Faithlife
Faithlife

12 August 2017 — Muerte, ¿dónde está tu aguijón?

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Notes & Transcripts
So where was the faith this time? The centurion’s servant was healed because of his owner’s faith, but in this story the only person who has any faith that the dead man can be raised is Jesus himself. Though Jesus loves to see the signs of faith, he isn’t always bound by it, and in this case he acts freely, from sheer compassion, to do something nobody had imagined he could or would.
Luke certainly wants us to make a connection between this scene and the later one, when Jesus is himself carried off, his widowed mother’s eldest son, for burial outside Jerusalem. In the present case, of course, the young man is brought back to ordinary life and will have to die again one day. Luke will eventually tell of Jesus’ new life in which death is left behind for good.
Come inside the story and allow its force to sweep over you. Walk in the crowd a few paces behind the bier féretro, on a hot day in Galilee, with the bright sun sparkling on the tears which are streaming down everyone’s cheeks. Death is common enough, and everybody knows what to do. The professional mourners and wailers are there los dolientes en el duelo, making plenty of noise so that friends and relatives, and particularly the poor mother, can cry their hearts out without the embarrassment of making a scene all by themselves. (How much kinder a system than the clinical, detached solemnity of a modern Western funeral!) People are coming along with spices to anoint the body, ready to wrap them up in the grave-clothes to offset the smell of decomposition.
You make your way from the family home, through the streets, to the town gate. A death in a small Middle-Eastern community touches everyone. The family burial plot will be a little way outside the town: probably a small cave in the side of a hill, where the husband and father had been buried some time before, and where now his bones, folded with care and devotion, lie stored in a bone-box, leaving the main shelf clear for the next burial. That’s where the procession is going.
Then, quite suddenly, some strangers arrive. A man leading a small group of followers. He seems vaguely familiar: Upper Galilee isn’t such a large place, and perhaps he grew up in a neighbouring village (Nain is about five miles south-east of Nazareth). He is looking at the widowed and now doubly bereaved mother, and something inside him seems to be stirring. He comes up and says something to her—and then, to everyone’s surprise and horror, he touches the bier. féretro (Nobody would normally do that except the official bearers portadores; touching a corpse cadaver or the bier, or even the bearers themselves, would make you unclean.) Then—the biggest shock of all—he’s telling the lad to get up … and he’s getting up. The whole funeral procession cortejo fúnebre goes wild with astonishment, delight, disbelief.
They don’t know which one to look at, the no-longer-dead boy, his amazed and ecstatic mother, or this stranger who has done what the old prophets, Elijah and Elisha, used to do. (Luke has told the story with deliberate echoes of and .) ‘God has visited his people,’ Dios ha visitado a su pueblo they say: not in the sense of paying them a social visit, but in the old biblical sense, where this phrase was used to refer to God ‘visiting’ Israel at the time of the Exodus and other great events. It means, ‘God has come near to us, to save and rescue us.’ It means, ‘This is the time we’ve been waiting for.’
Dios ha visitado a su pueblo they say: not in the sense of paying them a social visit, but in the old biblical sense, where this phrase was used to refer to God ‘visiting’ Israel at the time of the Exodus and other great events. It means, ‘God has come near to us, to save and rescue us.’ It means, ‘This is the time we’ve been waiting for.’
Reina Valera Revisada (1960). (1998). (). Miami: Sociedades Bı́blicas Unidas.they say: not in the sense of paying them a social visit, but in the old biblical sense, where this phrase was used to refer to God ‘visiting’ Israel at the time of the Exodus and other great events. It means, ‘God has come near to us, to save and rescue us.’ It means, ‘This is the time we’ve been waiting for.’
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 tristeza y frustración, its bitterness and anger amargura y enojo. 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.
These two stories at the start of —the centurion’s servant and the widow’s son—do two things in particular as Luke’s larger narrative develops. They take the commands of the great sermon in chapter 6 and they show what this life looks like on the ground, with God’s love going out in new, unexpected, healing generosity. And they prepare us for the question that is now emerging as the central one. Who does Jesus think he is? What do these actions say about his own role, his vocation and mission?
