Roger's Postings

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Luke 7:11-17. God has come to help his people!!                              9/6/13

 11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
16 They were all filled with awe and 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 country.

 Here in this reading a most profound thought comes through to us in the fact that God’s heart has gone out to a sinful, lost and dying humanity. He had and has every right to wipe his hands of us all; because again and again we have turned our backs on him and what he has to say to us. There is nothing in us or about us that make us in any way acceptable to him. Yet his heart has gone out to us.

 He knows all the little and big faults and failings of every one of us. He knows our every hurt and tragedy that lies in the deep dark recesses of our lives. He knows the deaths that we have faced and will ourselves face. All because of a sinful humanity that has failed to take God seriously. He knows that a sinful humanity cannot stand in God’s presence without being destroyed. He knows that because of our disobedience and selfishness we have only one destiny and that is hell. Yet his heart goes out to each one of us.

 However he doesn’t just feel for us and the tragedy that surrounds us as a result and then move on and ignore us, going back to his great life in heaven. No he leaves behind his Father and all his glory and comes down to be one of us. He comes to us to do what is needed in order for there to be a way out for us. God has come to help his people.

 However even here, he does far more than simply provide a miracle here and there, like raising this young man from the dead. He does far more than simply show his great power over sickness, death and much more, so that we can know for sure that here in Jesus, God is at work. He does far more than coming and providing a great example for us to follow and telling us how we should live and act as his people; then telling us to lift our game. He does far more than simply espouse for us a new and better way to live our lives. He does far more than simply tell us that God loves us and so get on with life. He does far more than expose our self-righteousness and our thinking that we are doing ok by ourselves. He points out quite clearly that not one single one of us is anywhere near good enough to be acceptable to get to heaven. God has come to help his people in an even greater way than that.

 He knows that none of this solves the terrible predicament that we have got ourselves into by going against God and his holiness. None of this helps us out of the mess that we are in. No, he comes and dies in our place. He came to this earth, to us, primarily to take the punishment that we deserve for our disobedience and rebellion against God. He came so that God would sacrifice his own Son so that we might be saved from eternal death and separation from God. Not only did his heart go out to us, but he did what was necessary for our forgiveness and salvation. God has come to the cross to help his people.

 So now, no matter who we are or what we have done or what has been done to us, there is salvation and hope for us all. Now there is eternal life in heaven for us all. Now we are able to stand once more in God’s presence without being destroyed. All we are called on to do it to believe it and then go on and live in light of it. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.

 Now there is no need for us to cry. There is no need for us to be ‘down in the dumps’ and despondent about life: no matter how tragic our situation might be. On the one hand life is tough in our world today. We all are continually confronted with death. Physical death, and also of the death of a society that has lost its way and is floundering around trying to cling on its ‘great way of life’ that is fast slipping from our grasp. Having driven God from our lives our society is trying desperately to breathe new life, but only finding the stench of futility and meaninglessness. However for those of us who are prepared to acknowledge it, here in Jesus and his death on the cross we find that God has come to help his people.

 That is the wonderful Good News that lies at the heart of our Christian faith and life. God’s heart has gone out to us; and his death on the cross for us has taken place, so that we can now live and be his people, wherever we are from and whatever we do. God has come to help his people in the midst of the rough and tough of life.

 As a result of this, surely our reaction would be even greater than that of those people from our reading who were in the funeral crowd and saw Jesus raise that young man from the dead. They were all filled with awe and praised God. They recognized that God had come to help them with this death of the young man.

 However we here have received something of infinitely greater worth than of the extension of life for a few more years. We have been assured of eternal life in heaven with God himself where everything will be truly great; so we have even more reason to be truly filled with awe and to praise God. This is surely the greatest thing that could ever, by far, happen to us.

 Despite being totally unworthy of anything like this happening, God in his grace has done way beyond what would ever be deemed possible. This is the greatest news that could ever be extended to us. As a result will surely now hold our Lord up as the most significant and important thing in our life. We will want to be in his presence whenever we can be. We will hang on to his every word. We will want to do what he wants us to do. He will be front and centre for each one of us.

 Now we can get on with life with confidence and certainty, for our God loves us and forgives us. Now we will love God and neighbour above and beyond ourselves. Now we will not wander aimlessly through life, but get on with living as God’s people wherever we are and whatever our task in our daily lives. But we will always seek to do it in response to all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

 Forgiveness, life and salvation has been extended to us and we are, with his help and guidance, now enabled to live with confidence and certainty. As a result of his love to us we are now able to look up and out beyond ourselves. Our hearts are enabled to go out to those around us who are lost and hurting and dying. We can have compassion for them and their situation. We can point them to the only hope that there is for any and every one of us.

 We can do so because now we know where real help is found and can be had for them also: not just food, clothing and other temporary helps; but deep and lasting help that extends to eternal life with God. We can help them to know why they are in trouble; that sinful, selfish humanity is the cause of it all, but also the wonderful Good News of what Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection has done to rectify the situation and give us real and lasting benefits.

 So now in this way may his Spirit be with us and lead us so that our hearts may go out to those around about us who are lost, hurting and separated from God, and may our deeds follow so that they too may come to know this wonderful Good News that has be extended to us all.

May we be continually strengthened and encouraged to live with confidence so that many others are drawn to the Good News of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection for us and our salvation.
God has come to help his people. Our reading reminds us that he has power over earthly death, which was a pointer to his also having power over eternal death.

 So this has to be something that is oh so important for us as we live out our lives every day. This surely turns life upside down for us; and is such that we now want to give him all glory and honour now and always. For after all this is the best news that we could ever know and be connected to. Amen.

 Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish




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