Luke 7:11-17

Luke 7:11-17  (2008)

What we have just read is an incident of Jesus raising a young man from the dead. 

This incident happened after Jesus healed the centurion’s servant.

Jesus had been going around the region, teaching and healing the sick.

These miracles that He performed show us that He was not just a man.

These miracles show us that He is indeed God.

There are 3 points that I want to make this morning.

1) Man is helpless against death

2) Jesus is compassionate towards man’s helplessness against death

3) Are you ready for the moment of death?

1) Man is helpless against death

The Bible tells us that there are 2 kinds of death: spiritual and physical.

Spiritual death occurred when Adam & Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.

God gave a clear instruction: “you shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” – Gen 2:17

At that time when God gave that instruction, Adam and Eve were still spiritually alive.

Therefore they were capable of choosing to obey and keep God’s law.

However, the Bible recorded for us that Eve was deceived by the devil.

In Gen 3:6, we read that she chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

She even gave some of the fruit to Adam.

And from that incident, spiritual death fell upon mankind.

Rom 5:12 Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed on all men inasmuch as all sinned:

What does this spiritual death mean for mankind?

2 things: First, it meant that we no longer have the ability to commune with God.

Our spiritual eyes are now blind.

Everyone born into this world will not have the natural ability to see God’s hand in His creation.

In addition, his heart is naturally inclined to do evil.

Someone told me that this is reason why a baby cries the moment it is born.

I do know whether there is a scientific reason why the baby cries the moment it is born.

But Psalms 51:5 does say that “in sin my mother conceived me”.

There is no exception; everyone of us was born in sin.

Gen 6:5 And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Spiritual death means that we no longer have the ability to choose to follow or obey God.

Secondly, spiritual death also meant physical death for mankind as well.

When Adam and Eve sinned, the entire Creation of God was tainted.

Rom 8:20 For the creation was not willingly subjected to vanity, but because of Him who subjected it on hope

Rom 8:22 And we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. 

God’s creation, although sustained by His mercy, is no longer the same as it was before.

Sometimes you see various types of deformity in creation, eg. 2 headed tortoise, etc.

Other times, the elements of nature become hazards for mankind – earthquakes, floods, etc.

And eventually, at some point of his life, man will die a physical death.

Gen 6:3 And Jehovah said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, in his erring; he is flesh. Yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

In a sense, it is God’s mercy that physical death comes upon man. 

Otherwise, we will be living forever in an imperfect world.

We will be faced with pain and sorrow for eternity.

But the point is this: spiritual and physical death are real and they cause us great sorrow.

Whenever death occurs amongst our loved ones, we grieve and we moan.

Whenever sin manifests itself in our relationships, we grieve and we moan.

The saddest part of it is that natural man is helpless against spiritual and physical death.

And we are also helpless against the effects brought about by spiritual and physical death.

Even the most advanced in modern technology and medical science has no cure for this.

And I will tell you that they will never find a solution for this.

What can you do about it?

The only hope we have is what I will tell you in my second point.

2) Jesus is compassionate towards man’s helplessness against death.

The God who created the heavens and the earth is fully aware of man’s situation and predicament.

He is the one and only one who can provide the solution for our spiritual and physical death.

Right after Adam and Eve sinned, God said this in Gen 3:15.

Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

This is the first prophetic glimpse we have of God’s salvation plan for mankind.

It is the first hint we have that Jesus Christ will be born through a Godly heritage on earth.

And through that plan, Satan will be destroyed and death will be overcomed.

God knows our total helplessness against death.

And so, He provided the only solution for man to overcome spiritual and physical death.

There were 3 incidents recorded in the gospels of Jesus raising people from the dead.

In Matt 9:18, we read of a certain Ruler whose daughter has died.

He came specifically to ask Jesus to raise her from the dead.

Without hesitation, we are told in verse 19, that Jesus followed him.

As a parent myself, I can tell you that the Ruler was probably devastated by his daughter’s death.

He was helpless about it and could only find help in Jesus.

And the good news is that Jesus was compassionate & responded to his request without hesitation.

And He raised the little girl from the dead.

In another incident in John 11, we read of the death of Lazarus.

This Lazarus is the brother of Mary and Martha, in whose home Jesus had gone.

And in this incident, we have the shortest verse in the Bible John 11:35 with just 2 words: “Jesus wept.”

Jesus understands the pain and sorrow brought about by spiritual and physical death. 

He not only understands it, He empathizes with us about it.

He wept when His own friend Lazarus died a physical death.

Friends, this is Jesus – God Himself, weeping with us over the issue of death.

But the good news is that He was not just compassionate, He raised Lazarus from the dead.

There are other incidents recorded in the Bible of people being raised from the dead.

1 Kings 17 records the incident of Elijah raising the dead son of the widow in whose house he stayed.

2 Kinds 4 records the incident of Elisha raising the dead son of the Shunammite woman.

Acts 9 records the Apostle Peter raising a woman called Dorcas from the dead.

Acts 20 records the Apostle Paul raising a young man called Eutychus who died because he fell from a 3-storey house.

Where were these people while they were dead before they were raised back to physical life?

