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Imaginative Bible Reading February 21, 2007

Posted by Joe in Random Musings, Scripture Meditation.
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Lar,

I want to hear some of your thoughts on this topic sometime soon, but I have a bit more to say, particularly after I read the Word this morning (which is always the case I suppose).  So I was in Luke 7 and came to verses 11-17.  You know the story, but my O my what a difference it makes when you engage the imagination.

The story is that of the widow of Nain.  Apparently, she had only one son and he died.  They were having the funeral and carrying him through the town when Jesus shows up.  Now, it is important to remember that in the Jewish culture of the day, this funeral was no doubt a very big deal.  I imagine that the almost the whole community was involved, particularly because the mourning of this widow must have been so great.  This is not to mention that Luke, in verse 12 says, “and a considerable crowd from the town was with her.”  That is obviously significant.

So you have a ‘considerable crowd’ acompanying this widow in her mourning for her only son.  And Jesus shows up and what does He do?  First, He says to her, “Do not weep.”  Whoa!  What is going on here?  Can you imagine the response from those around her?  Do not weep?!  What are you thinking Jesus?  Everyone else is thinking, “I’m not inviting this guy to my funeral!  Doesn’t He know what is going down here?  Somebody fill him in please and get him out of here!”  Maybe this isn’t verbatim, but there must have been some interesting thoughts going through her head and the heads of the disciples and the heads of everyone else.  But of course, Jesus knew full well what He was doing.

So after telling her not to weep, He then touches the bier (the coffin) and those carry it stop.  Imagine it for a minute.  Picture the scene in your mind.  It is staggering right?  Do you see the ‘considerable crowd’ with eyes full of tears looking at this man who just walked into town, told the mourning widow not to weep and stopped those carrying the casket?  Now think about their response.  What is going through their heads?  Some might think He is crazy.  Others might have a ray of hope.   Surely some knew exactly who He was.

Now, after all that, Jesus then commands a dead man.  Yep, that’s right….Jesus commands a dead man to rise.  Again, what is going through the considerable crowd’s head now?  Maybe their was a second of silence as everyone was trying to figure this thing out. Mouths were open for sure and all eyes were on Jesus.  Then what?  Well, as we should expect, the dead man obeys!!!  “And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.”  Wow!  Wow!  Wow!  Just imagine it!

That makes you want to talk to that dead guy in heaven right?  I sure want to.  And to everyone else who was on the scene at the time.  I want interviews with them all.  What was going through you head?  What was your angle of the whole scene?  And to the widow, how did you hold it together?

Just think of it:  Jesus walks into a very solemn funeral and what does He do, but turn it into the wildest of celebrations.  It’s just awesome isn’t it?  Yea, it sure is.  And what is even more awesome is the way in which this miracle and all of Jesus’ miracles serve as symbols or types to His great work of redemption.  For think about it:  Isn’t this exactly what Jesus came to do in the world, raise dead men to make them speak of His glory.  Even more:  He came to a ‘dead’ world in order to give life.  He came to a funeral in order to make it a party!  Oh how we ought to rejoice in such truth!  And Oh how such a simple story should point us forward to the heavenly Party of parties, the Celebration of celebrations, where all will be perfect and alive.  Everyone will know full well that they have been raised from their ‘biers’ and ushered into Paradise Eternal!

Rejoice with me brother and let’s keep striving to use our imagination quite well.  By God’s grace, it can serve mightily to increase our joy–in Him!

Imagining His glory with you,

Joe

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