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The Raising of the Son of the Widow of Nain
Reflections on Luke 7:11-17 Part 4


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"I Say to You Arise!" (Luke 7:14)

I SAY TO YOU ARISE! (LUKE 7:14) Part 4

(A talk given during a Transform Sehion Ministries Meeting)


Jesus approaches and he has compassion. The word ‘compassion’ originally meant ‘to suffer with’. Jesus feels not only pity for her, he suffered with her. He takes upon himself her suffering as he was to take on the suffering of the whole of humanity. He identifies with the suffering of each one of us. He suffers with us, he suffers in us, he has shared and continues to share all of our humanity, not just part of it. He shares especially our suffering. Again I repeat, my God is not a God of explanations there is no consolation in explanations but my God is a God of compassion who shares and bears our wounded humanity. Do you think the widow would have been content with an explanation of why she was in this predicament? Would an explanation have consoled her? Explanations have no power. Explanations belong to the intellect; suffering and sorrow go well beyond this.

The first visible reaction of Jesus is to speak to the widow. Let us bear in mind that it is the logos, the Word, who is speaking, that very same logos that spoke creation into existence. We know that the divine word spoken by the logos contains within itself the power to create, the power to bring about what it says. He spoke creation into existence and now he speaks the young man back to life and his word will transform each one of us.
So the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do (Isaiah 55:11)
“Do not weep” Jesus says. How many times must the widow have heard those very words! It was impossible for her not to weep! As Jesus said to the man with the withered hand “stretch out your hand” (Mark 3:5), and to the corpse in the tomb he cried out ‘Lazarus, come out’ (John 11:43), so now he says to the widow “do not weep”. He is asking those who suffer to do what is impossible! But the impossible becomes possible through the creative word of God which contains within itself the power to do what is commanded. There is power in the word as it is spoken in faith. The words contain the power to enable her to arise and tower above adverse circumstances and so it is with us.

Words of compassion are followed by the transforming touch of compassion. The very presence of Jesus has power. The bearers stop, the procession stops, the weeping stops and Jesus comes up. He reaches out to touch the stretcher of death. According to the Law by doing this he himself becomes impure just as he became impure when he touched the leper in Mark 1:41. Here is yet another example of Jesus being made sin, being made impure so that we may become whole. He also stretches out to each one of us to touch and heal the dark recesses of our being
You have compassion on all, because all is yours, O Lord, lover of life. (Wisdom 11.26)
Let us open ourselves to his healing touch and he shall restore that hope, peace and joy that have so long lain buried inside. He shall heal us of our unforgiveness, of our bitterness, of our anxieties, of anything that is blocking the plan of wellbeing that God has for us. When we accept Christ and follow him as disciples we are united to him and whatever he has we have and wherever he is there we are, too. We are restored through union with him so let us come; let us arise to meet the One who never tires of drawing us towards himself. Let him transform us into the persons we were meant to be.

“I say to you arise!” the dead man sits up. What could possibly be more simple? The extraordinary takes place in a most unspectacular way. Jesus reveals that he has the power over suffering and death. “He sent out his word and healed them” says Psalm 107:20. The Lord of life and death is reversing the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve. The kingdom of God is bursting in upon the whole scene and nothing is as it was, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5)
 
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