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May 15, 2022 12:01 am
When a widow lost her only son in first-century Israel, she wasn't only left in grief--she was left destitute. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his expositional series in the gospel of Luke to consider Jesus' compassion for a woman who had lost everything.
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In Luke chapter 7 Jesus comes across a funeral procession and a widow in great distress.
The only support that a widow could expect to gain in the ancient world was from her children.
Her son clearly had one son now he had died. The mother's English wasn't just because her son was good, she was mourning his loss but she also realized that she was destitute no ability to feed her clothes or house yourself today on Renewing Your Mind. Dr. RC still continues his sermon series from the gospel of Luke. The story of life out of death and joy out of sorrow, and all of the writers of the Gospels in the New Testament had to be selective they had to choose from a large list of episodes from the life of Jesus.
John told us that if all of the things that Jesus had been reported in the apostolic works there would not be a book big enough to contain them all and so sometimes we wonder why did Luke marker Matthew or John select this episode or that episode. But when we come to the text in front of us this morning. We don't have to think very long, of why this episode in the ministry of Jesus is included in sacred writ. You know, if this were the only passage that survives from the life of Jesus. There's enough in to reveal to us his sweetness, his Excellency, his person, his power and his Savior. We can live the rest of our lives trusting just this much information about the Lord Jesus Christ. It's an incredible episode and one that we need to hear closely. Luke begins by telling us when it happens, he said that it happened the day after the day after what the day after he healed the centurion's servant that we looked at last Sunday morning and you recall how astonishing it was that that man was dying. He was at the point of death, and that Jesus didn't even make it all the way to the centurion's house, but the centurion said just say the word and he did.
And by the power of his word that centurion's servant was brought back from the very threshold and brink of death itself, but the next day, but we see here is not a consideration of somebody who sick unto death, but rather somebody who has already died and the process of burial is under way.
I don't know if any of you have have ever witnessed is an eyewitness, a classic traditional southern African-American funeral procession obscene.
One of those. I hate to call it in real life, but it was a burial procession that I saw in Yazoo city, Mississippi and what our site it is to behold as the coffin is carried through the streets and the musicians are playing their saxophones, their trombone, their clarinets, their trumpets and they use a particular tempo for this procession, which is called the stride. It's kind of a languid, mournful motion as the marchers play to a certain being and that certain tempo which I say is mournful and then suddenly the tempo changes to one of celebration and is up beat and so if you ever have the opportunity to witness such a funeral procession. Don't miss it because as I've seen this both in the movies and in reality I really think this is the closest thing that we have, to the kind of funeral procession that was experienced by the Jewish people in antiquity there was always a burial procession because by law. Those who died as Jewish people had to be very outside of the city and in order to get there they didn't have hearses to drive you there for police escorts to take you it would come through a procession where the person who had died would be carried not in the coffin as we have today, but in kind of an open beer DI ER and that was kind of bike couch like structure that was heavier and bigger and more substantial than a stretcher or a letter, but the corpse would be placed in this couch like thing and people would carry it to the burial plot and this is usually done very closely like within 24 hours after death had occurred. Now imagine the Lord Jesus coming upon a funeral procession like this and presumably without any invitation interjects himself into this solemn ceremony I we also know that in ancient Israel when funeral processions were undertaken undertaken units where they call them undertakers like that professional mourners were hard to make sure that the funeral procession was significant and musicians would play just as they do in the black community in places of the South in this country and we are told that Jesus had just left Capernaum, where he healed the centurion's servant, and he was followed by his disciples, as well as a large crowd. So there's a large crowd following Jesus. And there's a large crowd coming out of the city of Maine as part of the funeral procession know what we know about the people involved. Well first of all we know that the woman whose son had died was a widow she had already buried her husband.
We don't know how old she was at her son was called a young man and also he was her only son, so here's a woman who lost her husband and then sometime later lost her only son. You know what that meant to a woman in ancient Israel. You know the priority and the emphasis that the Bible places on the Christian community to give care to widows and orphans because in many cases the only support that a widow could expect to gain in the ancient world was from her children. Her son had one son, and now he had died in the mourners were a company, this woman in this funeral procession on the way to the cemetery to bury her only son. One of all people on the planet person who comes along is Jesus. Verse 13, Luke gives us these words when the Lord saw her he had compassion on her and said to her, do not weep. This is the first time in Luke's gospel that Luke calls Jesus curios Lord of title that translates the Old Testament title. I don't my which is the highest title given to God in the Old Testament. One this almost right so Lord, our Lord, how excellent is my name and all of the earth and the Lord said to my Lord, sit thou at my right hand. If Yahweh said to my Adam. I meeting my slobbering one the one who rules over all things with all authority and all power, that title that was reserved for God is now given to the son of God who was God incarnate that Luke says before he shows and displays this awesome power of the son of God, he says, and the Lord the curios, and I love slobbering one saw her the first thing, Luke tells us is that the Lord saw her he saw her in her grief the depths of her sorrow in the midst of her morning. This woman was not unknown to Jesus. This woman did not escape the notice of the son of God.
