Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily Devotional, where, after a short break, we now continue in the gospel of Luke. This week, we have been using Jesus’ account of the raising of the widow’s son as inspiration for our reflections.
‘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.” Then he went up and touched the bier 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. 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.’ (Luke 7:11-17)
Lesson: Jesus raising of this man from death foreshadows our future bodily resurrection when Christ comes again.
You can listen to this devotional at:
This week, we’ve seen that this account encourages us to believe that Jesus continues to have compassion, heal and work miracles. We’ve seen that this miracle points to the great miracle of our salvation, which is a spiritual resurrection. Finally, today, we see that this miracle is a foreshadowing of our future bodily resurrection when Christ comes again.
Prior to His raising of Lazarus from death, Jesus reveals His identity to Martha in her grief:
‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”’ (John 11:25-26)
Jesus is the giver of all forms of life. Natural and spiritual life are His gift. Our salvation is His miracle of new birth. Added to this is the great promise of future resurrection at His Second Coming. By His grace, like this widow’s son, we will be raised, but in a new ‘resurrection body’ like Jesus has. Paul teaches at length on Jesus and our future resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15; In this section he teaches on the unbreakable link between Jesus’ resurrection and our future bodily resurrection. For example, we read:
‘But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.’ (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
Paul calls Jesus’ resurrection the ‘firstfruits’. This is about Him being the first of many to follow. Imagine moving into a new home with a fruit tree that you don’t recognise in the garden. When the tree produces an apple or a pear, you know that all the fruit that will follow will be of the same kind. Likewise, Jesus’ resurrection is the same kind as all Christians will experience.
‘The term “firstfruits” (Gk. aparchē) refers to a first sample of an agricultural crop that indicates the nature and quality of the rest of the crop; therefore, Christ’s resurrection body gives a foretaste of what those of believers will be like.’ (ESV Notes)
He goes on to say:
‘The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.’ (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
We may wish otherwise for ourselves or for others, and we may pray and even pay that it were not so, but our current bodies are perishable, dishonoured, weak and a ‘natural body’ - a normal earthly, flawed and mortal body. However, we have the promise that because of Jesus’ death, resurrection and His power working in us, our bodies will be transformed as they are raised imperishable, glorious, powerful and spiritual!
Today, we see that this miracle is a foreshadowing of our future bodily resurrection when Christ comes again. Today, as we ‘see’ Jesus raise this widow’s son and the rejoicing of the crowds, let’s see that day when those who have died in Christ, and we ourselves, will be raised as Jesus was raised and there will be eternal joy!
I end with this extract from a poem by Malcom Muggeridge:
‘For myself, as I approach my end, I find Jesus’ outrageous claim ever more captivating and meaningful. Quite often, waking up in the night as the old do, and feeling myself to be half out of my body, that it is a mere chance whether I go back into it to live through another day, or fully disengage and make off; hovering thus between life and death, … Jesus’s words ring triumphantly through the universe, spanning my two existences, the one in Time drawing to a close and the one in Eternity at its glorious beginning… Are caterpillars told of their impending resurrection? How in dying they will be transformed from poor earth-crawlers into creatures of the air, with exquisitely painted wings? If told, do they believe it? Is it conceivable to them that so constricted an existence as theirs should burgeon into so gay and lightsome as a butterfly’s? I imagine the wise old caterpillars shaking their heads—no, it can’t be; it’s a fantasy, self deception, a dream. Similarly, our wise ones. Yet in the limbo between living and dying…I hear those words: “I am the resurrection, and the life,” and feel myself to be carried along on a great tide of joy and peace.’ ( Malcolm Muggeridge, Jesus, the Man Who Lives)
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals.
How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Worship together
Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.
4. Study and pray together
After a short break, we now continue in the gospel of Luke. This week in our devotionals and in this CG study, we will be learning from Jesus’ account of the raising of the widow’s son.
Please read Luke 7:11-17
If you were to summarise this account, how would you say it in one sentence?
Why do you think that Luke puts this and the previous miracle together in this way?
What stood out to you or how did God speak to you from Sunday's message?
What characteristics does this event reveal about Jesus?
What are the various applications and how, specifically, do you feel to respond to the message of this moment?
What was the end result of this encounter with Jesus?
SIV - How could you show the power and compassion of Christ to those outside of faith?
SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?
SIV - Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.
Jesus remains, as in this text, compassionate and powerful. Therefore, does anyone want prayer for anything else arising from this study?