Our
Fellowship

Our
Branch

AHC C The Young Man Restored to Life - Hebrew Catholics

Association of

Hebrew Catholics

New Zealand Branch

The Young Man Restored to Life

A Hebrew Catholic Perspective
www.hebrewcatholic.org.nz

Click here for a printable copy of this paper

St. Luke 7: 11 — 17

 

Introduction

Many a person has read or heard this account and considered it merely, “just another amazing miracle by Jesus” — something about which we can easily become very ‘blasé’, if we are not careful. Oh yes, Jesus is very loving and kind and this is what we expect of him; — it’s another example of His kindness to people in desperate circumstances. The Jewish people in our Lord’s time however saw it very differently.

Click here for a printable copy of the text

 

Some reflections from our text

Verse 11

“Soon afterward he journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.”

Nain (or Naim), now called Nein, is nearly 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Capernaum about 8 kilometres (5 miles) from Nazareth, and would have been familiar to our Lord from His youth.

St. Luke takes care to point out that He and His disciples (who would have included those He later designated as His Apostles) together formed “a large crowd”. Large crowds of ordinary Jews responded warmly to the teaching and miracles of Jesus Messiah.

Verse 12

“As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who
had died was being carried out, the only son of his
mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.”

The drama and pathos of this incident recorded by St. Luke alone, underpin the belief of many that he was a painter — with brushes and paint, as well as with words.

Verse 11 shows us Jesus Messiah, His disciples and a large crowd coming towards the gate into Nain. They had all just witnessed the cure of the centurion’s servant by a mere word spoken — not even recorded. Now the One Who can give life to any whom He chooses, is about to enter the town, together with a huge retinue of followers.

Suddenly another large crowd appears following a stretcher upon which is lying a young man who has died. They have just left the township and are on their way to the cemetery, which is by custom, outside the village walls.

Following the stretcher is a woman mourning the death of her only son. To compound her grief she is very aware that she will be confronting a life of destitution relieved only by the charity which others may be moved to show her.

We do not know if the widow had heard of our Lord. However, we note that she does not speak or make any request — she weeps in grief and keeps her attention on her son.

Verse 13

“When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity
for her and said to her, “Do not weep”.”

Up till now, St. Luke had not himself, as writer of this Gospel, called Jesus “Lord”. Others whom he recorded as asking favours had done so; but now this first designation of Jesus as “Lord” signals action and words which were to be “cosmic” in their effect.

The paths of the two crowds intersect, and Jesus immediately focusses His attention upon the mother of the dead man, for He is deeply moved with pity for her. His words were more than a little surprising: “Do not weep” This is not just an attempt to show He knows how she feels; He commands her literally to stop weeping. The words He chose do not refer to the outward grief a mother would naturally display in the circumstances. He is commanding her to cease any inner, private, personal expression of grief due to death. Everyone is stunned by such a bold move from Jesus.

Verse 14

“He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this
the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man,
I tell you, arise”!”

Immediately after addressing the widow, our Lord gently stops the procession by putting His hand on the coffin. This would have been a plank with raised edges, covered with white linen fabric. The young man was probably in his own clothes, but with a napkin covering his face.

Without delay our Lord commands the young man to “arise”. When used in this situation the term means “come to life again”, not just “get up”. With the power and majesty of God, Jesus Messiah, by a mere word, gives the young man back his life.

Verse 15

“The dead man sat up and began to speak, and
Jesus gave him to his mother.”

Our Lord’s very next action is then to give the widow back her livelihood. Her son is sitting up and talking, but Jesus does not just let everyone gape with mouths wide open — He gives him back to his mother. This is a literal quotation from 1 Kings 17: 23 (in the Greek Septuagint Old Testament — the one normally quoted in the New Testament). It is a majestic action by our Lord, for the widow, too has had her life restored to her.

