His Voice Is Stronger Than Your Death

Text:  Luke 7:11-19

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

Do not weep! Yes, do not weep!

These were the words that Jesus said to the widow of Nain, for she was crying out loud and for quite some time.

But how could she stop crying?

As a widow, death had already devoured her husband, and now, death had just gobbled up her only son. She had no close family left for her. So here she was with a group people bringing her dead son out with grief and tears – it was a funeral procession. And with each step, she cried. With each step outside, I imagine the realization of her loss become more and more real.

So, how could she stop crying? How does one turn off the tears when death has been so ruthless and so harsh with a person? 

You see my friends; death is the great enemy that we will all face. It is the one thing that we all have in common – we will all face death for there is no escaping death. And when we face death, we will not have the strength to fight it off. We will not survive. We know this to be true for we have seen it with our loved ones who have been swallowed up by death, resulting in us being all alone and frightened and often in tears. And yet in the midst of all of this misery, Jesus still dares to say, “Do not weep.”

But how can Jesus say, “Do not weep?”

Was Jesus attempting to be an insensitive jerk to this woman by telling her not to cry? Did He not understand her pain – her agony? Was he indifferent to her grief? 

Jesus knew that she had seen the death of her husband and He was aware that she had lost her son. And contrary to what it might seem, His heart was touched with pity and compassion. In fact, there was a turning in Jesus’ gut – you know that kind of feeling that grips your insides and causes you to want to make things right.

And so, with this pity and compassion, Jesus goes up to the coffin of the dead son. He grabs the coffin, stops the massive funeral procession, and does the unthinkable. He speaks, saying, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” And like all of those other cases of the dead encountering Jesus in the New Testament, this young man sits up and begins to speak.

Jesus stops the procession of grief. He ends the journey to the grave. He stops death in its tracks and speaks through its grasp. Jesus’ words penetrate the dead ears of the young man – no the words of Jesus actually cause those dead ears to hear, and life then came forth in the man. Jesus speaks; death releases its bite; the young man is brought back from the dead.

Now we can understand why Jesus told the woman not to weep. She did not need to cry when Jesus was near. Yes, why cry and why worry when Jesus is the one who defeats death. Jesus is the raiser of the dead. His voice is stronger than death. When Jesus speaks, death is forced to give up its victims.  

I have told Serenity that on my tombstone, I want the verse from John 11:43 printed that says, “When Jesus had said this, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!’” Now, my name is not Lazarus; however, like Lazarus, when I am put six feet under, the next thing my dead ears will hear is the words of Jesus saying, ‘Matthew come out!” And in the twinkling of an eye, those words will scatter death, and I will be brought back from the dead unto life. 

You see my friends; the Lord Himself promises to descend from heaven with the cry of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the Lord will command those who have died to come out of the grave. And like that son at the city of Nain, everyone who is dead in Christ will sit up alive. Death will release its grip. The graves will burst forth, and those in Christ will rise!

What this means is this: Nain was not just an isolated event. Nain is a clear picture of what happens when Jesus encounters death. Instead of that funeral in Nain ending in tears of sadness at a burial, it ended up with tears of joy and with worship at a resurrection. Instead of the grave having the last word over life, Jesus had the final say over death. Jesus spoke and raised the son back to life and gave the son back to his mother. Yes, He gave the dead son back to his mother.

Now, some of you here today have walked the road of the widow of Nain. You have lost a spouse and a child. Almost all of you have walked behind a coffin bearing someone you have loved. And if you haven’t yet, you will. And as you know from your experiences with death, death shows no mercy, and it shows no pity. Death laughs as it takes its victims, while we weep.

The Lord Jesus, though, knows our sorrows. He understands the tactics and threats of death upon us. And so, Jesus arranges both His path and ours; He arranges them so that they meet. And in the midst of troubles, He sees us and understands our sorrows. And like the widow of Nain, we too hear His comforting words, “Do not weep.”

These are not words of rebuke. These are not words of harshness, but they are words of assurance. Do not weep, for death is not the finality of life for you and for your loved ones who are baptized into Christ.

Dear Baptized Saints, take these simple words to heart, “Do not weep,” for it does not matter how long death held someone in the grave. “Do not weep,” for it does not matter the age that a person dies. “Do not weep,” for it does not matter how a person dies. Whether it is the dead son at Nain, or whether it is dead Lazarus, or whether it is your loved one who passed away or whether it is you, when the voice of Jesus calls forth to the baptized, death must release its grip.  

Dear Baptized Saints, you need have no fear of death. Your grave is conquered; the victory is yours through our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ will call out to you someday, and you will hear His voice, and you will sit up with life. And there is more. This calling of Jesus to ‘get up’ and to ‘come out of our graves’ is not only a call into Jesus’ presence, but it is a calling into the presence of all the saints. That is right; we will all be made alive with each other – together in everlasting life. Yes, we will see each other after everything is made anew. And what about those who have already died and are tucked into their graves? We will see them too. But we will not see them as we remembered them. We will not see them with sorrow, pain, fear, and sin. Oh no, we will see them face to face with no sorrow, no pain, no fear, and no sin.

Baptized Saints, Jesus gave the dead son back to the widow of Nain. And just as Jesus delivered the separated son back to his mother, Jesus will do the same for you and me. Jesus will restore the dead to the living and the living to the dead. Indeed, we will be reunited with all of our loved ones who have passed away. Death will no longer be able to separate us. Just think, at the great resurrection of the dead, the dead in Christ will be called out of their graves unto Christ. And all of us together in the presence of the Lamb of God will dance with new bodies while rejoicing that Jesus has defeated sin, death, and the devil. We will shout and laugh and jump for Jesus called us out of death, wiped away all of our tears, and gave us life – together and forever!

The story of Nain is a clear picture of our hope in the presence of death. This hope is not based on human speculation, but rather, it is based on what Jesus has done and will do.

Do not cry.

Get up.

Jesus makes all things new.    

In the name of Jesus: Amen. 

Photo from: www.fullofeyes.com

CLICK HERE to 'Like' on Facebook
CLICK HERE to 'Follow' on Twitter
CLICK HERE to Subscribe on iTunes
CLICK HERE to Subscribe on Podbean