The fact is that we do not know.

It is not recorded in the Bible.

It is probably not necessary for us to know.

They were recorded in the Bible so that we appreciate that the fact that we are helpless as far as death is concerned.

It is for us to realize that death has been overcomed because God was compassionate toward us.

In His providence, God sent holy men to those situations and restored life to those died.

And in our passage today, we are told in verse 13, “..Jesus had compassion on her..” (ie. the widow whose son had died)

We are once again reminded that Jesus understood the sorrow caused upon us by death.

And Jesus raised the young man from the dead.

Now, these miracles were recorded for us so that we know Jesus is indeed God.

But I want to tell you that even these miracles were, in a sense, only a temporary solution.

These people who were raised from the dead will eventually die a physical death again.

A more permanent solution is required.

And that is what Jesus came to accomplish.

Just as we are told in Gen 3:15, He came to “bruise Satan’s head”.

He came to strike a blow that will be a permanent in victory over Satan.

And that is why Jesus had to offer Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for sin on the Cross.

He died a physical death Himself.

But He overcame death and rose again.

And He says “..whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus is now in Heaven, seated at the right hand of God.

He tells us in Matt 28:18 that He has been given “all power in heaven and on earth”.

He will come again soon.

He will come to bring His people into heaven with Him.

Jesus is compassionate toward man’s helplessness against death and has provided all that is required to overcome this helplessness.

But the question we all need to ask is my third point for today.

3) Are You Ready for the moment of death?

Some people die a slow death.

Some people die a sudden death.

Some people die a painful death.

We all want a peaceful death.

And I want to tell you that we must never trivialize death.

There is a company in Korea called KLCC that provides a service called Life Consulting.

They put you in a coffin, write an obituary for you and conduct your funeral service.

And all these take place while you are lying alive in the coffin.

People who went through this say it is a frightening, yet a life-changing experience.

They say that they learnt to be contented with what they have, say sorry to their loved ones and live better lives after that.

Unfortunately, the experience did not draw them any closer to God.

What exactly does the Bible tell us concerning the experience of death?

It is that moment when your consciousness of your earthly presence is instantly transformed into an eternal awareness.

An eternal awareness of what?

An awareness that you are either in heaven or in hell.

Jesus gave us a glimpse of this in one of His parables in Luke 16:20.

A beggar called Lazarus died and he was instantly transported to the side of Abraham, in heaven.

On the other hand, a rich man also died but was he was instantly transported into hell.

There is no in between place that you will end up in.

The Roman Catholics think that there is a place called purgatory where believers remain for a while.

They think that they have to pray for those in purgatory so that they may be “promoted” to heaven.

Now, there is no scriptural basis for such a doctrine.

The Roman Catholics developed this understanding from the Apocrypha which we do not consider as being part of the Bible.

When you die, you are instantly either in the presence of God in heaven or you will be in hell.

You bring with you nothing that you own or possess on earth.

You have absolutely no control of what happens to you.

It is only the Lord Jesus Christ who has the power to control what will happen to you.

The question you need to ask is whether He is for you or against you.

What if death happens to you right now?

My non-Christian friends, are you ready for death?

Children and young people in our midst, I don’t want to frighten you, but are you ready for death?

Members of this Church, do you have assurance of salvation for the faith that you profess?

There is urgency for this matter because it affects your eternal destiny.

You may have heard of a great preacher by the name of DL Moody.

On 8 Oct 1871, he was preaching in Chicago at an evening service.

He asked the congregation to evaluate their relationship with Jesus Christ.

He then asked them to return the next week to make their decisions for Him.

But that next week never came for that congregation.

Because that very night, a cow kicked over a lantern and started a fire.

The fire was so great it destroyed a great part of the city of Chicago.

Over 270 people were killed, many of whom were those that DL Moody preached to that night.

What a tragic incident. 

DL Moody was a great revival preacher.

But he acknowledged that one the greatest regrets he had in his life was this:

He allowed that congregation to postpone their decisions for Jesus on 8 Oct 1871.

Friends, are you ready for the moment of death?

Before you live this place, I ask you to evaluate your relationship with Jesus Christ.

But more than that, I plead with you that you cannot neglect so great a salvation God has offered.

There is a saying that goes like this:

“Born once, Die Twice; Born twice, die once”.

Let me explain what this saying means:

If you are born only once, in the form of your physical birth, you will suffer 2 deaths – a physical death and an eternal death after that.

But if you are born twice, in the form of your physical birth and a spiritual birth by faith in Jesus, you will suffer only one death – a physical death.

After your physical death, you will be in heaven with God forever.

Friends, what would it be for you today?

God has spoken from His word.

You cannot delay your decision for Him.

And just as Jesus gave life to the widow’s son in Luke 7, Jesus can give life to you.

Call upon Him and He will open your spiritual eyes.

If you are a Christian but have backslided, I urge you to get right with God.

You must not delay this any further.

Let me close by reiterating the 3 points I have made today:

1) Man is helpless against death

2) Jesus is compassionate towards man’s helplessness against death

3) Are you ready for the moment of death?

Let us pray.

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