We have reached, in this account, a sublime moment in the Lord’s ministry. The early Church, when reflecting on this passage, found itself looking back to both the grief of Good Friday, and the joy of the Resurrection. But it also found St. Luke’s account to be a forecast, a reflection of what will take place at the end of time — at the day of the General Resurrection: the restoration of all things. Associations such as these, in the meditation of the early Christians, were one of the great sources of zeal to share the Gospel (literally the God-Word) with others, and to feel drawn to take it to “all nations” (Isaiah 42: 6 — 7 and Matthew 24: 14).

Verse 16

“Fear seized them all, and they glorified God,
exclaiming, “A great prophet has arisen in our
midst,” and “God has visited his people”.”

At the sight of the young man’s return to life everyone present is gripped by the impact of the event. They are filled with what we call “awe” — a state of awareness and attention regarding the miracle as well as the person who brings it about.

The response of the onlookers is entirely appropriate: they glorify God. This is more than merely praising Him. It contains within the meaning an acknowledgement that this is a Messianic moment; and this is reinforced by the observation that “a great prophet has arisen in our midst, and that “God has visited His people”. All this is momentous and serves to emphasise how God blesses His people even before they think of turning to Him.

Verse 17

“This report about him spread through the whole
of Judea and in all the surrounding region.”

So the story went out about the Lord.  St. Luke is believed to be referring to the countryside beyond the Dead Sea where John the Baptist was imprisoned; for his loyal band of followers heard about the miracle and reported back to their master. We take up that story on another occasion.

Short Readings

The following quotations may help us to take in the full significance of the event.

He touched the coffin (verse 14)

“He performs the miracle not only in word, but also touches
the bier, to the end that you might know that the Sacred Body
of Life, and the Flesh of the Omnipotent Word, Whose power
It (the Body) possesses. For as iron applied to fire does the
work of fire, so the Flesh, when it is united to the Word which
quickens all things, becomes itself also quickening, and the
banisher of death.”                                     (St. Cyril: Cat. Aurea.)

With power and majesty (Verse 14)

“Jesus raises up the dead as easily as He performs the most
common actions; He speaks as master of those who repose
in an eternal sleep; and it is thoroughly felt that He is the
God of the dead as of the living, never more tranquil and
calm than when He is operating the grandest things.”
                                                                            (Massillon)

Christ our hope of full restoration (Verse 15)

“The Fathers consider the deliverance of this young man
to his mother by the power of Christ’s word as a type # of
the restoration of all those who are raised by Christ’s
power from the death of sin to their true and sorrowing
mother the Church. The Church weeps for those who are
alienated from her through evil lusts and passions.
They are dead to her. They cannot support her or strengthen
her by prayer and a holy life; but when by Christ’s power
they are awakened from their sleep, then they become
hers again. She has again restored to her their love,
their works, their intercessions.                                (Saddler)
#   type — a prefiguring.

Fear seized them all (Verse 16)

This fear was rather what we now call awe: because though
it retained much of the nature of fear, as there always must
be in the nearness of the supernatural, yet it rather attracted
them to God, for they said, “A great prophet is risen up
among us,” and “God hath visited His people”. The words,
“God visited” are applied to any deliverance which God wrought.
Thus when Naomi returned to the land of Israel, it was because
“she had heard that the Lord had visited His people
in giving
them bread” #. The hearty confession of the hand
of God on the part of His ancient people in every dispensation of
judgment or deliverance, puts the cold, grudging, half-believing
recognition of God’s interference by some modern Christian
nations to shame.                                                       (Saddler)
#   (Ruth 1: 6).

 

Conclusion

At first reading, our passage appears to recount a very basic and simple event — although a miraculous return to life! It is quite likely some readers will feel we have, as it were, “read too much into it” — “made it out to be more than it really is”. The purpose of offering the four short readings above — not our usual practice — is to demonstrate how the Church, over the centuries, has actually been very motivated by it.

If we are to obey our Lord’s command (Mark 16: 15) and “take the Gospel to every creature”, we need to start right where we are standing. The demoralising falling-away of people from the Christian Faith should not daunt us — tragic though it is. God can and does restore life by the awakening power of His grace. That is actually quite hard to “hold on to,” and believe in, unless we keep really close to the Lord. He came to call all humanity to fullness of life: many responded, even more did not. It is His decision to grant the world more time to turn to Him. Our job is to use that time as best we can to present Him and His message to those who are willing to listen. We can be very certain that Jesus Messiah is coming again — the great restoration will follow. All those who genuinely prepare for it will be present to rejoice and give glory to God for, again, visiting His people.

Amen.  Maranatha.  Come Lord Jesus.  (Revelation 22: 21)

 

Shalom!

 

Appendix

A Mothers Sorrow

This short text of seven verses is of enormous significance in Hebrew
Christian understanding of Sacred History. Whilst we, as a fellowship,
strongly endorse the continuing contemporary presence of Judaism in
our midst (See: “Role of the Jewish People After the Coming
of the Messiah
), nevertheless we mourn our seeming separation from
our Jewish sisters and brothers. We present the following commentary
on the above text by Joseph Dillersberger which captures our yearning
and expresses our compassion as shown by the mother of Jesus, whom
we affectionately call: Mother of Sorrows.

Click here to link to this Reading

 

Further Reading

For those who would like a detailed study resource
on the readings for Sunday, please visit:

Agape Bible Study — Ordinary 10 ― Year C

If you require only the section on the Gospel reading,
just scroll down the page.

To view all the material on the Agape website please visit:

www.agapebiblestudy.com

This website is highly recommended:

 

A Mother’s Sorrow

 And it came to pass afterwards, that he went into a city that is called
   Naim:  and there went with him his disciples and a great multitude.
   And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man
   was carried out .
. . .                                           (Luke 7: 11― 17.)      

 

Introduction

         In the strict sense this is the first passage since the story of Jesus’
childhood of which St. Luke is the sole narrator. For the first episode at Nazareth
is at least hinted at by the other two evangelists, and the call to St. Peter when
the fish were caught is at least prepared for by the accounts in St. Matthew
(4: 18 ― 22) and St. Mark (1: 16 ― 20). The resurrection at Naim is, however,

in every respect peculiar to St. Luke.

 

St. Lukes Style

          It extraordinary how vivid St. Luke’s style is at this point. It has indeed
been said that he was also a painter. That, no doubt, contributed to his artistic
excellence in descriptions and narrations. Observe here the painter’s master
touches. At the beginning how the two groups make intersecting lines: the
procession coming out of the city with the dead man, and the Lord and His
followers bringing life towards the city. Then the loving attention to detail, as He
touches the bier, and the bearers stand still. How vivid, too, is the sentence in
which the resurrection is described, falling as it does into three parts: “And he
that was dead sat up; and he began to speak; and He gave him to his mother.”
But in much more profound ways, too, St. Luke is revealed. The compassionate
Saviour, the consoler of the afflicted, has hardly anywhere been depicted more
beautifully than here, when, moved by pity,  He turns to the widow with words
“Weep not.”

 

St Luke’s Reference to Women and Widows

          In the whole story prominence is given to the woman, and this is typical
of St. Luke. Of all the evangelists he gives most space to women, and the
passages which are found in his Gospel alone are also often tidings of joy for
and about women. Here, however, the innermost reason for St. Luke’s esteem
for women becomes clear. It is not without purpose that he stresses that the
young man was the widow’s only son. Jesus, too, is an only-begotten Son.
St. Luke uses the expression to suggest the resemblance between the widow and
her who was indeed the mother of the only- begotten Son of God. When St. Luke
came to know her and heard from her the incidents of Jesus’ childhood, and
many other things as well, she, too, had long been a widow, and she, too, had let
her only Son be carried away for dead. Is it not evident that this episode is
related with all the heartfelt sympathy of the mother of Jesus herself? Was she
indeed present so that St. Luke obtained the story from her, as he did that of the
incident at Nazareth? We point out that here, as in Chapter 1, such little details
as would be difficult to obtain otherwise are recorded — the touching of the bier,
the bearers standing still. For the first time, Jesus is in this passage called the
Lord by the narrator himself; until now, He was only so called, when people made
a request to Him (for example the leper in verse 12 of
Chapter 5 or the centurion
in verse 6 of Chapter 7). Did His mother have the
habit of referring to Him in this
way when she spoke of Him?  And is this how the
expression came from
St. Luke’s pen? In any case we have in this passage an
indication of the sorrow
of Jesus’ mother such as we expect from St. Luke.

 

A Real Easter Picture

         It is a real Easter picture with the grief of Good Friday and the joy of
the Resurrection, and although smaller, a worthy piece to place beside that of
the twelve­ year-old Jesus in the Temple. It belongs, therefore, to that theme of
suffering which runs through all St. Luke’s Gospel.

         Is there an indication of yet another secret? In the calling back to
life of a dead man is not the last secret of creation brought to light, the general resurrection, the restoration of all things? And this comes about, as this little
passage is meant to show, because of the overflowing bounty of God’s love. If
anything can be stressed as releasing this bounty in God, it is the tears of the
widowed mother. We have seen how the sorrow of the second beatitude # has a
direct connection with love. Here it is shown and proved by an actual occurrence.
Here is the fullness of God’s bounty, even more than with the centurion. For here
not even one plea is made to the Lord. There are only the mother’s tears, nothing
else. And the miracle comes simply from the depths of the Divine pity.

#     The second beatitude — Matthew 5: 5 (Blessed are those that mourn.)

 

A Mother of Sorrows

and the

Reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles

         St. Luke was a disciple of St. Paul. But on one occasion St. Paul says
of the future
of Israel, that their “receiving,” and so their return to God, can be
nothing else
but the life from the dead (Romans 11: 15). ## Did St. Paul’s disciple
see in this
restoration to life of his mother’s only son —and she a widow — a
hint of this
mystery too? If we look back at the context it is quite possible. For
the previous
passage was to betoken the call to the Gentiles, but this passage,
which bears
witness to a still greater grace, must show that even Israel’s total
falling away,
which seemed probable from what had happened, could not stand
in the way of
God’s grace. For even the dead are restored to life by the
awakening power of
His grace. And although Israel maybe dead as far as
this new message is concerned, the hour of resurrection will also come for this
“only son” of God. For a mother is endlessly weeping for this beloved
child, Israel.

##   The reader can find this part of St. Pauls teaching (Romans 9 — 11) to be harsh and
           judgmental; and so it seems to well-meaning Christians who wish to be understanding
           regarding the position of the Jews. But St. Paul is speaking at this point in a Jewish
           way to Jews who get his “drift” e
ven if they don‘t agree with his conclusions.

        Rabbi Shaul (St. Paul) is using the rejection of the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus)
           however widespread or not among the ordinary, non-scholars — to contrast with the
           glorious acceptance (or ‘receiving’) of Salvation History.

 

Conclusion

         Two little expressions, that the evangelist uses point towards this mystery.
That God “has visited( Luke 1: 68 ) His people comes as an inspiration from
the heart of all,
because they feel that this miracle is for God’s people. And
although Naim lies
some distance away from Judea proper, St. Luke has it that
the report of this
miracle spread throughout all Judea, ( Luke 7: 17 ) for it was
particularly intended for the land
of the Jews.

 Shalom!

             From, The Gospel of Luke by Joseph Dillersberger; Newman Press, USA, 1958.
             Originally published in Salzburg, 1939. (Headings and bold font added for ease
             of reading on the Internet.)

