June 05, 2017

Pastor Bernt P. Tweit

Old Testament Lesson; 1 Kings 17:17-24

Epistle Lesson; Galatians 1:11-24

Sermon Text; Luke 7:11-17

The Word of God we focus on is taken from Luke chapter 7, looking at verses 11-17

God's Word says:

Soon afterward He went to a town called Nain, and His disciples and a great crowd went with Him. As He drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited His people!” And this report about Him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

This is God's Word.

When an elderly person dies, we are thankful for their death. When somebody lives to be 80 years old, or 90 years old, or more, we are thankful for the long life God has given to them, and we are thankful God has taken him, or her to be with Him in Heaven. That may not necessarily be the case, though, when somebody who is young dies. We may wonder, “Why did God take this person so early away from us?” It seems like we are robbed from life.

Well, such is the case today, as we see a young man who dies. But, we see the result of it, from our text for today. We are going to see Jesus, as He raises the widow of Nain's son, and brings him from death to life.

       -It is a precursor of Easter Morning, as Jesus raises Himself from death.

       -For all of us today, it is a reminder that Jesus will raise us from our sin, and the day will come, when Jesus will raise us up from death.

I think the best way to tackle our text for today is to just look at it, point by point, because there are so many things that are taking place in our text for today.

It begins with the two words, “Soon afterward...”. Really, the Greek there says, “The next day”. We need to be reminded of what happened right before our text. It is Pastor Bartel's sermon from last week - Jesus, as He heals the Centurion's servant. Remember there was a Roman Centurion. That meant he was in charge of one hundred people. That Roman Centurion knew what authority was. He would tell those under his authority, “Go”, and they would go. He would say to others, “Come”, and they would come.

But, here this Centurion was in a helpless situation. He knew he could not do anything about it. His servant was sick. But, he knew Jesus has power. He knew Jesus has authority. And so, he came to Jesus, and said, “Don't come to my house, but just speak the word and my servant will be healed.”

Jesus spoke the word, and at that very hour the Centurion's servant was healed.

This is now the very next day. Jesus had traveled 20 to 25 miles, from Capernaum, which is where He was the day before, to where He now is today, in the city of Nain. He is traveling 20 to 25 miles south, and a little bit west, to this town called Nain, which is pretty close by to where Jesus grew up in Nazareth.

Notice who is with Jesus. It is not just Himself, but His twelve disciples are with Him, and a great crowd. So, this crowd who had seen what had taken place in Capernaum, the healing of the Centurion's servant, is now with Jesus in Nain.

That is just one of the two processions today.

Go to the next verse, verse 12.

“As He drew near to the gate of town,

behold, a man who had died was being carried out,

the only son of his mother, and she was a widow,

and a considerable crowd from the town was with her.”

So, Jesus and His procession of 12 disciples, and a great crowd, were going into the city of Nain, meeting at the gate. Lo and behold, what was coming out? It was a funeral procession. It was a funeral procession of a young man who had died, his mother, and a considerable crowd.

Notice some of the words. It says, “she was a widow”. And so, that meant some time before this, we are not sure when, she had gone through this once before, because her husband had died. She had been in a funeral procession before, as her husband died, and was carried out on a stretcher, through the gate, and buried in the country.

Now her son, and notice what it says there, “the only son” dies. Her protector is no longer there. Her providers are no longer there. Do you think this widow was suffering? Do you think this widow was filled with grief? The answer is, “Yes”, not only because her husband had passed away, but now her only begotten son had passed away.

There is a considerable crowd with her. That is when these two processions collide, meeting one another in the gate of the city of Nain. But, notice what the next verse goes on to say. It is an interesting choice of words that Luke uses, here. To this point, Luke has said Jesus went to a town called Nain. Jesus drew near to the gate of the town. But notice what verse 13 says.

“And when the Lord saw her...”

It doesn't say, “When Jesus saw her”. It says, “When the Lord saw her”. Jesus, who is not just a man, but Jesus, who is also God. Jesus, who is Lord. Jesus, who is Master.

Jesus saw her,

and had compassion on her.

Sometimes in English we may say, “My heart goes out to you, because of what you are suffering”. “Our hearts go out to you, because of what you are enduring.” It is the Greek word, here, that gets pretty visceral. The Greek word actually means, “His gut moved”. His gut moved. Have you ever seen somebody who has been suffering so much that your heart goes out to them? It may even be to the point you have a hurting feeling in your stomach, because of the suffering another person is enduring. That is exactly what happened to Jesus. Jesus, who is Man, yes, but Jesus who is God – His gut was moved. His heart went out to her. He had compassion on her. What did Jesus say? He said,

“Do not weep”.

Now, if you were trying to comfort somebody else who is going through a time of suffering, you may be there, to be present with them. You may be there, to be a shoulder to cry on. You may be there, to share words of comfort with them. But, would you say, “Do not weep”? It probably isn't going to help the situation out very much, will it? But, that is what Jesus says, because He wants the widow to understand what is about to take place. As these two processions meet each other at the city gate, at the gate of the city of Nain, it is Jesus who stops the funeral procession, right in its tracks. Jesus goes up to the bier (Now, I am not talking about something you drink, but we would think in terms of a casket, or coffin.) Actually, the word 'bier' means 'stretcher'. So, think more in terms of a stretcher. The young man who had died was wrapped in linens, put on a stretcher, and is being carried out of the gate of the city of Nain. Jesus stops the bier in its tracks, and says,

“Young man, I say to you, arise.”

