The One Who is Here to Help

The One Who is Here to Help

Luke 7:11-17 “11Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.12As 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.13When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”15The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.”17This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. {{more}} There are four funeral scenes on the pages of the New Testament. And at each one of these funerals, the people in attendance are touched by the presence and power of Jesus Christ. One of these funerals takes place at the home of a 12 year girl who has just died. Everyone is crying. Everyone is upset. So Jesus sends everyone out of the room except for Peter, James, and John. He takes the girl by the hand and says “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” Immediately, the girl sits up and everyone praises God. Because they have witnessed for themselves the presence and power of Jesus Christ. Amen! And then you have the famous funeral of John chapter 11. Lazarus has been buried for four days. But Jesus steps forward to the tomb. He says, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”And then Jesus says “Lazarus, come forth! And immediately, Lazarus rises from the grave. And many of the people who were at that funeral put their faith in the Lord, because they have witnessed for themselves the presence and power of Jesus Christ. Amen!This week, we are going to attend the funeral of a young man from the village of Nain. We are going to follow along as the pallbearers carry the open casket to its final resting place. Then we will experience the presence and power of Jesus Christ. After that, we are going to talk about what God wants us to do after we have experienced the presence and power of Jesus Christ.The story begins in Luke 7:11. Jesus is in Capernaum. He had just performed one of his most outstanding miracles. Crowds of people have gathered around Him. His popularity had increased more and more. If He decides to spend the rest of His ministry in Capernaum, I would not blame Him at all! Amen! But in verse 11, the Lord decides to travel 20 miles south to a small village of no more than 200 people. So He can be there for a woman whose only son is about to be buried outside town.We often picture the Lord as this high and holy Being who hides out in heaven while the rest of us try to sort out our lives on the earth. But here, is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus going out of the way to comfort a grieving woman in her time of need.Some of you have experienced loss. And there are days when you are tempted to ask, “Where is God when life hurts? Where is God when my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks? Where is God when the grief is so thick I can almost touch it with my hands?”The answer is that God is right here! He goes out of His way to be by your side when life hurts. He goes out of His way to give you strength when you have no strength of your own. He goes out of His way to comfort you when the only thing you can feel are the tears streaming down your cheeks. The Bible says in Isaiah 57:15 that God lives “in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” When people ask me “Where is God when life hurts?” I tell them “God is here to help His people.” Amen!We have seen the presence of Christ. Now I want you to see the Compassion of Christ. Jesus arrives at the city gate. And the Bible tells us in verse 12 that the body of a young man is being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she’s a widow.Every funeral I have attended has been an instance where we have needed the presence and power of Jesus Christ. But what makes this one particularly poignant is that One: the woman has experienced the death of a young son, which is probably the hardest thing a person could ever experience. Number two: Before this, she lost her husband, which might be the second hardest thing a person could ever experience.And so in verse 13, Jesus watches as this woman leads the processional out of town. He sees her tears. He understands her situation. And His heart goes out to her. And He says “Do not cry.”And the lady is probably thinking, “What are you talking about? I have lost the two people that mean more to me than anyone else in the world. I have no way to support myself. I’m probably going to lose my home. I am going to be dependent on the charity of other people for the rest of my life. And you are telling me not to cry?”If any of us told this woman not to cry, people would say we were inconsiderate. But Jesus tells this woman not to cry because he intends to remove the reason for the crying. You see, when Jesus Christ shows compassion, He does not just say, “Oh, that’s too bad. It’s a shame that things like that have to happen.” No. One of the things we learn in this story is that Jesus Christ is compassionate enough to get involved! He’s compassionate enough to do something!One of the reasons I consider it a privilege to preside over a funeral is because I know that Jesus is going to be there! I know that He’s going to be a rock of refuge for the grieving family. I know that He is going to bring a word of assurance that someday, the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised, and we will be reunited with our Christian loved ones in a glorious family reunionAnd for the woman, that glorious event happens today. We have seen the presence of the Lord. The compassion of the Lord. Now we will see the Power of the Lord. Jesus goes up to the open casket. He touches it. Then He says “Young man, I say to you, Get Up!” And immediately, the young man sits up and he starts talking. And the people say, “Wow! Praise the Lord! This is the most awesome funeral I’ve ever been to!!! Hallelujah!”Then they remember that Elijah the prophet did a very similar miracle for a widow back in 1st Kings 17. And they shout aloud, “A great prophet has appeared among us! God has come to help His people!”That right there is the reason Jesus does this miracle. Not because He plans on doing this every time there’s a funeral. But to remind us that God has come to help His people in whatever way they need to be helped.We see this all through the Bible. In Exodus 3, the Lord appears to Moses in a burning bush. And He says, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. I have seen the misery of my people. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them to the Promised Land!” Why does the Lord want to do these things? Because God has come to help His people.And over in 1st Kings 19, Elijah has been running for his life to get away from Queen Jezebel. In verse four he falls into a depression and says, “Lord, I’m all alone. I’m not making a difference. Take my life. I am no better than my ancestors.” But then God sends an angel to wake him up. And in verses 14-18, he says, “You are not alone. I have more work for you to do. And I am going to give you the strength and the support to do it.” Why does the Lord speak to Elijah like this? Because God has come to help His people.”And in Luke chapter one, Elizabeth and Zechariah have been praying for years that God would give them a child. And in verses 12-20, an angel appears to Zechariah and says, “Not only are you going to have a son, but he is going to be the one who announces the coming of the Messiah!”Later on in verse 68, Zechariah says “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to redeem us! He has come to help His people!” And in 1st Corinthians 15:3, the Bible says Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried, and then He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. He appeared to Peter, then to James, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than 500 people at one time.” Amen! Why did Jesus choose to go through all that stuff? Why did Jesus die for our sins and rise on the third day? The answer is because God has come to help His people.I want you to share that with someone this week. Tell them that God is here to help His people. You may know someone who is struggling with spiritual things. You hear them say, “If I died today, I do not know if I would go to heaven. I do not know if God will accept me.” You can tell that person, “God loves you. He sent Jesus to die for every sin that you ever committed. And if you ask Him to be your Lord and Savior and to give you eternal life, He will. Because God is here to help.” Amen!Or you might know a person wrestling with a relationship issue. You hear them say, “I do not know what God wants me to do. This situation has been going on for such a long time. I do not have any answers. What is my next move?”You can tell that person, “You know what? I believe that God is here to help us. I believe that if we pray about this together, God is going to show you what to do. And He will give you the courage to do it.” Amen!Or maybe you know someone who is in the same situation as the woman in our story. They are grieving the loss of a loved one. They say, “Some days, I think I’m doing pretty well. And other times, I feel like I’m right back at square one. Will I ever make it through this hour of sadness? Will I ever start feeling like myself again?”You can tell that person, “I believe that God is here to help us. I believe that most days, there are two sets of footprints in the sand. And the other days are the days He’s carrying us. I believe that someday, God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. And there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away.”Maybe you are thinking, “Brother Nelson, I am not the kind of person who feels comfortable talking about these things. Are you sure that this is what you want me to do?”That is a good question. First of all, you should never worry ahead of time about what you are going to say because Matthew 10:20 says, that Jesus will give you the right words at the right time. Amen!Secondly: If you cannot say it out loud, you can send someone a card. You can say, “I want you to know I have been praying for you. I want you to know that God is here to help His people.” Amen!Number three: When you take time to help out at a funeral supper, or in a Sunday school class, you are communicating the same message with your actions. “God is here to help.”If you are reading this message this week and you do not know the Lord, I want you to know that God is here to help you. And if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Reach out to the One who is here to help His people. Now you know who was here to help you!