Torchbearers for Christ
Monday, April 23, 2018
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FROM GLOOM TO GLADNESS

 
The Gospel of Luke, chapter seven, tells a very moving story from which we learn much of our Lord’s pity and His power. It is the account of how the Lord Jesus raised to life a young man who had died and who was being carried to his funeral.
 
Here is the record of this event: “Jesus went to a town called Nain and His disciples and a large crowd went along with Him. As He approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out – the only son of his mother and she was a widow.  A large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry”. Then he went up and touched the coffin and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up”. The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God”. (Luke 7:11-16 NIV). What an incredible event this was! In a moment gloom was turned to gladness.
 
We see that there were two large, very different groups of people involved in this incident. First there was Jesus and His disciples, as well as a large crowd of people with Him. We can believe that they were a joyful group, probably some of them having witnessed the Lord performing miracles. They had responded to His teaching and had found a new life, the forgiveness of their sins, and the bright hope of a life beyond this one. But the group coming towards them were in mourning, weeping and sorrowful. A young man had died and his mother was widowed. There was deep grief, particularly for the mother of the young man, who doubtless had a very special love for him, trusting that he would be a comfort and support to her in her senior years.
 
So the two groups met. Jesus, seeing the widow’s grief, had compassion on her and told her not to weep. He stopped the funeral procession and told the young man to get up. He did so and began to speak. Can you picture the reactions of both groups as they witnessed this extraordinary miracle? There would be weeping, laughter, gasps of astonishment, shouting, a holy awe, and praises to the Lord as people expressed their gratitude to God, saying “God is come to help His people” (Luke 7:16).  What would the widow’s feelings have been as Jesus restored her son to her? She would never forget this awesome moment. We are reminded of a lovely promise contained in Jeremiah 31:13, where God comforted His people, saying “I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them and make them rejoice from their sorrow”. 
 
There were probably some people in both of these groups who had never before had a personal encounter with Jesus and who would now be convinced that He was undoubtedly who He claimed to be: “The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” and make a personal commitment to the Saviour. In John 5:24, Jesus assures us, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life”.
 
The Lord Jesus came into this world because His Father loves every one of us. He expressed that love by sending His only Son to die on the cross and bear our sins in His own body. If we are willing to repent of our sinful ways and trust wholeheartedly in the Lord Jesus, we too can enjoy the assurance of eternal salvation and pass from death to life. May this be a personal experience for us all.
 
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  Since 1983 he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.