Vol. 8-20 – 05-14-2023 – Mother’s Greatest Friend
Soon afterward He went to a town called Nain, and His disciples and a great crowd went with Him. as He drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you arise.” –Luke 7:11-14
A Compassionate Friend
In verse 13 Luke writes that Jesus had compassion on this unnamed mother. The word, compassion, speaks of the deepest kind of concern; you feel it in the depths of your being. Interestingly, the word is used only of Jesus, the Christ, and God the Father. It is a joy to the soul to discover that no one cares for us like Jesus.
In verse 12, we see the mother’s brokenheartedness. Her only son died. Luke does not have to tell us the depth of her grief. We can feel it by reading the passage. Friends probably had to give her physical support as she walked, perhaps reaching out and touching the bier, at times. There may have been professional mourners as well. Not uncommon. Surely tears washed over her eyes, perhaps making it difficult for her to see.
Can you picture Mary as well? It is Luke who records the words of Simeon as he prophesied of Mary’s emotions when she would see her son, Jesus, the Christ, die in the cruelest way possible. It was like a sword piercing through her own soul. Every mother who has to bury a child knows all too well the experience of these mothers.
Luke writes onward, she is a widow. She was alone. Her earthly friends were there for her that day but would be gone tomorrow. It probably would repeat her experience at her husband’s death. Where does a mother go when she is alone in her grief?
We read that Jesus, the Christ, proved to be a compassionate friend—He felt her hurting, saw her helplessness, and then spoke to her three words—hopeful words—do not weep. Words that would make a mother stop. Something was going to take place. Does she recognize this One who is known for His miracles? Do His words stir hope within her? He is a compassionate friend.
A Commanding Friend
There are three commands in verses 13-14. Jesus is not only the friend who listens with compassion; He is the Lord, the One who commands the listening.
There is a sympathetic command, the phrase/command that is first we already noted: Do not weep. We do not read what Jesus expected, perhaps a believing quietness. We are not told. They sound abrupt. But we are not present to hear the tone. Jesus, we know, is the resurrection and the life. We also know that He says, come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Perhaps the mother spoke in her heart bringing her need to the Savior.
We are never without hope because Jesus cares, and He expects that hope to be evident in our lives. Read of the great hope Peter expresses in 1 Peter 1:3, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Peter cannot hold back, as he says in verse 21: through Him are believers in God.
Further: in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (3:15)
There is also a silent command in Luke 7:14, Jesus touches the funeral couch, but with divine authority. Everyone had paused, and stopped moving. Anticipating. When Jesus, the Christ, is about to do His work in and through our lives, how can we turn away? (James 4:7-8). God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (4:6).
This mother, focused on the Lord, had focused on her loss. She receives direction from Him.
Then there is a stirring command. The only One who can speak to this son who is dead, so that he might hear, is Jesus, the Christ. He is in control. He had demonstrated His power. Calmed the sea instantly. Hushed the wind instantly. Called the angels instantly. Now He demonstrates that even the dead respond to him instantly. He is God’s Son. He is Lord of all lords. He is the King of kings.
A Conquering Friend
We know of His conquering. He conquered death. Death could not hold Him, nor can death hold what Jesus sets free.
He said arise to the disciples on the Mount of transfiguration—they heard the voice of God from heaven and were afraid. He said do not be afraid. He said arise to the paralytic whose friends lowered him through the roof of the home where He was speaking. They stare at the one paralyzed for long years, get up and take his bed and walk. To the daughter of Jairus, for whom the funeral mourners had already gathered, He said child, arise! He conquered death.
He conquered despair. The mother’s eyes opened wide, as did the eyes of the gathered. Her son is alive and returned. There is not a circumstance in which Jesus, the Christ, cannot bring hope. The disciples were taught that with Jesus present there is nothing to fear. The paralytic brought amazement from the presence of Jesus. When Jairus’ daughter arose, her parents were amazed.
Jesus showed this mother there is nothing to fear, no cause for her despair. Do not weep.
He conquered doubt. Therefore, godly mothers can have faith. They heard God speak through the Word. They have seen God’s touch that restores life. Restores relationships. Restores families. Dispels doubt. Can anyone really doubt our great God? He conquered death. He conquered despair. He conquered doubt.
This mother’s greatest friend, Jesus, the Christ, can also be your greatest friend. It requires a response. If you have never made a commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you are just as dead spiritually as this mother’s son was dead physically.
Jesus made a difference for that son. He will make a difference for you. He chases after you with His love, grace, and mercy. No one is beyond His touch if but you would draw near to Him.
Every mother’s need is Jesus as their greatest friend. Every man, woman, and child needs Jesus as their friend. He is where sure hope resides. The cares of your life are conquered in Him. Doubt. Despair. Death. He conquers it all. The Savior is waiting.
—from my Mother’s Day message, 1994