Wright, T. (2004). Luke for Everyone (pp. 82–84). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Joseph Bayly knew what the loss of a child was like. In fact, he and his wife MaryLou lost three sons—one at eighteen days, after surgery; another at five years, with leukemia leucemia; the third at eighteen years, after a sledding accident trineo. So when Joe Bayly wrote about the death of a child, people listened. Here is part of what he had to say:
Of all deaths, that of a child is most unnatural and hardest to bear. In Carl Jung’s words, it is “a period placed before the end of the sentence,” sometimes when the sentence has hardly begun. We expect the old to die. The separation is always difficult, but it comes as no surprise. But the child, the youth? Life lies ahead, with its beauty, its wonder, its potential. Death is a cruel thief when it strikes down the young. The suffering that usually precedes death is another reason childhood death is so hard for parents to bear. Children were made for fun and laughter, for sunshine, not for pain. And they have a child’s heightened consciousness rather than the ability to cope with suffering that comes with maturity. They also lack the “kind amnesia of senility.” In a way that is different from any other human relationship, a child is bone of his parents’ bone, flesh of their flesh. When a child dies, part of the parents is buried.… I met a man who was in his seventies. During our first ten minutes together, he brought the faded photograph of a child out of his wallet—his child, who had died almost fifty years before. De todas las muertes, la de un niño es más antinatural y más difícil de soportar. En palabras de Carl Jung, es "un punto colocado antes del final de la oración", a veces cuando la oración apenas ha comenzado. Esperamos que los viejos mueran. La separación es siempre difícil, pero no es ninguna sorpresa. ¿Pero el niño, el joven? La vida está por delante, con su belleza, su maravilla, su potencial. La muerte es un ladrón cruel cuando golpea a los jóvenes. El sufrimiento que suele preceder a la muerte es otra razón por la que la muerte de la infancia es tan difícil de soportar por los padres. Los niños fueron hechos para la diversión y la risa, para el sol, no para el dolor. Y tienen la conciencia aumentada de un niño más bien que la capacidad de lidiar con el sufrimiento que viene con la madurez. También carecen de la "amnesia amable de la senilidad". De una manera que es diferente de cualquier otra relación humana, un niño es hueso del hueso de sus padres, carne de su carne. Cuando un niño muere, una parte de los padres está enterrada ... Conocí a un hombre que tenía setenta años. Durante los primeros diez minutos juntos, sacó de su cartera la vieja fotografía de un niño, su hijo, que había muerto casi cincuenta años antes.
The death of a child is certainly one of the greatest agonies possible in this life—a burying of a part of oneself, a period before the end of a sentence, the death of a future. It is a burden that all parents fear. Such untimely pain was the emotional context of Jesus’ next ministry event.
Jesus Encounters Death (vv. 11, 12)
Lucas 7.11–12 RVR60
Aconteció después, que él iba a la ciudad que se llama Naín, e iban con él muchos de sus discípulos, y una gran multitud.Cuando llegó cerca de la puerta de la ciudad, he aquí que llevaban a enterrar a un difunto, hijo único de su madre, la cual era viuda; y había con ella mucha gente de la ciudad.
Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 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. (vv. 11, 12)
A public sorrow. Una tristeza pública The town of Nain was about twenty-five miles from Capernaum, a day’s journey. So it was probably in the late afternoon that Jesus and his band of disciples encountered an unexpected public display of sorrow at the city gate. A funeral bier féretro (an open coffin), preceded by the pathetic figure of a woman, stood directly in Jesus’ path. The coffin was surrounded by professional mourners dolientes profesionales who were leading a large, wailing crowd guiando el duelo with flutes, cymbals, and frenzied cries. The cries were especially deafening because of the loud mourning associated with the death of an only child.
Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 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. (vv. 11, 12)
A public sorrow. The town of Nain was about twenty-five miles from Capernaum, a day’s journey. So it was probably in the late afternoon that Jesus and his band of disciples encountered an unexpected public display of sorrow at the city gate. A funeral bier (an open coffin), preceded by the pathetic figure of a woman, stood directly in Jesus’ path. The coffin was surrounded by professional mourners who were leading a large, wailing crowd with flutes, cymbals, and frenzied cries. The cries were especially deafening because of the loud mourning associated with the death of an only child.3
A private sorrow. The wretched figure of the woman, without the company of a husband or, as far as we can tell, children, communicated in an instant to Jesus and his followers the depth of the tragedy. The tear-drenched woman was a widow, and the pale young corpse was her only son. The large crowd posed an ironic contrast to her actual state. She was alone in this world—without a provider proveedor or protector. Tomorrow she would awake by herself, brokenhearted, without the sustaining footfall and sounds of her beloved son.
