Summary: Reminding us of the Christian hope we have as we see how Jesus confronts the death of a young man
When Two Worlds Collide 17th February 2008
With television cameras rolling a brand new car is propelled down a track into a concrete barrier. Smash! It’s Air bags explode. Crash dummies recoil from the impact. Metal flies!
The test is repeated on dozens of new cars. Why this waste of cars?
Researchers are trying to learn from the collisions so as to make cars safer for the times when real people are involved in real accidents.
This week in the UK you may have heard in the news about new technology whereby a laser is put in the bonnet of a car so when it senses another vehicle in front it automatically brakes.
Some collisions in life can’t be avoided however,
This morning we’re going to be thinking about another kind of collision as we look together at the story of Jesus Luke recorded for us in Luke 7:11.
I’m calling the Message “When Two Worlds Collide”
1. WHERE JOY COLLIDES WITH SORROW v11-12
v11 Soon afterwards, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 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.
There were two crowds – two processions in this story
i) A large Joyful Crowd travelling with Jesus who is the centre of their attention
Some were his disciples – others, people who’d been affected by Jesus’ ministry
Walked with him 20 miles from Capernaum in the north going south
These were people who were strongly motivated - with faith growing in their hearts
Seen the Demon cast out in the synagogue. Heard of Peters m-in-law healed
Present at sunset as so many sick oppressed and demonised were made whole
Witnessed the Leper being cleansed & Man through the roof healed and forgiven!
They’d heard about the Centurions servant being saved from the brink of death
Knew about Jesus welcome for outcasts like lepers and tax collectors
Heard about the blessings of belonging to God’s Kingdom
Been mesmerised by his teaching in the sermon on the mount
This was all new and exciting it was something to be joyful about and celebrate.
They travel to Nain – more a village than town – like in hills of Italy or Greece
It’s name meant “pleasant” and it was – being set on the n.w. hillside of Moreh
overlooking a plain with Mt Tabor to the north and Mt Gilboa behind it
Never found evidence of a town gate – probably means they reach the houses
This is where the collision happens – because coming the opposite way is another crowd!
ii) A Sad crowd whose main focus is the dead body of a young man
The body was carried, not so much in a coffin (NIV) but a bier or stretcher probably wrapped up in a shroud as was custom. They were on their way to the cemetery.
Since the death was that of a young man I suspect the whole village turned out
Their focus was on the tragedy that had befallen a widow who’d already lost her husband
Sadness is more poignant – it’s not the natural way for a mother to bury her son
Their thoughts are full of sadness and grief as they share the loss together and tears flow
Their world’s dark & gloomy there’s no joy in their hearts only sadness & questions! Why?
So these two worlds collide.
These two crowds reflect our own experience – One hand- discovery & faith finding joy in our hearts in meeting Jesus - experiencing the blessings of his kingdom in our lives
But on the other hand - Sadness, maybe as in this story due to losing a loved one
Or may be sadness through sickness, a broken relationship, a deep disappointment, a serious issue at work, a missed opportunity, a financial problem.
Whatever the cause, it was a world of sadness where it’s hard to believe or feel joyful.
The good news is that at this point of collision the joy of Jesus breaks into the sadness
This is the place where transformation takes place.
If you’re in a sad place this morning I encourage you to look to Jesus – to meet him here!
There’s another collision here in this story
2. WHERE COMPASSION COLLIDES WITH DESPAIR v13
v13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don’t cry."
It doesn’t take much does it, to feel something of this woman’s despair in this situation?
With no social security or benefits to back her up - she depends heavily on her husband for support and if he dies, as in this case, she looks to others in her family to care for her.