18 March 2010

Jesus Heart Goes Out to the Hurting

"Soon afterward, 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."  Luke 7:11-17

Sometimes when we think about Jesus, we may see an ethereal figure who showed little emotion while waving his hand in the air as he healed people as his feet glided instead of pressed on the ground.  But when I read this I see a human being who heart feels for a fellow human being.  When Jesus has compassion or when Jesus' heart goes out to another, it is expected that something amazing is about to happen.
I once read a book that asserted that God is a God who likes to come through.  He wants us to know exactly where our help is from.  This woman had just lost everything.  She lost her husband and now her son.  Who would care for her?  Who would put in the hard labour that she could not?  The Lord saw her and his heart went out to her.  
Whenever a writer refers to Jesus as "The Lord" we are about to witness his authority.  He demonstrates to all the people present that he even has authority over death.  What an incredible Lord we serve!
Here we read about two large crowds coming together.  What must it have been like to have been a member of that crowd.  You constantly see Jesus doing amazing things.  You constantly hear Jesus giving amazing teachings like none ever heard before.  But as a person who is introverted and a bit claustrophobic, it would be a bit harrowing to be in a consistent crush of humanity.  At the end of the day, however, I would probably be turning to someone next to me and ask, "Did I see what I just saw?"
For once (no sign of the religious class here) we see the crowd have a proper reaction to Jesus.  The translation here is awe, but the word is actually "phobos" which you may recognise from "phobia" which in English is fear.  They were afraid.  Wouldn't I be?  "What in the world does this mean?  Who is this man?!?"
In proper fashion, fear of the Lord leads to praise of God.  "God has come to help his people."  Death is a constant reminder that things aren't the way they are supposed to be.  Death exists because we decided to pursue other gods.  Yet, his heart still goes out to us.  He has not left us to our fate.  He always acts.  He always loves.  He is always the Lord.  Thank you Father for your son Jesus.

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