When is the last time someone ever spoke to somebody who had died, and said, “Arise”, and it took place? It has never happened before. But, Jesus speaks with so much power, and so much authority, that death has to listen to His voice. And, the young man did sit up! The young man did arise!

Jesus gave the only begotten son of this widow back to her. And, not only was she filled with so much joy, but everybody in the crowd was filled with joy - the twelve disciples, the crowd with Jesus, and the funeral procession. They were filled with so much joy that they feared God, and said,

“A great prophet has arisen among us!

God has visited His people!”

They spread what had happened throughout Judea, and the surrounding countryside. They recognized what had taken place. I wonder if they thought about our Old Testament Lesson in which Elijah had raised the widow of Zarephath's son. He didn't do that under his own accord, but he called upon God's name to bring that widow of Zarephath's son back to life.

So, how were the people that day to know who Jesus was? How were they to know if His words had power, and if they had authority? Well, in The Old Testament, God had shared with the people. “This is how you are to know if the person who is speaking is a prophet, or not.” This is Deuteronomy 18.

“You may say to yourselves, 'How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD, and if what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place, or come true. That is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.”

But the counter is true of that as well.

“If what the prophet says does come true,

you are to believe he is someone

who has been sent by God.”

What Jesus said, came true.

His Word had power.

His Word had authority.

Jesus spoke to death, and death needed to listen to the power, and authority of His voice. God had visited His people, and they spread the word concerning what had been said.

Today, as we gather together for worship, we need to understand and know that we really need to place ourselves in that funeral procession. It is a procession of death, and sorrow, because of sin.

But, does Jesus care for you? Does Jesus have compassion for you? The answer is, “Yes!” Here is what Psalm 103 says about the compassion the Lord has for you.

“As a father has compassion on his children,

so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him,

for He knows how we are formed,

and He remembers we are but dust.”

Just as an earthly father has compassion on his children, so it is with Jesus, who has compassion on you in any situation you are going through in life. Today, in our text, we see the compassion Jesus has on a widow, as He brings life back from death. But that is a reminder to you that Jesus has compassion on you and on me. It is Jesus who has raised us up from our sin. It is Jesus, our Savior, who will raise us up from death.

Remember that son was the only begotten son of the widow. Does that remind you of another only begotten Son? It should. It is Jesus, your Savior, who has compassion on you. It is God, our Heavenly Father who has compassion on you.

       -God, our Heavenly Father, sees our suffering.

       -He sees our hurting.

       -He sees our sorrows.

       -He feels our sorrows.

So, what did He do?

“God so loved the world that

He gave His only, begotten Son.

Whoever believes in Him,

shall not perish,

but have everlasting life.”

It was Jesus, who after His friend Lazarus died, was speaking words of comfort to Martha, when He said,

“I am the resurrection and the life.

He who believes in Me will live,

even though He dies,

and whoever lives and believes in Me

will never die.”

It is in 1st Corinthians, chapter 15, the great Resurrection Chapter in scripture where it says,

“Where oh death is your victory?

Where oh death is your sting?

The sting of death is sin.

The power of sin is the Law.

But, thanks be to God,

He gives us the victory,

through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It is the Apostle Paul, in his day, who said,

“We do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep,

or who grieve like the rest of men,

who have no hope.

We believe that Jesus died and rose again.

And so, we believe God will bring,

with Jesus

those who have fallen asleep in Him.”

When we don't see a solution to our problems, we may get mad at God, because we don't think there is a solution. I am going to say that again.

When we don't see a solution,

with the struggles we are going through in life,

we may get mad at God.

We can get mad at God even though we shouldn't, but we sometimes do, because we don't think there is a solution. The situation the widow was in from today's text was a helpless situation. It was a hopeless situation. I am sure the widow did not see the solution Jesus had planned. But, what happened? Jesus showed up, didn't He? Jesus resolved the problem.

When you and I are going through hardships, difficulties, and sufferings in life, do you know what you need? Do you know what we need? We need Jesus to show up.

Jesus does show up.

He shows up through His Word.

He comes to you, through the power and authority He has in His Word. And, just as today, He spoke the Word, and that young man rose up from death. And then, Jesus gave him back to his mother.

So also, when Jesus speaks His Word of authority, and when He speaks His Word of power, it is true.

Jesus raises the widow of Nain's son back to life from death today. It is a precursor of Easter, when Jesus raises Himself from death. But remember, remember, Jesus raises us up from our sin. Jesus raises us up from death.

So now, what is our response? Because we know the authority, and power Jesus has over death, what is our response to what Jesus has done for us? The response of the people in that crowd that day was they feared God. They spread the Word concerning what had been told them.

May we do the same thing.

We know what Jesus, our Savior has done for us.

       -He has forgiven all of our sin, through His death on the cross.

       -He has given us everlasting life in Heaven.

May our response be the same. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we fear, love, and trust in God above all things. And we spread, and share with everyone what our Savior, Jesus, has done for us, in raising us up.