Jesus is walking to the little town of Nain. This little village is so small, so insignificant, so completely unimportant to anybody, that most scholars have no idea where it was located. This was a nothing town full of nobody people. But in Luke 7, Jesus is going there. That means something, yes?
“As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out – the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.” ~Luke 7:12
In that part of the world, at that time and place, it was over for this poor woman. If you’re a woman in that setting and your husband dies and then your only son dies, it’s a death sentence for you. This is a picture of utter despair and hopelessness.
“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.'” ~Luke 7:13
Death is the ultimate sign that things are messed up. Any kind of sickness, too. Sickness reminds us that death is coming, eventually. We don’t know when or where or how, but we do know death is in the cards for all of us. Sickness reminds us of that. Sickness and death are connected. Death reminds us that this world is broken and things are not the way God created them and intended them to be.
“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. They were all filled with awe and praised God… They said, ‘God has come to help his people!'” ~Luke 7:14-17
It’s important that Jesus touched the coffin. He touched the coffin and everything got still. Jesus touched the coffin and stopped death in its tracks. Where death was going, where death was taking this poor woman, what death had planned for this family – all of that was stopped cold as soon as Jesus touched the coffin.
According to the Law, when Jesus touched the coffin, it made him unclean. It tarnished him, it defiled him. According to the Law, it made Jesus an outcast, it separated him from the community of God’s people and, in some sense, for a while, it separated him from God. But he still did it. Jesus touched the coffin.
Jesus is willing to identify with the situation. He purposefully walks to the awful circumstance, he doesn’t back away. He touches the coffin, he goes to the problem, and he takes it into himself. He becomes one with your death. Whatever is killing you or threatening to kill you, whatever is stealing your joy, whatever is hijacking your hope, our Lord Jesus resolutely walks to it and touches it. He identifies with it, he identifies with you, he touches you, and he stops whatever is going on.
God in Christ has the amazing power to reverse the curse. God in Christ has the power and authority to fix everything that’s broken in your life and to make right everything in your world that’s gone wrong. And, praise the Lord, he has the desire, the willingness, and the grace to do it. For you.
At great cost to himself, yes. But he has that same grace for you.
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