There is something poignant in the tragic woman’s silhouette because, given what is about to take place and the declarations to be made, she is a fit figure for the hurting soul to whom Christ ministers.
Jesus’ Compassions (v. 13)
As the bereaved woman stumbled toward the burial ground, she had no hint of the miracle awaiting her.
Jesus’ Heart
“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her” (v. 13).
Lucas 7.13 RVR60
Y cuando el Señor la vio, se compadeció de ella, y le dijo: No llores.
[up to ....de ella]
Jesus’ heart went out to her in unmitigated compassion. Luke uses the strongest word possible here to describe Jesus’ pity. The root word from which it comes refers to what is inside (the heart, liver, lungs), the viscera las vísceras. It describes an emotion that has a physical effect. Jesus felt for her.
We should note that this was typical of Jesus. Later, at a similar occasion, when Jesus observed Mary and Martha weeping for Lazarus, “he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” ().
Juan 11.33 RVR60
Jesús entonces, al verla llorando, y a los judíos que la acompañaban, también llorando, se estremeció en espíritu y se conmovió,
The word translated “was deeply moved” comes from an ancient word describing a horse’s snorting El resoplido de un caballo. It indicates that the Lord let out an involuntary gasp—the breath just went out of him. E. V. Rieu comments, “He gave way to such distress of spirit as made his body tremble.” Jesus felt for the two sisters so much that he had a physical reaction. And his convulsive feeling gave way to tears (v. 35). When he saw the widow of Nain, Jesus was again inwardly convulsed with compassion.
In ev’ry pang that rends the heart, The man of sorrows has a part. En toda la punzada que rasga el corazón, El hombre de los dolores tiene una parte.
The man of sorrows has a part. En toda la punzada que rasga el corazón,
El hombre de los dolores tiene una parte.
Jesus’ extraordinary compassion was grounded in his sinlessness sin pecado and selflessness. sin egoismo Whereas our sin and self-focus inhibit our ability to care, Jesus’ sinless self-forgetfulness allowed the full exercise of his sympathy and pity.
From this we infer, gladly, that Jesus has a heart that is big enough for our sorrows. His compassion, his empathy, is real.
Lamentaciones 3.22–23 RVR60
Por la misericordia de Jehová no hemos sido consumidos, porque nunca decayeron sus misericordias. Nuevas son cada mañana; grande es tu fidelidad.
You may have such an immense hurt that you cannot even voice it. Perhaps your trauma has left you inarticulate. But he understands completely and sympathetically. Not hindered by personal limitations, his immense heart goes out to you.
“His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness” (, ). You may have such an immense hurt that you cannot even voice it. Perhaps your trauma has left you inarticulate. But he understands completely and sympathetically. Not hindered by personal limitations, his immense heart goes out to you.
Jesus’ Words
Not only did Jesus’ heart go out to the poor widow, but also his soothing words:
Lucas 7.13 RVR60
Y cuando el Señor la vio, se compadeció de ella, y le dijo: No llores.
[start with ..No llores.]
Now, he was not telling her to suppress her emotion—“OK, chin up. Don’t be a baby.” Rather, he was expressing genuine caring for her and was hinting at the miracle about to occur. Moved by her tears, he gave her the gentle imperative, “Do not go on crying” as a prelude to what he was about to do.
Jesus Raises the Dead (vv. 14, 15)
The Touch
Touching a coffin meant sure pollution according to the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament (cf. , ),
Números 19.11 RVR60
El que tocare cadáver de cualquier persona será inmundo siete días.
Números 19.16 RVR60
y cualquiera que tocare algún muerto a espada sobre la faz del campo, o algún cadáver, o hueso humano, o sepulcro, siete días será inmundo.
but Jesus knew that the Law required mercy above sacrifice (cf. ).
