3. LUKETHE COMPASSION OF CHRISTLk.7:11-17Next, after that, Jesus was on his way to a town called Nain; and his disciples and a great crowd accompanied him on the journey. When he came near the gate of the town--look you--a man who had died was being carried out to burial. He was his mother's only son, and she was a widow. There was a great crowd of towns-people with her. When the Lord saw her he was moved to the depths of his heart for her and said to her, "Don't go on weeping!" He went up and touched the bier. Those who were carrying it stood still. "Young man," he said, "I tell you, rise!" And the dead man sat up and began to speak. And he gave him back to his mother. And awe gripped them all. They glorified God saying, "A great prophet has been raised up amongst us," and, "God has graciously visited his people." This story about him went out in all Judaea and all the surrounding countryside.AN ONLY CHILD IS HEALEDLk.8:40-42,49-56When Jesus came back the crowd welcomed him for they were all waiting for him. A man called Jairus came to him. He was the president of the synagogue. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and asked him to come to his house, because he had an only daughter who was about twelve years of age and she was dying. As he went the crowd pressed round him ... While he was still speaking someone came from the president's house. "Your daughter is dead," he said. "Don't bother the Master any more." Jesus heard this. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Just have faith and she will be cured." When he had come to the house he allowed no one to come in with him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl's father and mother. They were all weeping and wailing for her. "Stop weeping," he said, "for she is not dead but sleeping." They laughed him down because they were sure she was dead. He took hold of her hand and said to her, "Child, rise!" Her breath came back to her and immediately she rose. He told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were out of themselves with amazement; but he enjoined them to tell no one what had happened.Here is the pathos of life suddenly turned to gladness. Very keenly Luke felt the tragedy of this girl's death. There were three things which made it so poignant.(a) She was an only child. Only Luke tells us that. The light of her parents' life had gone out.(b) She was about twelve years of age. That is to say she was just at the dawn of womanhood because children in the East develop much more quickly than in the West. She could even have been contemplating marriage at that age. What should have been the morning of life had become the night.(c) Jairus was the president of the synagogue. That is to say, he was the man who was responsible for the administration of the synagogue and the ordering of public worship. He had reached the highest post that life could give him in the respect of his fellow-men. No doubt he was well to do; no doubt he had climbed the ladder of earthly ambition and prestige. It seemed as if life--as it sometimes does--had given lavishly of many things but was about to take the most precious thing away. All the pathos of life is in the background of this story.The wailing women had already come. To us it sounds almost repulsively artificial. But to hire these wailing women was a token of respect to the dead that was never omitted. They were sure she was dead, but Jesus said she was asleep. It is perfectly possible that Jesus meant this literally. It may well be that here we have a real miracle of diagnosis; that Jesus saw the girl was in a deep trance and that she was on the point of being buried alive. From the evidence of the tombs in Palestine it is clear that many were buried alive. It could happen the more easily because climatic conditions in Palestine made burial within a matter of hours a sheer necessity. However that may be, Jesus gave her back her life.
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