Just fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Look at what great things he has done for you!
11 A little later Jesus went to a city called Nain. His disciples and a great crowd traveled with him. 12 As he approached the city gate, a dead man was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. 13 When he saw her, the Lord had compassion for her and said, “Don’t cry.” 14 He stepped forward and touched the stretcher on which the dead man was being carried. Those carrying him stood still. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, get up.” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
16 Awestruck, everyone praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding region.
Today’s verse tells us fear the Lord, and to serve God faithfully, with all our heart. Is this Christmas or Valentine’s Day?
While we are supposed to be thinking about Christmas, I can’t help pondering what I consider the first Valentine’s Day. Hearts were certainly exchanged that day.
It takes place in a small Jewish city called Nain; the only time Nain is mentioned in the Bible. Begin reading Luke 7, at verse 11. Jesus had just healed a Centurion’s servant and a great crowd was following Jesus and his disciples. Luke tells us the story in only a paragraph or two.
Their journey had begun earlier that day in Capernaum, a trip of about 25 miles, so it was probably evening when the entourage arrived in Nain. That’s when funerals took place.
As the travelers approached the town gate, a funeral procession was leaving the city limits. A woman in the procession catches Jesus’ attention. We learn the woman is a widow and the dead person her only son. Her sobbing is probably inaudible as she gasps, trying to catch her breath after shedding gallons of tears.
Her heart is broken. And so is Jesus’. Luke tells us, “When He saw her, the Lord had compassion for her and said, ‘Don’t cry.’ He stepped forward and touched the stretcher on which the dead man was being carried. Those carrying him stood still. Jesus said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up.’ The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.”
The first Valentine’s heart exchange! Jesus felt her pain, just like we do when we grieve along with a friend who has lost a loved one. Jesus’ heart is heavy and his throat hurts as the sadness causes it to tighten. Tears begin to well up in the corner of his eyes. Can you feel the tenderness, love and compassion as their eyes meet and he consoles her? It doesn’t take much imagination to know what the mother was thinking and feeling. She threw her arms, first around her risen son and then around her Savior. Jesus gave her the only gift she truly wanted this day.
Luke doesn’t tell us why Jesus was in Nain. But I like to believe it was for such a time as this.
Jesus always had a purpose and a plan. But he was never too busy to help the hurting people whom he encountered along the way. Jesus is the same today as he was in what I consider the first Valentine’s Day, when he gave a widow from Nain, not only her son, but his heart as well.
Take his heart as well. And give him yours!
by Rick Reed
For Pondering & Prayer
We don’t need a Hallmark card to know what happened that day. Jesus is the same every day and he longs to give us his heart. And we should give him our heart as well.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us understand that you still give away your heart and that you long to take our hearts as well. If we can do this, what a wonderful Christmas we will have! Amen.