Devotional 38: He had Compassion

Luke 7:11-17

Jesus Raises the son of the Widow of Nain

11 Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. 12 And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man 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 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.

16 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”17 And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

Here in the United States, we have acronyms of exclusion: NOK (Not Our Kind) and NIMBY (Not In My Backyard).We want no proximity with the unpleasant. We don’t want to sup with the unfortunate, much less was their feet.

Yet the Lord Jesus says this: (Matthew 25:34-40)

  34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

There are those who toil in the background, unseen and unsung, unknown and uncared for, taken for granted, whose names we don’t ask and never know. There are those readily helping people without question, the thought of cost or usury, or getting anything back in return. It is these who will enter into the Savior’s rest, glorified and lifted by the Savior Himself.

The most striking thing about this was something I heard from Pr. Alistair Begg, who preached that in this particular story no one asked Jesus to do anything. It seemed a matter of timing and opportunity, but there was never anything random about the ministry of our Lord.

A large crowd and many disciples, not just the twelve, are with Him.

A large crowd proceeds from the gate with the unclean corpse, to bury it.

A mother is losing her son, a recurrent theme in the Word of G-d, but so is what follows.       In verse 13 we read:

When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

And such was His compassion that he not only went into the midst of them, but in the midst of all the uncleanness of the moment, He touches the open coffin, and such was His authority, those who carried it grew still.

With no further delay, or even an introduction, He speaks to the body of the young man, and restores his spirit to him, and life. We can only wonder what the first words of his new life were, but we are told only that he began speaking. I’m pretty sure it was a bunch of questions.

He also restores the mother’s joy.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Son, all of their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and as with all the culmination of Jesus’ work, the Father was glorified in reverent fear and love.

Therefore I pray:

With thanksgiving and reverent joy, I thank You, Lord Jesus, for raising me from the dead, restoring me to my Father in Heaven.

   You saw my soul being carried from the gates, an unclean thing borne by unclean things, to be taken out as a fruitless vine for burning, and you touched the open casket of my life, and commanded the demons to stop.

    And You spoke to me in Power, and restored my spirit to me, for I did not complete the work, and you’d not finished making me into Your likeness.

     I would arise, Lord, and take my rightful, lowly place, but the grave is quiet and peaceful, and there are no dreams, nightmares or strife. No one mocks me there, or asks me where You are, or tells me You’re only in my mind and don’t exist.

     No persecution comes because of the Word, and I would have peace, and have You depart from me.

     But You have given me a Great Commission, and as you have completed the work the Father gave You, so must I, and do His will unto the least, in Your strength, and in Your Name, and with Your compassion, for I have none in this sinful flesh to give on my own.

    Let it be done to me, as You have said.

   Amen.

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