He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. –Luke 7:14-15
After Jesus’s encounter with the Roman centurion in Luke 7, we see His encounter with a grieving widow. “Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd” (v. 11). Luke is being generous when he calls Nain a “city.” Nain was just a village, a fork in the road about six miles southeast of Nazareth.
“As He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her” (v. 12). Picture this: Jesus was with His followers, headed to Nain. I imagine they were in a good mood. Jesus had just had great success with the Sermon on the Mount, and many people were following Him. Suddenly they confronted a funeral procession that was headed to the cemetery. At the center of this procession was the body of a man who had died. He is described as the “only son of his mother” (v. 12). She is described as a widow–meaning not only has she lost her husband, but now she has lost her only son, perhaps her only child. Can you imagine how this woman must have felt? She was walking toward the cemetery, overcome with grief.
“When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ 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!’” (vv. 13-14). Now when you die, you don’t cease to exist. Your spirit is going to live forever. Some are going to live forever in heaven with God; others will be in hell separated from God. But no matter what you believe, your spirit will live on after your body dies.
Three times in the New Testament Jesus raised someone from the dead, and He did it the same way every time: by speaking to the one who had died. In Luke 8 Jesus said to Jairus’s daughter, “Child, arise!” (v. 54). And in John 11, Jesus stood before the sepulchre of Lazarus and cried out, “Lazarus, come forth” (v. 43). Did you know there’s a time yet to come when Jesus will do the same thing for those of us who know Christ? The Bible says that one day “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). There is a great resurrection coming for those of us who know Christ. One day when the Lord returns at the Rapture, He is going to shout and our bodies are going to come forth and we are going to receive brand-new resurrection bodies from God. That’s the resurrection that still awaits us.
Jesus said to the widow’s son, “‘Young man, I say to you, arise!’ The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother” (vv. 14-15). Can you imagine being one of those carrying the coffin when all of a sudden the corpse sat up? Just imagine.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “God Helps Those Who Can’t Help Themselves” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.