Scripture: Luke 7:11-17
11 Soon afterward he went to a city called Na'in, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." 14 And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." 15 And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and "God has visited his people!" 17 And this report concerning him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.
Meditation: How do you respond when you meet misfortune? In a number of places the gospel records that Jesus was "moved to the depths of his heart." Our English word "compassion" is a weak translation of the Hebrew word for "sympathy". Why was Jesus so moved on this occasion? Jesus not only grieved the untimely death of a youth, but he showed the depth of his concern for a woman who lost not only a husband, but an only child as well. The scriptures make clear that God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone (see Ezekiel 33:11); he desires life, not death. Jesus not only had compassion, he also had power -- the ability to restore life and make whole again.
Jesus, however, incurred grave risk by approaching the bier, since contact with a dead body made one ritually impure. His touch not only restored life but brought freedom and wholeness to soul as well as body. This miracle took place near the spot where the prophet Elisha raised another mother's son (see 2 Kings 4:18-37). Jesus claimed as his own one whom death had seized as its prey. By his word of power he restored life for a lad marked for death. Jesus is Lord not only of the living but of the dead as well. Jesus triumphed over the grave and he promises that because he lives, we also shall live in him (John 14:19). Do you trust in the Lord's power to give life and hope in the face of misfortune and despair?
"Lord, your presence brings life and restores us to wholeness of mind, body, and spirit. Speak your word to me and give me renewed hope, strength and courage to follow you in all things and to eagerly serve others with a glad and generous heart."by Don Schwager