Proper 6c, Pentecost 3 (June 5, 2016)
TITLE: “And He Gave Him to His Mother”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for today is the Gospel just read from St. Luke chapter seven.
The Virgin’s Son meets the Widow’s Son. That’s the scene we have in our text today. On the one hand, you have the Lord of Life, the son of Mary and the Son of God. He has healed the Centurion’s servant. He is the prophet of God who is with His people. And He is on His way into the city of Nain, a little village that is full of grief.
And there in Nain, you have the Widow’s Son. He’s dead, lying on a bier. We don’t know why he’s dead, or how it happened. All we know is that he is surrounded by a grieving crowd, and especially by his mother, who is a widow. With her dead son all of her life goes into the grave. He was her livelihood, her protection, and kept her place in the village. But without him, she is alone, without anyone, and left to her grief.
But it turns out that she is not alone as she thought. The Virgin’s Son comes to her and bids her, “Do not weep.” So there is the woman, in between death and life. Her dead son and her living Lord are both before her. Who will win in the clash of the parades?
Every day you are faced with this choice, the way of death and corruption, or the way of life and holiness. Will you believe the lies of Satan. Will you believe, as this mother was tempted, will you believe that with her son in the thrall of death, that this is the end for him and for her? Do you believe that is the case? Every day you face sin and corruption. Every day you see the lies surround you. And you even participate in them. Sometimes your cry may be that of the widow from first Kings? “Did you come here just to see me killed?”
But that is really a false picture. You are not the mother in our text, with the choice of life or death. You are the one who is dead, on the bier, being carried out by your friends. That is who you are, because death and corruption has had its way with you. You cannot escape it.
Well, not on your own, at least. For that woman and her son had a friend whom they did not know. They had Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life. In Him lies all of the power of the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come. And He is not satisfied to just say to the woman, “Do not weep.” Left on it’s own, that is a pretty cruel thing to say. But when Jesus says to her, “Do not weep,” He’s not saying, “Buck up, little camper! IF you’re just happy things will get better.” No. When Jesus says “don’t weep,” what He is really saying is, “You don’t need to cry anymore. I will make all things well.”
And He does. He touches the bier, and the funeral parade stops. He says to the dead one, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” Get up. And when the Lord of Life speaks, death itself has to sit up and pay attention. Jesus then gives the young man back to his mother.
But so what? What does that have to do with you, as you sit in between death and life, trying to find your way through the corruption and mess that you face every day?
It means this. You aren’t a neutral party in this whole mess we call life. You don’t make choices between death and life every day. Left to yourself, you are dead, as dead as the young man in our text. But also like this young man and his mother, you are not left to your own devices. You have a champion in Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life. And this Lord of life called you from the grave when you were baptized. And He calls you back every single day of your life.
Today we have A young man being confirmed in this Christian faith. He will confess Jesus Christ the righteous one, and promise to cling to that faith until death. It is the same promise that most of us made at one time here as well. He won’t make this confession on his own, though. That confession is a gift that only God can give by His Word. It is a confession of life against death, and one that can only come as the Holy Spirit gives us by His Word.
God has, indeed, visited His people. Here, today, Jesus Christ has come to you, raised you from the dead, set you up in a place of honor. Come and join the feast. All things are now ready.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.