Daily D – Luke 7:11
Afterward he was on his way to a town called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd were traveling with him.
LUKE 7:11 (CSB)
My BC (Before COVID) commute takes me three miles south on a busy street to a busier highway into downtown Fort Worth and onto another busy highway farther south to a heavily traveled street to another busy street to at last arrive at our office. These twenty miles require about thirty minutes on most days.
A great many people make their homes, go to work, and engage in all kinds of activities along this pathway. Every person has a story. Every story is meaningful. Every man, woman, boy, and girl is someone God loves. Every time I drive that pathway, I speedily pass one story after another.
Jesus was on his way somewhere. He was going to a village called Nain. It was a full day’s walk, thirty miles or so, to the southwest of Capernaum. It was apparently a pretty little town. Nain means Beauty or Pleasantness.
Jesus was accompanied by quite a few traveling companions. There were his disciples along with a large crowd. As they arrived at the gate of the pretty little town, they met a funeral. A dead man was being carried out to his grave. “He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow,” (verse 12).
Jesus was likely fatigued. The peripatetic preacher had no doubt taught lessons along the way. He likely asked questions and clarified his followers’ responses. He probably entertained quite a few requests. Now as the crowd arrived at the entrance to the village, they met another crowd. We call this a traffic jam.
One young man was suddenly dead. One aged mother was suddenly alone. One large crowd was at a loss as to what to say or do other than to accompany them to his final resting place.
Out of all the people behind him, out of all the people coming toward him, Jesus saw her, a mother whose only son lay dead.
Most of us would see her, too. We would wonder about her story and her son’s. What happened? What now? What’s next? Then we would move along ever closer to our final destination.
Jesus stepped into the story and changed the narrative. Death is an enemy who appears to ultimately win every battle. A man in Nain and another man in Bethany would tell you death is not the end of the story. These two men ended up with two dashes on their tombstones. These two men testify to the reality of the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25).
Jesus halted the crowds and stopped a mother’s tears (verses 13 and 14). Jesus spoke four words in Greek translated here, “Young man, I tell you, get up!”
Words create worlds. He who spoke the world into existence, who breathed the breath of life into Adam and made him a living being (Genesis 2:7), made a dead man live again. This was no zombie. “The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother,” (verse 15).
Some gifts bear more intrinsic value than any extrinsic legal tender could measure.
Two crowds became one in wonder, awe, and worship. Listen to how The Message paraphrases verses 16 and 17:
They were quietly worshipful—and then noisily grateful, calling out among themselves,
“God is back, looking to the needs of his people!”
One of these days, we will likely get back to commuting. However near or far that may be, keep an eye open for what God might want to do to change the narrative. Everyone has a story. Most of those stories end with a sigh. Some of them end badly indeed. There is the possibility of happy endings, however. Jesus is the author and finisher of happy endings. (See Hebrews 12:1 and 2.)
I wonder if that dear woman went to her grave with a smile? I am pretty sure her son did.
What’s your story? What would it take for you to experience a happy ending? Here is a starting place: Take a good long walk with Jesus. Listen to everything he says. Ask whatever is on your heart and mind. Answer his questions to the best of your ability. Accept all of his necessary corrections. Watch what he does. Join him in it. Enjoy the miraculous.
I will live a life of quiet worship and noisy gratitude.
Our Father, I will walk with you and talk with you and observe all you say and do. I will join you and celebrate you because where you are, the ends of stories are rewritten. Every ending is happy because it ushers us into the never-ending story of truth and grace, life and love. Amen.
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Jeremiah 18:1-4 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Philippians 1:4-6 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Jeremiah 17:7, 8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)