On April 6th, we read of a remarkable occurrence in the life of Jesus at the gate of a city called Nain (meaning pleasant or beautiful). As we approach Easter, this is truly an instructive and poignant reflection.
I will specifically call our attention to one verse in the passage; but before I do, some background information would be helpful. The story is taken from Luke’s gospel and the seventh chapter. We are told a great procession of people are leaving the city with a widow observing the death of her only son. The scene is a devastating example of the misery and suffering sin has left in its wake. The woman in the story has lost both her husband and her only son, meaning there was no one left to support her. Her life would have been completely shattered. The loss of her only son had left her dependent on the charity of more distant relatives and neighbors.
With regard to our lives, more often than not, it seems we stand at the city gate wishing that things were different, imagining what it would be like if only…. If only we could take back words that were spoken in anger or fear; If only we would have spoken the words of love, beauty, and thankfulness that were left unspoken; If only we had made different choices for our life; If only we could redo our marriages and relationships; If only we could go back and reorder our priorities; If only we could have given back to us the people and parts of our lives that have died.
This brings me to the verse in focus: And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (Luke 7:14, NASB) Of course, the young man comes to life. Life recognizes the voice of its Creator.
Death is the ultimate result of sin in a fallen world. The Bible says, “…all have sinned” and the evidence of that reality is quite simply everyone dies. Death contaminates the entirety of creation. In fact, from our recent readings in the devotional Bible, as a stark reminder of the seriousness of sin, we are told, “The one who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days.” (Numbers 19:11, NASB)
Concerning our text at hand, any devout Israelite in the crowd with the widow that day would have gasped at the action of Jesus. He walked up to the coffin and touched it! This would have made Him unclean! But remember, Jesus IS God. Life emanates from Him! Rather than death contaminating Jesus, Jesus “contaminated” the dead. It was His beloved disciple John who recorded His words, “…I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
On display here is an outstanding demonstration of what happens when death meets Life! Jesus came to die so that death might die; and through His resurrection, His followers might live! Whatever may be the result of death in your life can be turned to ultimate life in His!
Only believe! “…without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6,NASB)
Through faith, we too can live in the city of Nain (beautiful)!