Oseas 6.6 RVR60
Porque misericordia quiero, y no sacrificio, y conocimiento de Dios más que holocaustos.
but Jesus knew that the Law required mercy above sacrifice (cf. ). So Jesus took charge: “Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still” (v. 14a). His silent touch stopped everything, forcing a riveting silence. Life and death stood face to face. The scene is parabolic of Jesus’ mission to arrest death and swallow it up in victory (cf. , ).
So Jesus took charge:
Lucas 7.14 RVR60
Y acercándose, tocó el féretro; y los que lo llevaban se detuvieron. Y dijo: Joven, a ti te digo, levántate.
So Jesus took charge: “Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still” (v. 14a). His silent touch stopped everything, forcing a riveting silence. Life and death stood face to face. The scene is parabolic of Jesus’ mission to arrest death and swallow it up in victory (cf. , ).
[read up to …se detuvieron.]
His silent touch stopped everything, forcing a riveting silence. Life and death stood face to face. The scene is parabolic of Jesus’ mission to arrest death and swallow it up in victory (cf. , ).
1 Corintios 15.54–55 RVR60
Y cuando esto corruptible se haya vestido de incorrupción, y esto mortal se haya vestido de inmortalidad, entonces se cumplirá la palabra que está escrita: Sorbida es la muerte en victoria. ¿Dónde está, oh muerte, tu aguijón? ¿Dónde, oh sepulcro, tu victoria?
The Command
The Command
The silence was broken by Jesus simple command,
Lucas 7.14 RVR60
Y acercándose, tocó el féretro; y los que lo llevaban se detuvieron. Y dijo: Joven, a ti te digo, levántate.
[start with, ....Y dijo…]
Significantly, when performing lesser miracles, Jesus would sometimes enjoin specific actions along with the healing. The actions were spiritually instructive. But when it came to resurrections, he used only his word (cf. ; ; ). Clearly, he wanted everyone to see that resurrection power rests in him!
Notice too that when he spoke to the boy’s cold corpse, the boy heard him.
Obedience
The young man heard the voice of Christ and obeyed (as must every deceased human in its own time):
Lucas 7.15 RVR60
Entonces se incorporó el que había muerto, y comenzó a hablar. Y lo dio a su madre.
The gray, cold clay of his face flushed with color, his fixed, dilated eyes twitched and focused on the blue sky, he blinked, he sat up in his shroud—and he began to talk. Perhaps his words were mundane—“Mother, you sure look tired. I’m hungry. Who are these people?” Or perhaps it was gloriously exalted.
“The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother” (v. 15). The gray, cold clay of his face flushed with color, his fixed, dilated eyes twitched and focused on the blue sky, he blinked, he sat up in his shroud—and he began to talk. Perhaps his words were mundane—“Mother, you sure look tired. I’m hungry. Who are these people?” Or perhaps it was gloriously exalted.
At any rate, the crowd fell back, and some began to shriek. There was a universal rush of adrenaline. Here and there incredulous voices began to praise God. And his mother? There were still tears, but her wet eyes radiated heavenly light and overwhelming joy as she embraced her only son.
This is a picture of our future as well.
1 Tesalonicenses 4.16–18 RVR60
Porque el Señor mismo con voz de mando, con voz de arcángel, y con trompeta de Dios, descenderá del cielo; y los muertos en Cristo resucitarán primero.Luego nosotros los que vivimos, los que hayamos quedado, seremos arrebatados juntamente con ellos en las nubes para recibir al Señor en el aire, y así estaremos siempre con el Señor.Por tanto, alentaos los unos a los otros con estas palabras.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. ()
The voice that raised that poor, babbling young man from his coffin will be trumpeted into the depths of the sea, into the roots of the mountains, into the diffuse dust and lost molecules of God’s physically dead children—and all who know Christ will hear it!
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. ()
The voice that raised that poor, babbling young man from his coffin will be trumpeted into the depths of the sea, into the roots of the mountains, into the diffuse dust and lost molecules of God’s physically dead children—and all who know Christ will hear it!
Joe and MaryLou Bayly will see Jesus whole! And the entire Bayly clan—mother, father, Danny, John, Joe Jr., Deborah, Tim, David, Nathan, and their own children—will be given to one another. The six small coffins of the children of Scott and Janet Willis will not be able to hold their eternally young bodies as they fly into the embrace of their parents in the presence of Jesus. What a reunion that will be! And best of all, we will all be face to face with Jesus Christ, our Savior!
