Luke 7: 12b-15 “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.”
Before we get to the more obvious example of Jesus’ assistance, there is a very subtle evidence of our Lord’s helpful intentions. It has to do with the circumstances. Luke tells us that a large crowd went along with Jesus. A large crowd from the town of Nain also accompanied the grieving widow. If Jesus had been traveling alone, or with just a few of his disciples, it is possible that they might have discreetly stepped to the side and slipped into the city without being noticed. But the two crowds meeting at the narrow gate of the city at about the same time forced everyone to stop. This more or less guaranteed a meeting between Jesus and the widow. Just a coincidence?
Most likely you have experienced a similar conjunction of just the right series of events at just the right time. You were running late, but just as you are about to pull out of the driveway, you remembered something you needed in the house. So you stopped the car and ran back into the house to retrieve the necessary item. Once you were on your way, you came to an intersection where it was obvious a horrific accident had just taken place. Police and paramedics hadn’t arrived yet. You run a few quick calculations in your mind. You think to yourself, “If I had left just a few minutes earlier, that could have been…” Just your good fortune? Just a coincidence?
The God who has numbered the very hairs of our head, the God who knows the words we are going to say before they have reached our own tongues, knows no such concept as “coincidence.” The psalmist confesses, “My times are in your hands.” We often apply those words to God’s right to determine when our lives end. But they aren’t concerned with the end of life alone. They apply to the beginning and the middle as well. On this day he arranged a meeting between Jesus and a woman who had lost her only son. On any day, who knows what he has arranged to bring you and me the help that we need?
Luke then provides explicit proof that Jesus loves us and comes to help. “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her…” When you go to the emergency room for help, you are met by medical professionals. Whether they like you or dislike you, they take care of you because it is their job. They are “professionals.”
Jesus is not a mere “professional.” His heart is genuinely moved by the plight of his people. We have no greater assurance of this than the sacrifice he has made to save us from our sin. He did not give up his life to redeem us from sin out of a sense of obligation. He didn’t save us because it was his “job.” No. Think of all the passages of Scripture that associate Jesus’ saving sacrifice with his love. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” “God so loved the world that he gave.” “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” “No greater love has anyone than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
So there is no surprise when Jesus is confronted with the other sorrows of the people he loves so much, and he is moved. He comes to help. He comes to dry our tears.
And then he proves his power. “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.” It is true, death is sad. This woman’s situation was sad. Our impossible situations are sad.
But you cannot concoct a situation so sad, you cannot dream of a situation so impossible, that it defies Jesus’ power to help. He raises the dead! He didn’t give CPR to a man whose heart stopped moments ago. They were carrying his cold corpse to the grave.
Even more, this was just a little miracle compared to the one he promises is coming. “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice (that is, Jesus’ voice) and come out.” With one command, Jesus will raise the entire population of all the cemeteries in the world from the dead. With one command. Suddenly, with Jesus’ help, our problems don’t seem so big.
So don’t cry–not because Jesus rebukes your tears, but because he is going to take their every cause away.