By Pastor Bruce
Considering the sermon by Pastor Bruce Spear on July 12, 2020
Scripture Reading: Luke 7:11-17
As we “go deeper” with this story, let me suggest that we read it again with our hearts tuned to the sorrow this woman felt and the joy she experienced when her son was restored to life.
Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son (Luke 7:11-17)
11 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.
Tom Wright suggests two more ways we can go deeper with this story.
The first is to see the drama of Mary’s own loss of Jesus at the cross and how her heart was broken and then three days later filled with joy when she received him back as her Risen Lord. Take a minute to gaze at Michelangelo’s Pieta to help you enter into Mary’s experience of losing her son. She must have been a widow herself by then especially since Jesus even as he suffered on the cross made provision for his friend John to take Mary into his home and household.
Then Dr. Wright suggests a way to go through this story to help us bring Jesus into our own lives and give us strength in an area where we feel fear or sorrow or uncertainty. This is what he suggests:
Now go through the scene again; but this time, instead of it being a funeral procession in a small first-century Galilean town, make it the moment you most dread in this next week or next year. Maybe it's something that you know is going to happen, like a traumatic move of house or job. Maybe it's something you are always afraid of, a sudden accident or illness, a tragedy or scandal. Come into the middle of the scene, if you can, in prayer; feel its sorrow and frustration, its bitterness and anger. Then watch as Jesus comes to join you in the middle of it. Take time in prayer and let him approach, speak, touch, command. He may not say what you expect. He may not do what you want. But if his presence comes to be with you there that is what you most need. Once he is in the middle of it all with you, you will be able to come through it.
Having experienced the presence of Jesus in our moment of need, let’s join Henri Nouwen in this prayer:
Loving Savior, in your wounds and suffering, you showed us a love stronger than death. So quiet my anxiety, Lord Jesus, and give me the grace to open my heart to you. And then give me your compassion for others. Let me willingly take up the burden of another person’s grief and pain. Teach me to know your heart and to show that love to the world. Amen.