Share This Episode
Wisdom for the Heart Dr. Stephen Davey Logo

The Basket Case

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
April 8, 2022 12:00 am

The Basket Case

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1118 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

April 8, 2022 12:00 am

So far in this series, we have seen Jesus exercise miraculous power over nature, sickness, disease, and demons. But what about death itself? In this stunning display of His divine authority, Jesus demonstrates His power over death and, in the process, gives us—those who believe in Him—a preview of our eternal life to come.

Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer

Jeremiah writes in Lamentations 3-23, His compassion are new. His compassion are new every morning. He doesn't overlook your sorrow. He enters into it. His heart went out to her just like his heart goes out to you.

He feels for her just like he feels for you. His compassion is new every morning. For who? For you. Welcome to Wisdom for the Heart.

We're glad that you've joined us. Today, our Bible teacher Stephen Davey continues through a series from the Gospel of Luke called Demonstration of Resurrection Power. We're in Luke chapter 7 today. Earlier in the book of Luke, you encounter Jesus performing miracles over nature, sickness, disease, and demons. But what about death? In a stunning display of his divine authority, Jesus demonstrates his power over death, and in the process, gives us a preview of our eternal life to come.

Here's Stephen with a message called The Basket Case. Well, Jesus is going to demonstrate for us in living color. He's going to reveal his power over death. In fact, he'll do it five times during his ministry. We'll be given a couple of times in the Gospel by Luke, so I invite your attention there again. He's going to demonstrate this power sort of as a down payment, so to speak, on his promise that he can do this globally, worldwide, that he is indeed the resurrection and the life, that he is the commander over the cemetery.

One of these demonstrations is about to take place. I want to watch it happen with you today. We're in chapter 7 if you're new to our exposition through this Gospel. Now, we've just watched the word of the Lord bring healing to the centurion's servant, and now we're going to watch, listen to the word of the Lord bring life back to someone who's died. We're now in verse 11. Now, afterward, he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. And as he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out. Now, stop for a moment.

Let's set the scene here. Nain, by the way, exists to this day. It's a tiny Arab village today of around 200 people. There is no archaeological evidence anywhere to suggest it was ever any larger than that, just a small town. So when you read the idea of nearing the gate of the town, you might imagine a fortified city with walls and gates. This village wasn't walled.

Its entrance was that typical eastern village entrance, perhaps nothing more than a declarative little gateway, maybe an arch of stone to indicate you've arrived. Nain wasn't known for anything. In fact, this is the only time it will be mentioned in the Bible. This is possibly the only time Jesus visited here. Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, mentions in passing that the town of Nain was on the way in between Galilee and Jerusalem.

In other words, it would be a pit stop in your travels, one of those exits off the interstate with a gas station connected to a Kentucky fried chicken on one side and a Dunkin' Donut on the other, everything you would ever need on your trip wherever you went. Nain was just this little town in between. Kind of reminded me of the little town in Iowa that is now dear to Marsha and me. It's a little town where our youngest daughter lives with her husband and our two grandchildren.

Notice how I said that. Our two grandchildren. The town is 352 acres, population 397. The name is Middletown, creatively named because it's in the middle between Burlington and Danville.

Just in the middle. There's one stoplight on Main Street. In fact, when we visited there the first time, Charity told us that she had ordered pizza. I told her, I'll go get it. Is it Papa John's, Domino's, where is it? She said, no, it's a block over at the gas station. I wondered if it came with a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

It was actually very good. It's a gas station. A little mini store connected to it. That's the town of Nain.

It's got a few dozen farmers and some shepherds. If you stop by the village of Nain, it's probably because you need it to on your way somewhere else. And I say all of that because Jesus has to have a reason for pulling off the highway to stop in this village. In fact, we're told that he just so happens to arrive at the entrance with a crowd following him, just as a crowd of people are leaving town in this funeral procession. They're on their way to take the deceased to nearby caves built in the limestone hills that are still there as burial chambers. They didn't bury the dead underground.

They wrapped the bodies in shrouds and put them in caves on ledges and rolled stones, piled stones over the entrances to protect them from wild animals. So these two crowds arrive at the same gate at the same time. And I need to emphasize that this is no coincidence, this arrival. This is no chance encounter. Everything Jesus does is on accident.

Everything he does is on purpose. Even allowing the death of this young man, there are purposes that are not known fully to us now, but will be known one day. Look at this scene again. In the first part of verse 12, just the first part, he drew near to the gate of the town.

Behold, a man who had died was being carried. I love that word behold. That means, look, we would say it.

Well, what do you know? Jesus arrives at this very moment. And again, this is all set up.

This funeral happens to be the reason Jesus has just arrived. This is why he said at some point, we're not told, but he says to his disciples, look, what do you say we slip over to that little village of Nain? What's there? Well, nothing. Jesus knew differently.

Go back and take a closer look. Verse 12, one more time. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out. Who's he? The only son of his mother. Who was she? She was a widow.