We will all hear his voice. “Get up, Billy! Get up, Jessica! Get up, Brian! It’s resurrection morning!”
Our Awesome Jesus (vv. 16–17)
As heart-stopping as the resurrection of the widow’s only son was, there was a further revelation in this event for Jesus’ Jewish audience. Over 500 years earlier the prophet Elijah had gone to another small town (Zarephath Sarepta), just as Jesus went to Nain. There he met a widow at the gate of the town, just as Jesus did at Nain. The widow had an only son who became ill and died, as had happened in Nain. The highlight of the story goes like this:
1º Reyes 17.19–24 RVR60
El le dijo: Dame acá tu hijo. Entonces él lo tomó de su regazo, y lo llevó al aposento donde él estaba, y lo puso sobre su cama. Y clamando a Jehová, dijo: Jehová Dios mío, ¿aun a la viuda en cuya casa estoy hospedado has afligido, haciéndole morir su hijo? Y se tendió sobre el niño tres veces, y clamó a Jehová y dijo: Jehová Dios mío, te ruego que hagas volver el alma de este niño a él. Y Jehová oyó la voz de Elías, y el alma del niño volvió a él, y revivió. Tomando luego Elías al niño, lo trajo del aposento a la casa, y lo dio a su madre, y le dijo Elías: Mira, tu hijo vive. Entonces la mujer dijo a Elías: Ahora conozco que tú eres varón de Dios, y que la palabra de Jehová es verdad en tu boca.
Jesus, at the Father’s direction, sovereignly performed a miracle that nearly duplicated Elijah’s. The language of Luke’s account is conclusive because , which records that Jesus “gave him back to his mother,” Y lo dio a su madre. is the same as in , “gave him back to his mother.” y lo dio a su madre
“Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”()
Jesus, at the Father’s direction, sovereignly performed a miracle that nearly duplicated Elijah’s. The language of Luke’s account is conclusive because , which records that Jesus “gave him back to his mother,” Y lo dio a su madre. is the same as in , “gave him back to his mother.” y lo dio a su madre
Y lo dio a su madre. is the same as in , “gave him back to his mother.” y lo dio a su madre
y lo dio a su madre
Not only is the language identical, but the results are similar. There the widow became convinced that Elijah was a “man of God” varón de Dios (a prophet) and that he spoke God’s Word. Here, after Jesus’ miracle we read,
Lucas 7.16 RVR60
Y todos tuvieron miedo, y glorificaban a Dios, diciendo: Un gran profeta se ha levantado entre nosotros; y: Dios ha visitado a su pueblo.
Lucas
Jesus was much more than a great prophet. But ascribing such a title to him was the best the townspeople could do without further revelation. It was a spontaneous chorus of realization that messianic times had fallen on them. Their chorus that “God has come to help his people” Dios ha visitado a su pueblo is similar to what Zechariah had sung in the birth narratives:
“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’ ” (v. 16).
Lucas 1.68 RVR60
Bendito el Señor Dios de Israel, Que ha visitado y redimido a su pueblo,
Dios ha visitado a su pueblo is similar to what Zechariah had sung in the birth narratives: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people” (1:68).
Jesus was much more than a great prophet. But ascribing such a title to him was the best the townspeople could do without further revelation. It was a spontaneous chorus of realization that messianic times had fallen on them. Their chorus that “God has come to help his people” is similar to what Zechariah had sung in the birth narratives: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people” (1:68).
So Jesus had come in Elijah-like power, except for one huge difference: Elijah had to stretch himself over the boy three times while crying to God for help (cf. ). But Jesus had only to speak the word.
Reina Valera Revisada (1960). (1998). (). Miami: Sociedades Bı́blicas Unidas. is similar to what Zechariah had sung in the birth narratives: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people” (1:68).
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people” (1:68).
So Jesus had come in Elijah-like power, except for one huge difference: Elijah had to stretch himself over the boy three times while crying to God for help (cf. ). But Jesus had only to speak the word.
Closing Reflections
How awesome Jesus is!
