury the body of her only son. She was heartbroken. At that moment, she had many friends and family members, along with professional mourners, accompanying her. But tomorrow and every day after that, she would be alone, on her own, struggling to survive. Some of you reading this know the grief of losing a child. You can feel the pain of this mother as she slowly followed the casket.
Jesus was not only aware of the crowds following Him, He was aware of this mournful procession, and the Bible says, “The Lord saw HER.” He immediately had compassion on her and said to her, “Don’t cry.” Now, that’s something I don’t think I have ever said to someone at a funeral, and I have been to many! But Jesus is the Son of God. He had reason to admonish her to dry her tears, because He already knew what He was about to do. Jesus went up to the coffin and touched it. Those carrying it stood still. By now the two crowds of people were mingling together. What was going through their minds at this moment in time? It’s as if the world was standing still. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, ‘Get up.’” Surely their ears were playing tricks on them! A dead man does not get up. But now their eyes were watching the impossible. The dead son sat up and began to speak. I wonder how long it took for them to lower the coffin to the ground in their state of total shock. The Bible then says that Jesus gave him back to his mother. The funeral procession had turned into a celebration. They were awestruck for a moment and then broke into words of praise, recognizing that this was God’s doing. The mother was filled with thanksgiving to Jesus for restoring her son. The entire crowd was filled with joy and admiration as they praised God and acknowledged that Jesus had been sent to help His people. The news traveled throughout the entire region. No one had heard or seen anything like this before.
You know the Gospels mention in many places that whenever the people heard Jesus was in the vicinity, they brought the sick, diseased, injured, demon-possessed, blind, and deaf, and Jesus healed them all. He is a God of great power, but He is also a God of great compassion. In this instance, no one came to Him asking for help. The widow only had one prospect in mind – accompanying her young son to his final resting place. The pall bearers were not purposely seeking out Jesus, nor were the mourners. And of course, the dead son had no active part in seeking out Jesus. Instead, Jesus saw their plight, He took the initiative, He sought them out, He had compassion, and He turned back the power of death and restored a son to life.
This is so clearly what Jesus did when He purposely came to this earth, sent by the Father, to seek us out. We were dead in our trespasses and sins; we could not help ourselves. But Jesus took the initiative; He saw our plight – lost in sin and separated from a holy God, destined for hell. He is the one who had compassion on us and offered to take our punishment for sin in His own body on the cross. He is the one who has turned back the power of death. As I Corinthians says, “O death, where is your sting; O grave, where is your victory?” By simple faith in His finished work at Calvary, we are brought from death into eternal life. Have you received that eternal life from Him? Have you acknowledged your own helplessness to save yourself from sin and its penalty and accepted Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf? In compassion, He wants to give you eternal life. Many of you know that well-memorized verse from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” If you have not received His forgiveness and promise of life eternal, why not do that today? Even while you are reading this devotional, you can put your faith in Jesus, the Son of God, and begin a new life – an eternal one.