Summary: Jesus is able to change even the most hopeless situations. This message is to bring hope to those who are struggling to hold on.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE FOR JESUS
Luke 7:11-16 KJV And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. (12) Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. (13) And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. (14) And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. (15) And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. (16) And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
All of us have come across situations, either in our lives or the lives of someone else that appear to be hopeless. Too often we shake our heads and we react with pity when we encounter someone else that has found themselves in such a situation, and when it is we ourselves, we often give into despair. Despair is a crushing weight that seemingly squeezes the life out of us. The dictionary defines despair as “the complete loss or absence of hope, to lose or be without hope.” This is where every day appears to be same with no change. Life appears hopeless. One person said, “Losing your life is not the worst thing that can happen. The worst thing is to lose your reason for living.” How well this echoes the sounds of despair!
The young son of the Chaplin to King George II, was a man that was familiar with despair. He suffered from mental illness and spent a significant portion of his adult life in mental institutions of his day. At age 32, he was nominated to a position that required a public examination. He grew fearful of that and tried to commit suicide three times--and nearly succeeded. He was taken to a mental asylum where he stayed for eighteen months. While he was there however, he was converted while reading the book of Romans. He was later released into the care of a minister by the name of Urwin. While there, he became friends with a pastor by the name of John Newton. Newton encouraged the young man to serve the poor and write, which he did. However the young man eventually relapsed, in which he again attempted suicide. He appeared to live a life of despair yet he became at the forefront of the English poets and was a great hymn writer. His name was William Cowper, who wrote such words as “There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s vein, and sinners plunged beneath it’s flood, lose all their guilty stains. “He also wrote “GOD moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm.” Yet because of his mental state, he often lived in despair.
In Luke seven, we find that Jesus had come upon a woman that must have been in despair. No doubt she felt hopeless, yet she discovered that with Jesus, it is never too late.
I. NOTE THE WIDOW’S CONDITION.
A. First she was a widow.
1. This was a desperate condition. As a widow, she had no husband to support her. We are not told how long she was a widow just that she was.
2. The plight of widows was difficult in that time. There were no social programs to give her financial aid. The life of a widow was filled with hard work just to have something to eat for the day. The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy the only social program for widows.
Deu 24:19-21 KJV When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. (20) When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. (21) When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
3. From the book of Ruth, we gather a lot about how widows in Israel did to just survive. Ruth tells the story of Naomi, who had lost her husband, and her sons. She moved back to Israel from Moab, back to her home town of Bethlehem, where her daughter in law Ruth, went into the fields every day to gleam grain so they could eat every night. If not for the younger Ruth, it would have been Naomi in the fields. This was hard work and can you image for an ages widow, how hard it must have been.