February 2 | Luke 7:11-17

56544-48244I’ll be honest: I struggle with the raising people from the dead stories. I struggle to believe that they actually happened. I choose to believe that they did because of my love and commitment to the Gospels, but I wrestle with them. That being said, our struggle with the merits of a given story shouldn’t strip us of the meaning of them. And one of the things I love about this story, is that while it is about the healing of a man, it also isn’t. In many ways this is a story about a grieving mother. Luke tells us that she is a widow and has lost her only son. This is important because in a world where women are as marginalized and powerless as they are in 1st Century Rome, this means this woman has no economic hope on top of the deep grief she must feel in losing her only son. Then Luke tells us that Jesus “saw her”, had compassion for her and then tells her “do not weep.” Two things…

One, I love that he “saw her”. Once again, Jesus, who is here to usher in the very Kingdom of God, who is overturning a powerful religious establishment, and who is on a mission of enormous proportions, also has the presence of mind and heart to “see” a grieving mother. But, secondly, he tells her “do not weep”. I haven’t had a lot of pastoral care courses, and I’m by no means an expert in grief counseling, but “do not weep” seems to be about the last thing your supposed to say a grieving mother. I do wonder how she responded. Was she confused? Angry? Did she even notice him at all? Or had she heard about him and what he can do and became filled with hope. We just don’t know. In any case, he heals this man. He not only heals him, he resurrects him! The man sits up, he speaks (though we have no idea what he said), and then Luke tells us that Jesus gave him back to his mother. I picture Jesus gently helping him to his feet and walking him over to his mother. The mother is the focus of this story. What a beautiful scene.

Like I said, I struggle with the merits of these resurrection stories. But this one feels different. I think it says to us that in our seasons of deepest pain Jesus sees us. Do we believe that? It may, at times, be harder to believe than his resurrecting power. In our moments of deepest pain, fear, sorrow, despair and uncertainty God sees us, God hears us, God moves in our midst. For whatever reason God doesn’t always fix our pain’s cause, but God is there and sees us. Thanks be to God.

 

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