Summary: In this passage Luke shares with us the Power of Four Important Things - 1. The Power of Universal Death 2. The Power of Love 3. The Power of Tears and 4. The Power of Life which comes through Christ Jesus
Title: New Life in Nain
Sermon: In this passage Luke shares with us the Power of Four Important Things - 1. The Power of Universal Death 2. The Power of Love 3. The Power of Tears and 4. The Power of Life which comes through Christ Jesus .
Many years ago a young pastor1 was getting ready to do preach his first funeral message. He was a little nervous and wanted it to be just right, so he decided the best way to do that was to see how Jesus handled funeral services. If anyone could show him what to say or what to do, it would be Jesus. As he began his search the Gospels the young man quickly noticed a pattern that emerged concerning Jesus. Jesus attended marriage celebrations, he attended all kinds of parties but there is no record of Jesus ever conducting a funeral service.
The young man did discover that on three different occasions when Jesus could have been at a funeral or at least attended a memorial service that Jesus interrupted everything by bringing the dead person back to life.
+St. Matthew shares with us the story of how Jesus brought Jarius' daughter back to life (Matthew 9:18-26)
+St. John shares with us the story of how Jesus called Lazarus back from the dead after four days. (John 11:38-44)
+And in our passage here in St. Luke shares with our story of how Jesus stops the funeral proceedings, comforts the grieving mother and then brings her son back to life. Our story predates those of Matthew and John. This is the very first time that we see Jesus bringing someone back from the dead.
The background of our story is quite intriguing. Just a few days earlier, Luke tells us that Jesus had been preaching and teaching around the city of Capernaum. The city of Capernaum served as Jesus' missions headquarters. It was the home of several of his disciples (Matthew, James, John, Peter and Andrew) and it was an ideal location to meet and greet large groups of people. Capernaum was both a thriving economical center and an important military outpost. Caravans and travelers from all over the area would stop by Capernaum to restock their supplies and rest.
While Jesus was there, Luke tells us that He miraculously healed a centurion's dying slave. This centurion was one of the most important men of that area. He was responsible for keeping the peace and making sure everyone stayed safe.
He was a great friend of the Jewish elders and had even been a key player in helping them build their synagogue. They had been the ones that had gone to Jesus to see if He could do anything for the young man. It's a remarkable story of faith, love and humility.
Jesus heals the young man which causes quite a buzz. As a result a large crowd of people began to follow Jesus and His disciples. They wanted to know more about this man named Jesus who could not only heal but who would even heal a Gentile's dying slave. They wanted to learn more about Him and His Message of God's Grace and Salvation.
In verse 11, Luke tells us that Jesus decided that it is time to go on another missionary tour and so he set off for the small community of Nain which was located about 20 -25 miles southwest of Capernaum. A large crowd of people decide to go with him. Perhaps they wanted to learn more about him or to see if he will perform another great miracle. If that was the case then as we read they were not disappointed. If they thought healing that centurion's servant was a great miracle then what they were about to see would amaze them even more. And it did!
As they walked mile after mile Jesus taught them and shared with them about the Kingdom of God. He probably taught them the Sermon on the Mount or something very similar. The trip from Capernaum to Nain would have taken a few days as Jesus would stop and teach, they would share a meal, rest and then go on. Traveling 20 - 25 miles back then would have taken at least 2 - 3 days.
Verse 12 tells us that just as Jesus and his followers were going up the hill into the city's gates they encountered a group of people coming down out of the city. It was a funeral procession. Located right on the outskirts of the town was a line of burial caves where the residents of Nain would burying their dead and these people were going to lay their loved one to rest.
We understand that Jesus and his followers quickly learned about the tragic circumstances that surround this funeral. It involved a widow who had not only had to endure the loss of her husband but is now on her way to burying her only son. The young man doubtless had been the sole caretaker of his mother. Since his father's death, it had been his responsibility to provide for her a home and take care of her needs. But now he is dead and her future is bleak at best. She will have to depend on the love and generosity of others. Both sorrow and uncertainty fill the air. This story begins as one of the saddest stories of grief and sorrow that we find in the New Testament. No woman ever wants to bury her husband much less have to bury her only son.