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Jesus and the widow of Nain - Part 2

Unclean

15th May 2015

Luke 7v11-17
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.
When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
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.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

As we saw last time, Jesus stepped away from the crowds to help one person - a widow who had lost her only son, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry”. This is the heart of God. He sees our sorrow and our need, and He comes to comfort us.

And then Jesus touched the coffin (or, perhaps, the stretcher or bier on which the dead man was being carried). In doing so, He made Himself unclean (according to Old Testament law) but Jesus was quite willing to become unclean, if by doing so he could express His sympathy for the widow. He could have raised her son to life without doing this, but He wanted to heal her heart as well as her son. To do that, He entered into her sense of loss as deeply as possible. He shared her pain as much as He could.

Romans 12v15
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

God shows every one of us the same compassion He showed that widow. And, on the cross, Jesus made Himself unclean for us:

2 Corinthians 5v21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Galatians 3v13
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Then Jesus commanded the young man to rise from the dead - and he did! He sat up and began to talk. And Jesus restored her son to the grieving widow.

He did it for her, but He doesn't do it for everybody. There are some things in your life that God wants to restore, and some that He doesn't. Faith in God includes the belief that God knows best what to restore and what to leave. Sometimes, we'll be amazed at His power. Sometimes, we'll be perplexed at His inactivity. Either way, we're called to trust him. As Job said, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1v21b RSV).

Whether God answers our prayers in the way we want, or whether He doesn't. He always mourns with us, always enters into our suffering, is always willing to become unclean for us, and always wants to heal our hearts.

And He does know best.