Summary: If we will have faith, Jesus can resurrect areas of our life we have written off as dead, gone, over, or impossible.
First, there was the agony of Jairus over his young daughter. Then Mary and Martha mourn for their brother Lazarus. These people all shared something in common. They dealt with the unexpected Death of a family member.
In fact, both situations had Jesus at the center of attention. In both cases, Jesus reassures those who are crushed in spirit and in deep sorrow.
Jesus reassures Jairus, in Mark 5:36, “Don’t be afraid; Just believe!” Then, standing right outside the gravesite, Martha is inspired by the words of Jesus in John 11:25, where he said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.”
I like those words: will live, even after dying! This message reassures us, that Jesus is the conquering King over death and the grave. This is what makes our passage today in Luke so powerful. Death, once again, succumbs to the authority of Jesus Christ.
The Scripture never tells us what exactly caused the boy to die nor do we know his age. All we know is that we have a funeral procession on the way to the grave to bury the young man. A son is dead and his mother grieves.
What makes the story even harder to bear is knowing the woman is a widow. She has obviously suffered the death of her husband and now stands all alone with the remnants of her family in a coffin.
Unlike Jairus, who begs for Jesus to heal his daughter, and Martha who scolds Jesus as to why he didn’t save her brother, we have none of that in this passage.
The poor widow is focused on the journey towards the cemetery where her son will be buried. I am sure she was too overcome with grief to even notice Jesus amongst the crowd of those heading to the gravesite.
The Scriptures tell us that Jesus came forward and “touched” the coffin. The Greek word used for “touched” actually means “to fasten to” or “to adhere to.” So, I am sure Jesus literally walked up “grabbed” on to the coffin.
No wonder the passage says “those carrying the coffin stood still!” Jesus had no intent on being another pall-bearer. He just wants them to stop the procession. He has something to give to the widow.
After all, Jesus had been moved by the raw emotions of a mother who has lost both husband and son. Verse 13, tells us “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her.” His great compassion and deep, heart-felt love causes him to approach the coffin and speak to her.
Jesus gently assures her by saying “don’t cry.” Jesus is not being insensitive or rude as if he thinks she should “suck it up” and “be strong” during this horrific moment. I think Jesus is saying “there is no need to mourn for the dead because he isn’t going to be dead for much longer.”
Jesus reassures the mother and says in verse 14, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The Greek verb for “say” means to command or direct. In full authority over death, Jesus commands the boy to “Get up!”
The Greek Verb for “Get up” means “arouse from sleep” or “recall from death.” Jesus knew exactly what he was doing. He was in full control of taking authority over what took the life of this boy. He literally expelled death, recalled the life of this boy and gave it back.
Upon hearing the command “arise” the boy literally sits up and begins to speak. He’s alive! The people are filled with awe and begin praising God.
Although, we are not told what was said, I wonder if the boy recited the words of Psalm 30:2-4, “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name.”
As quickly as he arose, Jesus is just as expedient with helping the boy out of the coffin and back on his feet. He lovingly guides the boy in the direction of his mother and as verse 15 says, “gave him back to his mother.”
The Greek verb “Gave” implies the “bestowing of a gift” or “to give back what had already belonged.” Indeed! The mother receives a Gift from Jesus! The mother is able to get back what had previously belonged to her: Her son!
Does this sound like something we want Jesus to do in a particular situation in our life today? Do we have a situation where we feel vulnerable? Maybe we feel trapped and powerless in the face of circumstances outside of our control? Possibly, we feel defeated because life isn’t turning out the way we hoped?