Get that. This was her second funeral. This is the second time she's walked through that gate weeping. Luke writes, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. As a pastor over the years, I have been in some long funeral processions, driving to some cemetery. It's always very meaningful and moving to me to see people in the other lane slow down, even pull over. Out in rural areas, I've seen men stop and take off their hats, get out of their vehicles and stand in respect. I've seen people put their hands together as we've driven by to signify their prayers. By the way, don't just speed on when you do see a procession. Pull over.

Pray for this unknown family on their behalf. In the days of the Lord, by the way, you wouldn't just stop or pull over. You'd actually turn around and join the procession. In fact, in the first century, it was considered an act of virtue to join a funeral procession.

So what are we told here? I mean, the whole village is in this procession. They would have known this woman anyway. They knew this would mean utter devastation, terrible difficulty for her in the days ahead. A widow in these days without a protector, without a provider was a life of great sorrow and risk. Tomorrow, she's going to wake up alone, brokenhearted. Typically, because of the climate, the deceased would be buried the same day they died, no later than the next.

So this has just happened. As soon as the body would be washed and anointed with whatever spices the bereaved could afford, he would be wrapped in a simple shroud, which would be common for the poor, a separate napkin covering his face. He wouldn't be placed in a coffin like we think of it today, but on a beer, a stretcher of sorts, some fashion, supported by poles or a platform on a rickety set of poles, carried on the shoulders of pallbearers. In these early days, wicker baskets were often created and stored in the barn. They would be used for carrying the body to the grave. This custom carried over into our own early American days, especially on the plains where wood was scarce.

I've seen photographs of these large wicker baskets, a wicker basket woven to hold the body until it could be buried. In fact, from this early practice and expression developed that we use to this day when we refer to someone being a basket case. That means they are without hope, helpless. The scene here is a basket case. The young man is a basket case because he's without life. His mother is a basket case because she's without hope. And she walks along here weeping, literally sobbing.

You could render it. I want you to get this picture in your mind. You have this large crowd in this funeral procession and you have this large crowd of people who were following Jesus and they meet by divine purpose at the gate at the same time. One crowd is being led by the invisible prince of death.

The other crowd is being led by the visible prince of life. This is a collision of eternal significance. If Jesus promises something but he can't do it here, then we're all basket cases. We're all without hope. We're all, like Paul said, if we believe in Christ in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. This is eternally significant, this meeting.

If he can't do anything about it, life is just one long funeral procession of meaninglessness headed to despair. So at this moment, at the entrance into the village of Nain, you have this eternally momentous event. Verse 13, and when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, do not weep.

I love that. Where does Jesus look first? At the basket? At the pallbearers? No. At this large crowd?

No. He sees her. He sees her. And Luke writes, he had compassion on her. By the way, that's the strongest expression in the Greek language for compassion or sympathy. Jesus understood this moment in her life. He completely and he comprehensively understood her.

He was moved to the very core of his being. You could translate it, he shuddered when he looked at her. One commentator translates it this way, when the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her. Jesus felt deeply for her. And Jesus tells her here, do not weep.

Literally, she's in the process of it, the tense indicates. So he's telling her to stop sobbing, stop weeping. Now Christians can misinterpret this text to mean you shouldn't cry at funerals.

It shows a lack of faith. Well, Jesus isn't saying to her, don't cry, that means you're not trusting God. Or don't weep, you'll see him again one day. Or stop crying, he's in heaven. I've heard that stuff said, by the way, in funeral homes, as I've stood over by the wall and listened and watched.

Nothing could be further from the truth. If Jesus can cry outside of Lazarus' tomb, so can you. But here's what's happening. Jesus is effectively telling her, stop crying because of what I'm about to do. Stop crying because you don't want to miss what's going to happen.

Dry those tears so you can see what I'm about to do. And look what he does, first part of verse 14, don't go too fast here, we've got 15 minutes left. He came up and touched the beer and the pallbearer stood still.

Now wait a second, Jesus the rabbi, Jesus the teacher, Jesus the religious leader, Jesus the Messiah has just become unclean. Numbers chapter 11, he's just touched something related to a dead corpse. What in the world is he doing reaching out like that? Why is he touching that? Everybody freezes.

Did you read it? Pallbearers. He just touches it and they stand still. They're stunned.

The crowd is breathless. The widow dries her eyes. Jesus has just touched the environment of death and he is now ceremonially unclean but not if there's nobody in there that's dead. See I think even before he reaches out and then as he touches that basket, even as he reaches for it, life regenerates. Life is resurrected.

Life surges back into the body of this young man and you have miracle upon miracle upon miracle occurring. You've got blood de-coagulating. You've got brain fully functioning. You've got lungs operating.

