Summary: Uses the story of Jesus' resurrection of the widow's son in Luke 7 to remind us of the joy and difficulty that can come on Mother's Day.
Since today is Mother’s Day, I thought I would begin with some possibilities for a list called “Murphy’s Laws of Parenting.” Murphy’s law is the idea that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. So these are kind of some laws of how things can go wrong for moms or parents in general.
1. The later you stay up, the earlier your child will wake up the next morning.
2. The gooier the food, the more likely it is to end up on the carpet.
3. The longer it takes you to make a meal, the less your child will like it. (Don’t they just love those instant meals?)
4. A sure way to get something done is to tell a child not to do it.
5. For a child to become clean, something else must become dirty.
6. Backing the car out of the driveway causes your child to have to go to the bathroom.
7. A child's greatest period of growth is the month after you've purchased new
8. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word
what you shouldn't have said.
Do any of these sound familiar? There are probably more we could add to that as well. Moms and dads have to handle a lot of frustrating and difficult situations. So we need to be sure to thank our moms today.
This morning I want us to take a look at a mother probably facing the worse thing a parent can face, and having Jesus turn around that situation. This is the story in the passage from Luke that I read this morning. This passage is probably not one of the most well know passages of the Bible. I honestly do not remember studying it before. I am sure I have read it before, but I don’t know that I had paid much attention to it. I just stumbled upon it this week as I looked at passages with mothers in them, but thought it was worth our attention today.
This story happens just after the Luke version of the Sermon on the Mount. We spent Lent looking at the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew, which is three chapters long, but in Luke’s version it is less than a chapter long. Luke apparently did not think we needed everything that Matthew included. So Luke’s version is in chapter 6 and then in chapter 7 there is a story of a person being healed by Jesus, and then he is moving on to the next town. And that town’s name is Nain, which means pleasant.
Jesus and his crowd of followers are heading into the city as another crowd meets them on their way out. Jesus is being followed by his 12 disciples, but then many other people are following him as well. He has just given them some inspired teaching and then Jesus heals the servant of a centurion without even seeing or touching the servant. So this crowd around Jesus is just buzzing with excitement and anticipation for what Jesus will do next.
Then at the city gate they run into a different kind of crowd. This crowd is probably just as noisy as the joyous crowd around Jesus, but this crowd is not happy, they are mourning. There were probably people crying and wailing because this was a funeral procession.
A mother may have been leading this crowd because it was her one and only son who had died. There is nothing I can think of that would be worse on a parent than to have to bury their own child. We know this is not the way God intended life to be, but we also know that the reality is that too often this happens. And it was happening to this woman in Nain. She and the body of her son were in the midst of this crowd heading out of the city to the cemetery.
And to make things worse for her, we are also told she was a widow. The way a family survived back in these times was through the work of the men. The women could do things around the home, but the men provided the income and necessities to live. This son had most likely been supporting this mother. This son had been her means of survival and her hope for the future. With her husband gone and now her only son, she would be in a very difficult place. Luke mentions this situation for the woman to let us know the weight that this crowd would have felt in their procession.
Jesus and his crowd notice this funeral procession coming and they probably reverently stepped aside. I imagine they had such a larger crowd that they probably had to split in two and parted like the Red Sea and this woman and her mourning crowd would have had to go right between them. I don’t who that would be more awkward for. Would Jesus’ crowd have been embarrassed or mortified for having been laughing and joking and then all of sudden they try to be quiet and respectful for this families loss? Or would this mother and her crowd felt like they were ruining the day for other people? They were sad, but then to interfere and walk through a gathering of joyful people adds a little extra frustration to the situation.