I find that extremely comforting for anyone who goes to the house of mourning that the Lord Jesus Christ sees us when we wait when we suffer, and when we die just as he saw this pitiable woman from the city of Maine in gallon the first thing he did was that he saw her and would Luke tells us when he saw her he had compassion on her. Is there anyone who's compassion. We need more than the compassion of the son of God who was like us in every respect except send who understands our feelings. I love that word compassion because it made of the prefix, which means with Osseo with dealing somebody who is compassionate, you know, we flippantly say I feel your pain but true compassion enters into another person's sorrow or pain in this one whom Luke calls Lord is also called the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And so, as he saw that woman he saw her heartbreak.
Surely she was on the rim of the spare CNC could see her tears flowing down her cheeks and he was not unfeeling he felt it in his own soul. And you can't read the next portion without understanding that he saw her immediately.
Compassion and then he spoke with the first words he said to this lady weep not what who is this man who comes out of nowhere and walks up to me and tells me to stop crying. Who does he think he is, of course, I'm weeping. My heart is broken. Don't you wish you could've been there and heard the tone of voice that Jesus used when he said her stop weeping. I think there was a hint in the very sound of his voice that he was not simply rebuking her for a public spectacle of grief, nor was he asking her to be some kind of spell week with the stiff upper lip with her had to be something tender, something comforting, something that gave a hint of power over grief and over morning when Jesus said to her, stop weeping, and the next thing he did was he came and touched the open coffin. It wasn't a cough and that's a bad translation. Retouch the open beer which of course risked becoming impure because it was forbidden of Jews in the ancient world to touch the dead. But Jesus had authority over death and he came and he touched the beer he touched this open coffin and everyone who was carrying the pallbearers. This letter, I stopped stop spill stood there as amazed and stunned as the woman was registered there holding this stretcher and they were watching what was taking place in front of their very Jesus spoke again, it wasn't to the pallbearers in the wasn't to the mother. This time the Lord spoke to the young man who was and he said Jan and I say to you arrives immaculate three times in the New Testament we see our Lord raising people from the dead gyrus's daughter Lazarus been in the tomb and hear the widow of names son.
And when Jesus raises people from the dead, that all of the needs is the same power he displayed the day before in healing the centurion's servant.
All it took from them was a word of his mouth young man I'm talking to you. I know your dad.
Pallbearers can't believe what they're watching us.
I say to you, young man Cannot arise and so he, who was dead set up and began to speak in Jesus presented him to his mother.
Mother cultures her son who was dead is now alive. That's why I told you to stop weeping. Here is look at him. Listen to him speak to you and our Lord's presented this son who was dead and is now alive to his mother.
So what this is the one who said I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me shall not die, but on the last day in the twinkling of an eye going to say to all or the dead in Christ arise and we will join him in the power and the glory of his resurrection and children will be presented to parents husband's two wives, parents to children in the great resurrection.
Why did Luke include this in his account of Jesus for no other reason because Luca had a burning passion to communicate to you and to me who this Jesus is who is this Lord only to see one of the thing here that all of those who were eyewitnesses were suddenly afraid that was the normal response of the crowds when Jesus performed a miracle. What man is this, wait a minute, we were on the way to bury this man is over there talking to his mother because this man out of nowhere came over and said young man get up there terrified and yet they glorified God, why is they knew they had just witnessed something that only God could do so, they glorified God, and they set a great profit has risen among us mobile. Indeed, it is a great profit and more than a great profit and then they go on to say, for God has visited his people recognize that line I don't know what it was we started this study of the gospel look been more than a couple weeks ago but if you can remember back to the early chapters of Luke. When we look at the infancy narratives in the infancy songs we saw this phrase being celebrated in the incarnation of the visitation of God and of the day of God's visitation to his people and at that time I told you that the idea here behind the divine visitation is wrapped up in the Greek verb, and consequently the amount of Piscopo's because the visitor is the bishop of our soul's from which we get the word Episcopal or Episcopalian, a bishop is an epic scope is the scope or something. You look through it.
Something happy is an intensifying prefix, and so in episcopacy somebody who is a supervisor, a super looker who see's everything that takes place in the whole point of the incarnation was just like in the Old Testament act of redemption one God heard the cries of his people when they were in bondage and Egypt and the issue the command let my people go, so now the Lord God omnipotent visits his people in the form of his son and the author of Hebrews says he is the bishop and the shepherd of our soul's. It's one thing to have a pastor, even a copastor when the bishop come as much as the Bishop of the local guys, it's the bishop from heaven himself, the great Shepherd of the sheep. The good shepherd's who calls you. His sheep and her cares for you as a good shepherd cares for his lambs and who watches over you like the Bishop of heaven. The people understood that the spectacle that it unfolded during this funeral procession was just that visitation from the supernatural and intrusion from the transcendental realm of visit of God itself into the midst of his people to see why I say that these were the only verses we had in the whole New Testament. There would be enough to cause us to dance all the way home and the rest of our days even into our grades because this vision who saw this woman sees you and he sees me and is moved by compassion but he doesn't just feel sorry for us for us bringing to life, joy out of sorrow below doesn't get any better than think about that. The God who saw that widow sees us and has compassion on us.
Thanks for listening to Renewing Your Mind on the Sunday each week. Dr. RC Sproul continues his verse by verse study through the gospel of Luke and help you in your personal study of this book we like to send you a digital copy of Marcy's commentary on Luke's gospel. Just contact us today with a donation of any amount to look in your ministries or offices are closed on this fourth day, but you can give your gift and make a request firstname.lastname@example.org and if you're on Facebook or twitter.
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