You've got heart beating. You've got a man that is fully and totally alive. And Jesus says, young man, I say to you, arise. As if he's already able to hear. And the dead man sat up. Dr. Luke uses a medical term here for a patient sitting up in bed who's been cured. So just imagine, he's up there in this basket carrying on the shoulders of the pallbearers so everyone can see him and suddenly he sits up. That'll stop the funeral procession right away. In fact, Luke tells us here that he begins to speak. That's significant.

Why? That confirms that this wasn't some strange twitch of the body or some impulse of relaxing muscles or some strange sitting up motion. He begins talking. Luke doesn't tell us what he said. I wish Luke had told us what he said.

But I don't know. We're told he's a young man so he probably said, I'm hungry. But can you imagine him looking and the first thing he says is, hi, mom. I can imagine him saying, get me down out of here. What am I doing in a basket?

There's another tender moment here that would be easy to miss. Verse 15, and the dead man sat up and began to speak and Jesus gave him to his mother. In other words, Jesus is in the process of helping him out of the basket. Jesus no doubt is explaining to him just a few sentences of what has happened. He is helping unwrap this man out of his shroud.

I imagine the pallbearers and the crowd too shocked to move. Jesus is the only one doing this. And then Jesus brings him over and gives him to his mother.

Reunited. Luke ends the scene by telling us that the fame of Jesus just spreads like wildfire throughout this region. Of course, they miss the greater point here. They think he's just a great prophet. This event recalls to their memories Elijah, the great prophet, who had done something similar. He had also raised the widow's son. And they're assuming, they're concluding that Jesus is another Elijah.

It's great. It's a wonderful thing, but we know he's more than that. In fact, if any of these people went home and looked it up in their study Bibles, they would be able to contrast what Jesus did. They'll be able to read that Elijah asked God, why did you take this boy's life? He's a little frustrated with God. And then Elijah prays three times before life is restored. Jesus isn't asking any questions.

He isn't even praying. He says, arise. And the boy comes back to life. See, this scene becomes a prophecy of that day when Jesus will come in the clouds and issue a command.

We're not given the command, but I believe that it's the same verb, arise. Because what happens is the dead in Christ, Paul writes to the Thessalonians on that day of rapture, the dead in Christ, arise first. Their bodies are reconstituted, resurrected, rejoined with their spirit that has been with the Lord since the moment of their death. There's been no inactivity, for as Paul said, to be absent from the body that is in death is to be present with the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5a, or as Jesus said on the cross before he died, Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit. There is an immediate reunion, Luke chapter 23, verse 46. Can Jesus command dead bodies to come back to life? Yes.

This is the first installment. This is exhibit A. He is capable of this and so much more. In fact, when life, maybe your life right now, could be described as a basket case, you feel hopeless.

You feel helpless beyond remedy. Remember, this scene is also a parable of Christ's power through life. The arrangement of every circumstance in life, even when you cross over the threshold of that little gate, even your tears, his power reaches then even beyond this life.

It's comprehensive. Let me make three quick statements that I see here in this encounter as well. First, Jesus considers no person or place to be unimportant, not even a widow in a little village in the middle of nowhere. One author writes on this scene, Christ illuminates the crevices of yet another small town, taking pity on yet another anonymous soul and defeating death even in a little place like the village of name.

No person, no place is unimportant. Don't ever let the devil whisper in your ear you're too insignificant for Christ to care about you. That's a lie. Secondly, Jesus considers no case or circumstance to be impossible, even those which we would term basket cases, no hope, no possible way out. Jesus provides an illustration here.

Why? Because he rescues a widow not before she suffered. He chose to rescue her after she suffered. Thirdly, Jesus considers no suffering or sorrow to be insignificant. He's touched with the feelings of our infirmities, Hebrews 4.15.

His nickname, so to speak, happens to be the man of sorrows, Isaiah 53 verse 3. Jeremiah writes in Lamentations 3.23, his compassions are new. His compassions are new every morning. He doesn't overlook your sorrow. He enters into it.

Think of it this way. It was true for this mother in the village of Nain and it's true for you. His heart went out to her just like his heart goes out to you.

He feels for her just like he feels for you. His compassion is new every morning. For who?

For you. And then one day because of his power, he is going to personally say to you, welcome out of that long funeral procession into the security and joy of this, as we sang, this victory celebration and the joy of this, your new home, this reunion, this resurrected body. And he has prepared for those who believe. The message you just heard is called The Basket Case and it comes from Stephen Davies' series entitled Demonstrations of Resurrection Power. This was the second message in this nine-part series and we'll be bringing you the rest of it in the days ahead. Between now and our next broadcast, we'd enjoy interacting with you. Our ministry is on social media and that's a great way to stay informed and to interact with us. Be sure and like our Facebook page so that you'll get updates.

You can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram. You can write to us at Wisdom International, P.O. Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627. I'll give you that address one more time. It's Wisdom International, P.O. Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627. Thanks again for joining us today. We're so glad you were with us and I hope you'll be with us for our next Bible lesson here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-10 13:59:34 / 2023-05-10 14:08:05 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime