Providence. What does that mean? Have I been looking for God? Has God been looking for me? Today our text in Luke reveals a man coming to God with his problem and God coming to a woman and her son with their problem. Providence.
Luke 7:1-17 Jesus at work in the fields of harvest.
A certain centurion – we would all be blessed if we were to be singled out by the Lord to be shown as an example to others. ________________________________________________ This man had Jewish servants (slaves) but the man cared for his, as verse 2 says, “servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die.” Verse 3 says he sent, “elders of the Jews to Jesus”. Jews traditionally had no dealings with Gentiles but this soldier was valuable, even esteemed in this community. The Jews present their case to Jesus.
They begged Him earnestly – The NIV renders this, pleaded earnestly.
The reason for their passionate entreaty is given in verse 4 and 5, “the one (Centurion) was deserving, for He loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.” ____________________
“Then Jesus went with them” – The Lord was willing to go against the current social constraints, defying racial prejudice as political correctness. __________________________
Before Jesus can even get there the Centurion sends a message: “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof.” (6) For a man who holds much power, this centurion shows great humility. _________________________________
The Lord seizes this teachable moment - “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”
So in this scene we have seen displayed the kind of faith that gets God’s attention:
Faith starts with humility. He had authority but he did not abuse it.
Faith flows with gratitude. He cared for others (servants) and his community.
Faith is evident in service. He did much on behalf of others.
Next we find Jesus in Nain, where He encounters a funeral procession.
Let’s get great encouragement from Nain. ________________________________________ Providence would say, ‘Because God is God’. Faith says, ‘Because God knows all things’. Love says, ‘You are significant’. Verse 11 gives us timing, the next day, and the participants, Jesus, His disciples, and a large crowd. At the city gate, Jesus procession meets a funeral procession. What a collision. Life runs straight into death. ____________________________________
In the midst of the tumult Jesus sees the widow, who by this very title “widow”, is at a distinct disadvantage in her culture. ___________________________________________________ Jesus sees her, according to verse 13, and He had compassion on her. “Do not weep.”
Jesus does something that would make him totally insane if it weren’t for the outcome. He speaks to the dead, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” He had touched the coffin, a violation of the religious code, so the pallbearers had stopped, wondering what was wrong with Jesus. Now they hear Him speak to this dead man and the dead man does what Jesus says: “He who was dead sat up and began to speak.” __________________________________________.
It’s not about the man. It’s about the life, the new life that he now possess because of Christ. This is a revival picture for all humanity. It says in verse 15, “He presented him to His mother.” “Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God”. _______________________________
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