Awesome Compassion
George Eliot wrote: “If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar that lies on the other side of silence.” Si tuviéramos una visión aguda y un sentimiento de toda la vida humana ordinaria, sería como oír el crecimiento de la hierba y el corazón de la ardilla palpitar, y debemos morir de ese rugido que se encuentra en el otro lado del silencio. It is true, wherever we are in this world, that on the other side of the silence of the people around us a vast roar exists. If we could hear it, the burden would kill us. But Christ’s compassion and redeeming power are sufficient for every need.
There are grieving souls who mourn not only death, but the loss of a relationship. There are rejected men, women, and children who feel worthless. There are the betrayed who are so wounded they fear they can never trust again. There are the depressed for whom a single positive thought is an impossibility.
The hurts and failures of this world are burdens that cannot be borne by anyone except Jesus. But he hears the pain of every voice, and his heart goes out to us, his children, with deep compassion. Are you afflicted and hurting? Jesus hurts with you!
Awesome Power
Not only does he have awesome compassion—he has awesome power to minister to our deepest needs. All he has to do is say “Get up!” levantate and all the dead will rise. The same power is available for us in every trial we encounter.
Further, his power is mediated by his wisdom. He will not do everything we ask, but he will do what is best for our well-being and for his glory. He will bring his mercy and compassion to bear on the points of pain and need in our lives. He will bring healing. He will bring life.
Lucas 7.16–17 RVR60
Y todos tuvieron miedo, y glorificaban a Dios, diciendo: Un gran profeta se ha levantado entre nosotros; y: Dios ha visitado a su pueblo.Y se extendió la fama de él por toda Judea, y por toda la región de alrededor.
God has come to help us! Amen!
Lucas 7:16
“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” (v. 16).
God has come to help us! Amen!
Hughes, R. K. (1998). Luke: that you may know the truth (pp. 260–266). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
In the story of the resuscitation of the widow’s son we see the powerful reversal of death. Jesus deals here with the most fundamental obstacle we will ever face. If death were the end, then there would be no hope in this life or after (). The judgment of God would make no sense, nor would his claim to restore and redeem us. Thus this miracle testifies to a central aspect of Christian hope. Its touching image reminds us that renewal and reunion are not an impossible dream. God promises to restore to life those who know his touch. In Jesus God takes the initiative to accomplish this renewal.
I recall a funeral I attended of one of my former professors. When I was a student, our school had celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his coming to faith in Jesus. On that occasion he spoke of his hope in Jesus, planted in his heart in the 1920s when he was a young man. At the funeral, as speaker after speaker rejoiced at the ministry of his life and in his now being present with the Lord, I reflected on the great hope of overcoming death that we as Christians have, a hope this miracle pictures so vividly.
Even as I write, a six-year-old girl lies dying of leukemia in the hospital, just having lapsed out of a remission that looked so encouraging. Our church community, along with many others in our city, had interceded before the Lord for over eighteen months to spare her. On the one hand, I ask, “Why, Lord, are you taking her so young and so slowly? Why this pain, especially for her parents?” On the other hand, this text reminds me that ultimately God has control over bringing new life out of death and that one day, perhaps soon, should she not recover, this little girl will be free from her pain and present with the Lord.
What this dual reflection about these two dear believers tells me is that whether a saint dies old, after years of testimony, or dies tragically at a young age, the hope of what the miracle of the widow’s son pictures is still vibrantly alive. Death is not the end for those who know him. It involves a transfer into a level of life not known on this earth. While this miracle reminds us of our frailty and mortality, it also shouts out to us about God’s power to raise and transform. No wonder the crowd who saw this miracle was filled with awe. We should be too, as we contemplate his creative power and compassion.
Bock, D. L. (1996). Luke (p. 208). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
And how do we have this hope of eternal life with God? Jesus tells us,
Mateo 16.25 RVR60
Porque todo el que quiera salvar su vida, la perderá; y todo el que pierda su vida por causa de mí, la hallará.
Do you say things like: This is what I want, this is how I think it should be? Do you want to save how your life is? Then you are lose, but if you give all of that up to Jesus. I want to do what you want, I give up my natural ways of doing things to you and take up your ways. Mercy and love.
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