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God’s Word for You

Luke 7:12-13 ἰδού Behold!

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, February 13, 2018

12 As he was approaching the town gate, (behold,) there was a dead man being carried out, the only son of his mother. She was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not cry.”

There is a “behold” (idou, ἰδού) in verse 12, which I have added into the EHV translation above. “Behold” is a word the Bible writers use to draw attention to a scene. Sometimes the scene is amazing (Luke 2:10), and other times it seems ordinary, but it’s going to end up being amazing. Just “behold,” pay attention, and you will see for yourself.

This ordinary scene is tragically ordinary for fallen mankind. It’s a funeral procession in progress. Luke says that a lot of people were there, a considerable crowd. Some of them were carrying the body on some kind of stretcher (a soros is a bier or platform of some kind), and his widowed mother was there, and you feel her grief. She was a widow like Naomi, and with the death of her son, she would lose everything—there would be no one to take care of her anymore. But unlike Naomi, there was nobody else there to comfort her. There is no daughter, and no daughter-in-law who is in the picture, and since we meet this lonely widow during the funeral, our hearts go out to her in a more immediate and even more compassionate way than for Naomi.

She was going out to bury her son and to face what would become of the rest of her life, the loneliness and the emptiness ahead. But our idou! behold! is not just for this funeral procession, but for who else was there; who was approaching. This is no ordinary funeral. For although Jesus was mentioned by name in verse 11, he is not mentioned by name in verse 13. He is called “the Lord.”

This is one of those rare times when a writer of the Gospels calls Jesus “Lord” outside the context of what people say in the account. In Mark, this only happens in the last two verses, and I don’t remember one in Matthew. Luke wants us to be absolutely sure that we don’t miss the point. God, the very God who created all things—life, the earth, space, time and everything—the Lord himself is the one who walked up to the gate of this little village at this moment, and for this reason. He had compassion on her. His heart went out to her. God was thinking about her, in this moment of her greatest sorrow. That’s no small thing. That’s something for all of us to remember: God is thinking about you, at the moments of your greatest joys and of your greatest sorrows, and every moment in between. He invites us to pray to him at these moments and at every moment of life, so that we will always turn to him to say, “Thank you,” or “I need you,” or “Forgive me,” or “Take care of my children,” with the same regularity that we say, “Thank you for my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and my glass of milk, Amen.” He is always, always with us. And he always, always cares. If God didn’t care, we wouldn’t have anything in our lives but fear. But God does care. He gives the birds everything they need to get through the freezing cold of winter, and he brings them everything they don’t have. He knows our questions and our troubles, and what does he do? He tells us to listen to his word, and this is where he answers us.

On this day, on this hill, in this village, for this widow, he would do something that would show all of us who he is, why he came into the world, and what is in store for each one of us. Behold!

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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