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God’s Word for You

Luke 7:16-17 Christ the Lord God

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, February 15, 2018

16 Fear gripped all of them, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us” and “God has visited his people!” 17 This was reported about him in all of Judea and in all the surrounding countryside.

The people of Nain were terrified by what happened, but since it happened right there in the middle of them all, while they were all looking, they couldn’t deny what had happened. Here on the Hill of Moreh, where Elisha had once raised the Shunammite’s son from the dead, Jesus had come and had done the very same thing. The one Old Testament story that they associated with their home had been repeated right before their very eyes, but did they understand just what it meant?

They were afraid. This is understandable. A dead man had just ended his own funeral by coming back to life. The Greek verb used by Luke indicates that their fear continued on after this, even after they had time to go home and stop and think about it.

They said, “A great prophet has arisen among us.” Moses had prophesied: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me” (Deuteronomy 18:15). The people were waiting for that prophet to arrive. The people of Nain recognized Jesus as a prophet, but they didn’t quite declare him to be the Christ. They also said, “God has visited his people!” By this they recognized that what had been done was done by the hand of God. They simply didn’t yet understand that it was more than God working through a prophet’s hand, it was God’s own hand, his very own flesh, which touched the man’s coffin. It was the word of God which raised the young man to life, but they didn’t yet understand that it wasn’t God’s words on a prophet’s lips, but God’s very own lips and voice that spoke.

There are too many people in the world who still do not understand that Christ Jesus is the Lord God in the flesh. He is not a lesser being, but all the fullness of God in his own being (Colossians 2:9). Jesus is the Anointed One who came to raise his people up, both from physical death like this boy and from the spiritual death imposed on man by sin. The resurrection of the boy was proof of Jesus’ power to save his people from their sins. In the word “arisen” there’s a hint of all these things, because Luke’s Greek word eygerthey (ἠγέρθη) can mean “raised” (it’s passive) in the sense of someone raised up or lifted up from a group, or raised up from death to life. Paul connects the resurrection of Jesus with the completion of his work on our behalf: “He was delivered over to death for our sins, and was raised (ἠγέρθη) to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25). Because Christ was raised, we know that God the Father accepted his atoning sacrifice for our sins, and showed that all of Jesus’ promises to us will be fulfilled. This is the pure and loving grace of God.

Luther agreed: “Here we should learn the kind of God we have, namely, he who surrounds us and is about us in our very greatest dangers and troubles. Therefore, if one is poor, sticks deep in sin, lies in death, is in sorrows and other afflictions, he thinks: it is a transition state, it is a drop and a spark; for God has surrounded him on all sides with pure wealth, righteousness, life and joy, only he does not permit him to see it. But it is a matter of only a little time when we shall see and enjoy it. Thus you have here an example, not of faith, but of the pure grace and lovingkindness of God.” (Sermon on the 16th Sunday after Trinity).

Know that God is gracious and compassionate, that he hears the prayers of all his people, and that his forgiveness and the promise of the resurrection are yours. Trust in him, always.

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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