This Week's Focus Passage

‘There was carried out one that was dead.’

Focus Passage: Luke 7:12

‘There was carried out one that was dead.’

When Jesus entered into Capernaum, we are told that there was a certain centurion whose servant was sick and at the point of death. Now being at the point of death is, by its very definition, distinct from being dead. The ‘point of death’ makes the distinction that there is still a distance, be it ever so small, between life and death. This centurion’s servant was right there, at the point of death, but not dead, at least not yet. There was yet life in him. Is there not a marvelous distinction between life and death; is there not an incredible ‘point’ involved between the actual cessation of life and the ‘point of death’? Once pass the ‘point of death’ into the next world, and all hopes are dashed, or all hopes are fulfilled. This account has been given to us, as is apparent from the rest of the narrative and the subsequent blessed words of Christ, to instruct us of not only the power of Christ, the demonstration that He is indeed God Himself manifested in our flesh, but also the loveliness and beauty of faith. This centurion’s faith, along with his love for his servant is manifested in the efforts that he made toward the hoped for healing of this servant. The centurion did much trouble himself out of his great affection for this servant. He contacted elders of the Jews that they would go to this ‘Jesus’ to ask Him to come and save his servant. And yet he considered himself not worthy to go to the Master Himself; he did not even consider himself worthy that Jesus should come under his roof. His faith was such that he firmly believed that all Jesus needed to do was to just ‘say the word’ and his servant would be healed. Jesus extolled the faith of this Gentile centurion when He spoke that ‘famous’ sentiment, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. We may surmise that the servant was immediately, at that point, healed, for when they that were sent returned, they found the servant whole. This is a glorious declaration of both the power and compassion of our Lord. He cares for our cares; He feels our agony when loved ones are sick and dying. What a wonder that is; to have the Omnipotent God so concerned for our feelings. But He is all-powerful and truly only needed to ‘say the word’ and the fever, or the leprosy, or the cancer abandoned its place because the Almighty had spoken. The servant was healed from that very hour. Yet this is not the ‘end of the story.’ In the very next instance, His power and compassion toward the sons of men was marvelously demonstrated yet again.

We are brought by Luke from the bedside, as it were, of the centurion’s servant, to the side of the bier of a young man, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.

And it came to pass soon afterwards, that he went to a city called Nain; and his disciples went with him, and a great multitude. Now when he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, there was carried out one that was dead, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. —Luke 7:11-12

Even as the compassion of Jesus was evidenced in the account regarding the healing of the servant of the centurion, so here in this account Luke would have us to know that when the Lord saw her [the mother] he had compassion on her. In John 2:11 after Jesus had turned the water into wine at the marriage in Cana, the apostle informs us that these signs were for the manifestation of His glory. In the story presently before us, He is about to manifest the glory of His power over death. In doing so, He emphatically declares that He is God. God announced to Moses in Deuteronomy 32:29, I, even I, am he, and there is no God with me: I kill, and I make alive. He simply spoke the Word, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. God alone is the giver of life. And spiritual life is through the Son of God. The Scriptures unequivocally make this known. He it was that told the sister of Lazarus, ‘Martha, Martha, I am the resurrection and the life. He is the Way; He is the Truth; He is the Life. There is no other Savior.

This is the unexampled teaching of the apostle, Paul. He reminded those at Colossae of this reality, saying, when Christ who is our life. This only son of this widowed mother of Nain is a beautiful picture of the life-giving Christ. Is this not the manner of God’s dealings with every one of His chosen ones? Were we not, each of us, born in sin and conceived in iniquity? Paul turned that phrase to apply to all those chosen in Christ. He has written to the church in Ephesus—and to us—in 2:1, in strikingly similar terms, And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins. We were, every single one of us, just like that young man upon that bier being carried out of the city of Nain to be buried. We were absolutely dead spiritually. We could not lift a finger to bring ourselves to life. There was not one cubic micro millimeter of breath in us. Unless One interposed, there was nothing left for us but burial. But One did have compassion toward us. And He came to us uninvited, even as He came to Nain; even as He approached the young man’s bier. He spoke the Word of life to us as He spoke the Word of life to that widow’s son. Instantaneously, we arose to new life when the Word was spoken. By the grace of God, we were enabled to drink of the Water of Life. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob these enigmatic, yet glorious, life-giving words:

Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life.

Have we partaken of that Water of Life so that we shall never thirst again? Is that Water of Life becoming in us a well of water springing up unto eternal life? Indeed, are we seen as alive unto Christ that we would be a mediate cause of others being drawn to that Well of living Water?

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

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