I know what you’re thinking. Reading the title of this post and realizing that it is close to Easter, you think I am going to write about the Resurrection. You think I’m going to say all kinds of wonderful things about the implications of Jesus’ rise from the dead. Well, I’m not. But I did want to spend a few moments looking at another story in the Bible where a man came back to life. The story is found in the Gospel of Luke:
Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country. (Luke 7:11-17)
Imagine the scene. From the town a sad, funeral procession is walking out. Towards the town a joyous crowd is following Jesus. Life and Death are about to clash. Will the Life crowd lead by Jesus part to allow the funeral to proceed or will Death submit to the Lord of Life?
Jesus stops the funeral, steps up to the grieving, weeping widow and says the most outrageous, insensitive and inappropriate thing possible, “Stop weeping.” Really! That’s the best He can do? Stop weeping? This poor woman already lost her husband. She just lost her son and is facing a life of poverty. I would think weeping is appropriate. How about offering some comfort, Jesus? How about telling her that things will turn out well in the end? How about just telling her how sorry He is for her loss? So are the kinds of things people say, but not Jesus. He comes up with “stop weeping.” The only way this makes any sense is if He had a different plan in mind.
Jesus has a way of looking at hopeless situations, not the way we see it, but with a knowledge of what is possible. He doesn’t look at what is, but at what can be. As Paul tells us in Romans, He “calls into existence the things that do not exist.” He knows He can create a new reality far beyond anything we can imagine. And in this instance, He did. He speaks to the dead, young man and tells him to get up. Imagine that – telling a dead person to get up, speaking life into what is a hopeless situation, restoring a broken relationship, restoring what was lost. Death obeyed Jesus and a new life was created. I say new life, because I don’t think that young man’s life afterwards was the same as before he died. He will forever know that he was dead and is now alive. He will forever remember that Jesus gave him a new life. That’s what Jesus does. When He speaks, our lives are changed – we are not the same person.
You see, what I find so fascinating and encouraging that Jesus was able to look into this death situation and not be resigned to accepting the hopelessness. Death doesn’t scare Him. Then or now. Jesus is willing to touch our lives. He is willing to get into those dead places in our lives. He is not afraid or appalled by our deadness. And there is nothing we can say, think or do that would cause Christ to turn away in disgust. Our sin, our pain, our brokenness don’t scare Him away. Instead, Christ steps into your life and changes everything.
And it is possible. It is possible for every hopeless, dead situation in your life to be transformed. It is possible for life, real life to be created. It is possible because He says so, because He has the power to call into existence things that do not exist. It is possible because, he can offer hope – hope beyond anything that the world can understand or offer.
When Life meets Death, whether on the road to Nain or in your life, be assured that Life always wins.