Christ the Committal Crasher!
Pentecost 3 (Proper 5) Trinity Lutheran Church
5 June 2016 Murdock, NE +Jesu Juva +
Mom’s not only a widow – lost her husband. Now, tragedy upon tragedy, she has just lost her only son. How? We don’t know. Her future is doubly uncertain. Her life situation – doubly desperate. There’s no one to take care of her. To provide for her. No one will take the time. Things proceed in a certain way when someone dies. Everything proceeds as usual following a death as if death has the last word — as if death is in control. Until … someone shows up! Who’s that? Yes, that’s right – Jesus!
As He is on His way to do a Good Friday FOR YOU and for the world, that’s when it gets quite strange. Incredibly odd. Extremely bizarre. Or totally rude. Take your pick. The funeral is over. Everyone is headed to the cemetery to bury the boy’s body. Not a dry eye among the crowd let alone dear Mom. That’s when Jesus intrudes! Barges in. Crashes the committal! A huge crowd from the city of Nain follows Mom and the mourners. All the big wigs. The most importants. The VIPs. Can you imagine how peeved the rabbi in charge of the service is?
Jesus acts like He’s in charge. Completely takes over. Like He’s … well, you know. You’d be offended. Really, really upset! You’re on your I Phone calling for the sheriff, aren’t you? Calling his ecclesiastical supervisor? Or, both! How dare this preacher Jesus interrupt the procession to the cemetery! How dare He tell the mother: “Do not weep!” After all, people just don’t do things like that, do they? Or talk like that as a widowed mother is about to bury her only son? Of course not!
But Jesus does. He is in charge. Even over death! Because He is “the Lord.” This is the first time in Luke’s gospel that Jesus is called “Lord.” How fitting. As the Lord He has “compassion” on Mom. His gut is wrenching for her. “Compassion” is His cup of tea! This is precisely what it means for Him to be LORD!
Lord Jesus – Lord of all – is here! He will not ignore her. He will care for her. So, “do not weep.” As if He will give a reason for her to stop! And He will!
Now, if that wasn’t provocative enough, check out what He does next. He goes right up to the coffin where the corpse of the boy lies. Not to pay His last respects. Not to leave a rose or some kind of momento. He touches it! He touches the coffin!
You don’t get it, do you? He risks becoming ceremonially unclean. Polluted! You still don’t get it, do you? What a divine service! He is there to serve her and her son. He brings all His divine holiness and purity to this toxic situation. Holy Lord Jesus cleanses and heals.
That’s why he preaches this incredible sermon: “Young man, I say to you, arise.” His words do what they say. They are the Lord’s words. The same Lord who said in the beginning: “Let there be light.” The same Lord who said in the beginning: “Be fruitful and multiply.” His words do what they say. The say what they do. In the beginning. And in the face of death at Nain. “Young man, I say to you, arise.” The boy sits up. Speaks. And Jesus gives him back to his mother.
Well, you’re not so offended any more, are you? You’re astonished. “Fear seized” the folks at Nain and “they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us!’ and ‘God has visited his people!’” True. Very true. The long-awaited promised prophet “mighty in word and deed” has appeared (Lk 24:19; Deut. 18:18)! The prophecy of old man Zechariah has come true: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for He has visited and redeemed his people,” (Lk 1:68). The gospel preached to the spiritually poor is a power – the power of God for salvation to those who believe (Lk 7:22).
But there is more. Jesus as the Lord is going to Jerusalem. Remember? To suffer, die and RISE AGAIN ON THE THIRD DAY! Not for Himself. But FOR YOU!
His resurrection from the grave on the third day is the guarantee of your resurrection from the grave. As I’ve said many times so I say it again. Death does not the last or final word. Death does not have the say so. Lord Jesus does!
When He raises the widow’s son He shows great compassion on His people and exhibits His power over death as the Lord. He will do it again when He raises Jairus’ daughter. It all climaxes in His own resurrection three days after His Good Friday crucifixion on the cross. Death is defeated. It has no power over you. It has no victory. All because of Lord Jesus.
His compassion extends even to you. You too are very precious to Lord Jesus. He died for you. He rose for you. He gives you His divine name in Baptism. He feeds you with His divine body and blood in the Supper. You are forgiven. You are saved. He promises. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mk 16:16). And: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly I say to you, an hour is coming and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live,” (Jn 5:24-25).
On the Last Day He will intrude on the grave where your corpse is buried. He will say to your graveyard dead body what He said to the boy: “Arise!” You will. Bodily. Because He is the Lord. Lord FOR YOU! Now and forever. He has the say so. Even over death and your grave.
Thanks be to Jesus!
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.