 

Annotations by Editor

#     The second beatitude — Matthew 5: 5 (Blessed are those that mourn.)

##   The reader can find this part of St. Pauls teaching (Romans 9 — 11) to be harsh and
           judgmental; and so it seems to well-meaning Christians who wish to be understanding
           regarding the position of the Jews. But St. Paul is speaking at this point in a Jewish
           way to Jews who get his “drift” e
ven if they don‘t agree with his conclusions.

        Rabbi Shaul (St. Paul) is using the rejection of the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus)
           however widespread or not among the ordinary, non-scholars — to contrast with the
           glorious acceptance (or ‘receiving’) of Salvation History.

         To explore this further, readers are invited to see our articles:

          ‘The Gifts and Call of God

         Role of Jewish People After The Coming of the Messiah

 

 Click here for a printable copy of this Reading

 

“Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature”

(Mark 16: 15)

The real Jesus is the real answer to the real needs of the world

Let us remember God’s Teaching, contained in His Word and in doing
so, remain close to Him. The following are only examples
illustrating how
you can note the gems the Holy Spirit highlights for
your on-going reflection.

 

The Young Man Restored To Life

Ordinary 12     Year C          St. Luke 7: 11 — 17

1.       The widow of Nain is such an ordinary and seemingly undistinguished
(and to many, unimportant) person, we do not even know her name — only that
many villagers wanted to support her in her distress. Our Lord chooses to
respond to her love and grief because He was deeply moved with pity for her.
The early Church saw in this little incident the love and concern He has for
every single such person throughout the world. The first Christians felt
compelled by His love to take His call to the ends of the earth that His healing
touch might reach them and restore them to fullness of life — the life we were
all created, through Him, to enjoy.

2.       When Jesus Messiah speaks or heals, He does so with and awesome and
majestic dignity. In Him God “visited His people”. The early Church always
understood this to be fulfilment of the prophecy — i.e. the giving of prophecy its
full meaning. It also understood He came to inaugurate His Kingdom and left it in
our keeping — to work on building it according to our human limitations — until
He chooses to return at the end of time and bring all things to perfection. This is
indeed an awesome honour and responsibility.

3.       In our troubled times and increasing turbulence all around us, by returning
frequently to the Sacred Scriptures and reflecting on even just a short passage,
such as the “Widow of Nain”, we are privileged to encounter personally Jeshua ha Massiach — Jesus Messiah — in all His simplicity, dignity, power and majesty!
No need for us to ask, “Why does He take so long to return?” Enough for us to
get on with what He instructed us to do: take His word to every creature, confer
discipleship on all who seek it, teaching them to observe everything He
commanded
. (Mark 16: 15. Matthew 28: 19 and 20).

          The great joy of our Messianic discipleship is that every one of us can play
our part — no matter how restricted we are in time, place and circumstances.
Let
us pray for one another that we will rise to the challenge through prayer,
meditation, direct witness or indirect (showing kindness and patience with others)
and thus give glory to God.

 Shalom!

 Click here for a printable copy of these Reflection

 

Luke 7: 11 — 17 

Ordinary 10         Year C

NEW AMERICAN BIBLE

 

11     5 Soon afterward he journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples
         and a large crowd accompanied him.

12     As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was
         being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
         A large crowd from the city was with her.

13     When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to
         her, “Do not weep.”

14     He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted,
         and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”

15     The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to
         his mother.

16     Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming, “A great
         prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people.”

17     This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all
         the surrounding region.

 5  [11-17] In the previous incident Jesus’ power was displayed for a Gentile whose servant was dying; in this episode it is displayed toward a widowed mother whose only son has already died. Jesus’ power over death prepares for his reply to John’s disciples in Luke 7:22: “the dead are raised.” This resuscitation in alluding to the prophet Elijah’s resurrection of the only son of a widow of Zarephath ( 1 Kings 7:8-24) leads to the reaction of the crowd: “A great prophet has arisen in our midst” ( Luke 7:16).  

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible,
revised edition (c) 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine,
Washington D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner.

All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced
in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

 

[Site Under Construction]