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Summary: For the believer, dying is not a grim prospect.

Dying is a Day Worth Living For

July 25, 2010


A Story

1 Cemeteries were always outside of town.

a Private & public burying places-private burials were chiefly in gardens & caves.

b Water courses, public roads were not allowed to pass through them; sheep were not allowed to graze in cemeteries.

aa No eating, drinking, could not read or even walk irreverently among them.

bb Went there to mourn & pray

2 The body was carried out in either an open wooden casket, or on a wooden plank. (If under a month old, carried out in their mother’s arms, under 12 months on a bed or stretcher).

a Typically, a person was buried the day they died, per Jewish custom.

b Wrapped in a white robe or linen from head to toe (temple garments without pockets-you leave this world with nothing).

aa Males were buried with their prayer cloth (tallit) draped over him with the fringes cut off.

bb Symbolize that his earthly call to keep the commandments is no longer binding.

3 There was a set order to the funeral procession (today: lead car, hearse, pallbearers, family, friends).

a In Judea, the mourners & musicians would have gone before the body, but in Galilee they followed the body.

aa Women led the procession-why? Rabbinical teachings is that since women brought death into the world, they should lead the funeral procession.

bb Then the bier, plank, open casket

cc Followed by the mourners

B Jesus’ trip to Nain wouldn’t have been but about six miles (half a day’s journey) from His home in Nazareth.

1 As He and His disciples near the city gates, they ran into a funeral procession.

2 As He approached the gate, the procession was leaving in two groups:

a One going to the cemetery: place of death, loss, waiting, anguish

b The other is going to the city to be with Jesus: fellowship, presence, joy

c Spiritually speaking, every one of us falls into one of these groups today.

3 In Scripture, whenever Jesus showed up for a funeral, He always broke it up.

a 3 resurrections in His ministry: a young child (Jairus’ daughter), a young man, and an adult man (Lazarus).

b Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd.12 Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her.13 When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep."14 And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!"15 The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.16 Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and, "God has visited His people!"17 This report concerning Him went out all over Judea and in all the surrounding district. Luke 7:11-17 (NASB)

I Jesus ministers to the broken heart.

A In the Ancient Near East, there was no public aid, life insurance, social programs in place to help widows or orphans.

1 The woman was a widow with only one son (he was her protector, provider; now he’s gone, & she’s all alone).

a Many scholars believe Jesus performed this miracle so Momma would be taken care of...probably had something to do with it...but that’s not all of it.

b He saw her first, & His heart went out to her. His eye affected His heart.

c When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep." The Message: “pitied her”, The Living Bible: “His heart overflowed with sympathy”, NIV: “His heart went out to her”.

2 It was/is a Jewish funeral custom for mourners to rip/rend their clothes as a sign of sorrow.

a In an inner garment, the mourner ripped the top of the garment about 4" down (13 days later you were allowed to mend it...with one exception).

aa If you were a parent burying a child, you never mended your garment.

bb Really no getting over losing a child.

cc Crying out to God, desperation

b I believe Jesus saw her broken heart. He operated on a divine timetable as He obeyed the will of the Father & was exactly where He needed to be at the right time to minister to this woman.

B Jesus always ministers when we need it most! Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb 4:16 (NASB)

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