Summary: Jesus’ attitude to death and life

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When Death Collides With Life - Luke 7:11-17

Gladstone Baptist Church - 3/7/05 am

Last week we spoke about an amazing display of great faith. Do you remember - Jesus healed the Centurion’s servant and the outcome was tremendous for all concerned ...

- The Slave lived

- The Centurion was honored as a man of Great faith

- Jesus was glorified and

- I’m sure that as word got out, the Crowds were amazed.

This was becoming a habit for Jesus in Capernaum. He constantly amazed people by his miracles.

Today, I want to look at the next recorded event of Jesus’ ministry in Luke 7:11-17

11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out-the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

14 Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea a and the surrounding country.

We read that after a short stay in Capernaum, Jesus traveled on to a town called Nain. Nain was located about 8km from Nazareth or about 35km from Capernaum. It was a couple of days walk and we are told that accompanying him were his disciples and a large crowd. Jesus had quite a following of people now who had seen some of the things that he had been doing and were completely AMAZED by them. They had never seen such miracles and they were excited by them.

This crowd of people were buzzing with EXCITEMENT, wondering what this miracle worker would do next. They were jubilant, they were FULL OF LIFE, yes maybe a bit tired because they’d walked all day, but they were happy, full of ANTICIPATION AND HOPE. They were loving life.

But as this bustling crowd approach the gates of this town, they collide with another crowd which is completely different. The crowd accompanying Jesus is laughing and joking having a great time. They are full of life, but the crowd they collide with is just the opposite. This second crowd was part of a FUNERAL PROCESSION and they were CRYING, wailing, mourning and GRIEVING. Totally the opposite of the first crowd

We are told that a son of a widow had died. I don’t know about you, but while all funerals are sad, some are more tragic than others. Often, when an elderly person dies we are thankful for the long life they were given and for the fact that their struggle with old age has ended. But when someone in the prime of his or her life dies, or when a young person dies we are not nearly as accepting of it. A death of a young person seems unfair. We read here that a mother was burying her son. While we don’t know how old the dead son was, we can assume that he wasn’t that old. The Average Life Expectancy of people in the first century was about 40 years of age. This means that although it is possible for this woman was old and therefore her son was old too, it is likely that she was not very old and her son was YOUNG. Her son was probably too young to be married anyway because there is no mention of a wife or children, just his mother. And so there was great sadness associated with this funeral and it is likely that nearly the whole town were in this funeral procession to grieve with this widow.

The other thing that adds a measure of misery to funerals is the circumstances of those who were closest to the deceased. Their sadness and their future may also touch the hearts of those who are in attendance at the funeral. This mum, we are told was a widow and this was her only son. She was LEFT ALONE. She had already buried her husband some time ago and now she was burying her only son. This had several consequences for this woman. Firstly, the family name or blood line was now extinguished. And secondly, there was not a very bright future ahead for her. In the first century, there was no welfare system and it was not very easy at all for women to earn a living. Women were by and large dependant on the males in their families for support. This woman didn’t have any males left to support her and so she faced a short-term misery of the funeral and a long-term misery of trying to survive with no companionship and no financial support until the day she would be buried in that cemetery also.

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