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Jesus at a Funeral

03 Jul

Luke 7:11-18

Only Luke shares this remarkable story of the day that Jesus attended a funeral procession. This event takes place just outside the city gate of the little village of Nain, some 21 miles south of Capernaum. We do not know what other things that Jesus did in this village, or even whether He made it into the village, but this was a miracle that shook the countryside and caused stories to be told of Jesus that would carry all the way to John the Baptist in prison (Luke 7:18-19).

A widow woman had lost her only son, meaning that not only was the love of her life gone, but her entire means of income had died with him. It was not the dead boy that moved our Savior to perform a miracle, but rather it was the pain that He saw in the heart of the mother. When He saw her he said to her, “Weep not” (Luke 7:13). This seems like a bizarre thing to say to a mother who is attending the funeral of her son. Would you dare say this to someone who has lost a loved one at a funeral? Coming from Jesus, we know that it was not a reprimand against showing emotion, for Jesus shows as much Himself at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35). His instruction to the mother is a foreshadow that something awesome is about to happen. “Weep not” is Jesus’ way of introducing hope into a hopeless situation.

Jesus approached the “bier”, which was a funeral couch upon which Jews would carry their dead for burial. When Jesus touched the bier, the procession stopped. Touching a casket as it goes by in a funeral procession seems like a momentous gesture to us in the Western world but for a Jew, it represented something horrific. By touching the bier you were touching a dead person, thus you were ceremonially unclean. The party stopped because they were stunned that anyone would dare breach the laws of God’s cleanliness by such an act.

We know that Jesus completely fulfilled the law without ever sinning, so how could He commit such an act at the funeral in Nain without being considered ceremonially unclean? When Jesus touched the bier, it was Life touching Death. When the Life of God touched Death, Death cannot win, for the Life of Jesus Christ ensures that there can be no Death while He is around. The moment that Jesus made contact with the bier there was life that entered into the boy. The fact that he was now alive meant that Jesus had not touched a dead body at all, for no one could prove that there was anything that was dead!

No one ever died in the presence of Jesus. In fact, the criminals on the cross could not die until Jesus had given up His life first, for death has no place when Jesus is near. You cannot dwell for long in your dead ways when you look to Jesus as your hope and your life. His great hand touches the various areas of our life and we spring to life. He is the calmer of the storm and the bringer of streams in the desert. If He could visit a funeral in Nain and bring the boy to life, He can visit your life and bring you a life more abundant. Hallelujah!

 

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