Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Weeping. We usually think of it as a sign of sorrow, of mourning, of desolation. I’ve spent some time living in areas of this country which we would consider “the South.” When a person has died, all the friends and relatives gather and weep together - loud, long, and sorrowful. This was the case in the Hebrew custom of the early 1st century. There would even be “professional mourners” who would add to the displays of sorrow when someone died. In a town such as Nain, large enough to have a gate, there may have been quite a number of people weeping and mourning. Here a widow, already with few societal resources, has lost her son.
Jesus’ interruption, then, would have been shocking. Let’s say simply that in all the funerals I have conducted, nobody has ever halted the procession to the graveside and taken charge of the events. Yet that’s exactly what Jesus does. He tells the mother not to weep and he stops the funeral procession.
It’s actually amazing that they didn’t keep on going, ignore him, or even attempt to restrain him or hit him. Jesus did something which was completely unacceptable in the culture. But he did it anyway.
In Jesus there is life. As we considered in Psalm 30, weeping gives way to joy. Or, in the case of some cultures, the weeping of sorrow gives way to the weeping of joy. Imagine the reunion of mother and child.
This incident is also a picture of our future. Given enough time, every last one of us will die. There will be some weeping (I hope). But there will be resurrection, and, with trust in Christ, we can look forward to a reunion with our loved ones and a blessed eternal union with our Lord Jesus. So it is right that Jesus should interrupt our lives, tell us not to weep, and show himself to be the God of resurrection. He is able to do all that is needed to bring us to our heavenly Father.
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