Summary: An Exposition of Luke 7:11-17
The God Who Makes House Calls
Perhaps you’ve heard the story about the debate between an atheist and a Christian. The atheist begins, “I can sum up the truth with one simple statement” He walks to a board and writes this “GOD IS NOWWHERE.” As he sat down the Christian stares at the board and replied, to the audience’s shock, “I think I can agree with my friend here, at least on this statement.” He walked up to the blackboard and added one small change and now the sentence read "GOD IS NOW HERE."
One of the great doctrines of Christianity is the idea that wherever we are, God is now here. Theologians call this doctrine the omnipresence of God, and it is found over and over in the words of Scripture.
Ps 139:7-8 7Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
The Bible makes it clear God is everywhere. But at the same time, the Bible speaks of God “visiting” people at specific times, in specific places---people like Abraham and Sarah, Jacob, King David, and even the entire nation of Israel. These “visits” seem to be special times when somebody needs God’s help, when God, in a sense which I will explain later, God makes a “house call.”
I want to look at one of God’s “house calls” He makes in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ this morning. I want us to look at this incident because I believe God still makes house calls this morning, and that perhaps you and I need Him to come and pay us a visit today. This particular incident occurs in Luke 7: 11-17.
The story opens with a large crowd of people traveling down a dusty road from the city of Capernaum to the small town of Nain. In the middle of this crowd of travelers is the man Jesus, surrounded by His disciples and others who tag along for various reasons, listening to Him teach, maybe looking for another miracle, maybe just wanting to be part of what was going on.
As Jesus and the crowd get to the gates of the city, another crowd meets them coming out. They are led by one lonely, weeping woman, leading a funeral procession for her one and only son. They are headed out to the cemetery for the burial, and then the final goodbye.
Today if you meet a funeral procession on the highway, you pull over out of respect. In Jesus’ day if you were walking and met a funeral leaving the city, you stood to the side of the road with your head bowed, and waited out of respect. Often you might join the procession if you wanted to offer even greater respect. So I imagine when Jesus’ crowd realizes what’s happening, they stand over to the side to let the funeral procession through.
But Jesus doesn’t stand aside. He stands in the middle of the road, staring at this weeping widow. Luke is very specific in vs. 13: the Lord saw her…
With all those people crowding around him, all that crowd following her, Jesus zeroes in on this grieving mother and He sees her, and,Luke tells us He had compassion on her…
Commentator William Barclay elaborates on what Jesus felt:
Jesus was moved to the depths of his heart. There is no stronger word in the Greek language for sympathy and again and again in the gospel story it is used of Jesus
What did Jesus see as He looked at this widow?
Maybe He sees the burden of grief she still carries for her long dead husband, how maybe the only thing that helps her survive after he dies is reminding herself over and over again at least I still have my boy! Perhaps He sees the worry she feels when her son takes ill, how she does everything she knows to nurse him back to health, but he just gets worse and worse. Maybe He sees that last night, as she prays for a miracle, holding him in her arms, begging God to spare him, begging him not to go, until finally he breathes his last breath, his body goes limp, and she knows he is gone.
In one moment, Jesus sees this woman’s grief and felt it in His own great heart. And His heart breaks for her.
Have you ever noticed how Jesus seems to be drawn to broken-hearted people? Lepers, prostitutes, sad, sick, or sinful shattered people. That ought not to surprise us, because the Bible says in
Ps 34:18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.(are crushed in spirit)