Monday, October 15, 2012



Immediately after the healing of the centurion's servant Jesus has another appointment in the village of Nain: Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out-the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."
This is an interesting scene in the life of Jesus. We see Him moved with compassion for this mother who was a widow. She had obviously experienced lots of grief already, losing her husband and now her only son. This gives more insight into how Jesus cares for those who are in pain, even our pain. It's one thing to say "God cares", but that seems still a bit removed from our reality. But when you say that "Jesus cares", there is something about the God-Man, Jesus, that assures you that He really does. Jesus is easier to relate to. This is why Jesus came to earth-God in the flesh-so that we can more easily relate.

NOTE what Jesus does as He moves into action Then he went up and touched the wooden frame they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Talk about a gift for this grieving woman. She was given back her dead son-alive and healthy. It's interesting to me that Jesus doesn't touch the boy, but the coffin-like framework they were using to carry him. In the story before Jesus healed the centurion's servant without seeing him or touching him and here He brings a boy back to life using a similar method. The power of Jesus' word is awesome. This is very relevant to us today and this is why Jesus is so concerned that we hear His words and practice them. When I see Jesus work in this way, I am compelled to listen to His word more carefully and follow Him.

Those in the village of Nain are overwhelmed and shocked by what they saw. NOTE the response of the people: They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people." This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

There are four basic responses here: FIRST-They were filled with awe. They were shocked. What they saw Jesus do disrupted their spiritual and life paradigms. This is what Jesus always does. When Jesus is introduced, He changes everybody's thinking; He breaks down your boxes and bursts your bubbles. This is what I love about following Jesus. When I used to argue about or defend my "Christian" beliefs, it always led to disagreement and was disturbing to the relationship. But saying that, "I'm doing the most difficult thing I've ever tried to do. I'm trying to follow the teachings and principles of Jesus." This doesn't lead to arguments or debate, but refocuses and transforms the conversation to a whole new level.

SECOND-They praised God. This is a typical response. When something happens that is good and seemingly supernatural, the normal response is to say, "Thank God." Also, the contrary is true, when things go bad, people tend to blame God.

THIRD-They perceive Jesus as a great prophet. This is a very good response. Obviously, they know this Jesus is not just another rabbi, but maybe a prophet or someone with supernatural connections. I mean, He just did something that is impossible to do. He raised a young man from the dead.

FOURTH-They perceive that God has come to help them. So, we have moved from amazement to acknowledgement that what Jesus just did is a work of God-something only God can do. NOTE the progression in their responses. They did not see Jesus as God right from the beginning. Many "Christians" would have difficulty with this progression. It's going in the right direction, but too many believe that a person has to have a climactic experience that settles it once and for all. But that is not reality.

People grow in their responses to Jesus. Check out how it was with Jesus' early disciples. We tend to hold them up as something special and having it all together, but these men were in the process of growing in their trust in Jesus. They were not believers throughout the Gospels. They were not "born-again" Christians. But they were learning, step by step, field trip by field trip, experience by experience. They were being discipled to follow Jesus by Jesus Himself. There was nothing instant or climactic about it. It was a long-term process.

They grew up in the Jewish tradition and religion. But now they are simply following Jesus. Jesus apprehended their lives and once that happened, they were on a spiritual journey that would not only change their lives, but would change the world.

Now, let me ask you something. Has Jesus apprehended your life yet? He is waiting to do so. He will do anything He has to do to in order to get you in alignment with Him. You see, there are 3 vital things Jesus can bring to you.

1. He is the best measure of character you'll ever know and can transform your character in the process. There is no one ever with this sort of character.

2. He is the only one who can bring you the greatest personal fulfillment in your life. If you fashion your life to be like Jesus, you will know genuine fulfillment, inner peace and joy.

3. He is the only one who can bring God to you. If God ever did take on flesh and become man, then Jesus must be the one.

So, have you invited or allowed Jesus to apprehend your life? He apprehended the disciples' lives and they were used to turn the world upside down. He apprehended Paul's life when Paul was a Christian (a fanatic follower of the Christ) who persecuted those who were into Jesus, and transformed him into one who would bear witness to the name of Jesus to the house of Israel, the gentiles and the kings of the gentiles.

When Jesus apprehends your life, He will do great things in and through you, too. So let Him!