God is Watching over His People!
God is Watching over His People!
† In Jesus Name †
May we realize God watches over us with a compassion deeper than words can express, desiring to heal us and give us life abundant in Christ as we share His love with the world!
The First Traffic Jam That Made the News
Unlike traveling our local freeways, no one that morning expected a traffic jam outside the city of Nain. There were no sig alerts, no gps updates or radio warnings about the two massive crowds heading that would collide that morning.
But that collision of crowds did occur, and traffic did stop, and both groups of people had to take the time to observe something quite remarkable, so life changing, so life giving, that it made the evening news in every household, not just in Nain, but across the entire country.
As our churches this morning merge so seamlessly together, may we as well realize the blessings that have been poured out on us, the blessings one small family experienced that day….
Two Types of People
The Looky-loo’s & Those distracted
There are two types of people that seem to cause the smallest occurrence on the freeways to become even more of a traffic jam, and it was no different that particular day.
The first we call lookey-loos, those who curiosity so overrules their common sense that they will do anything to see what is holding up traffic. They want to know everything that is going on. They don’t want accidents to happen, but if they do, they want to have more information that the accident investigation team do. Without realizing it, they slow down – they even change lanes to get into place to have a perfect view of the situation. Whether it is a motorcycle officer helping someone with a flat tire, or a accident requiring people me taken to the hospital by ambulance or helicopter. They want to see, they want to be able to say, I was there.
As Luke describes Jesus, he makes a distinction in the people arriving in Nain with Him. There are the disciples, those who have been called into the relationship with Jesus, and journey through life with Him for they realize the truth of Peter’s words,
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 And now we believe and know that you are the Holy One who has come from God.” John 6:68-69 (TEV)
But then there is the crowd, those who came along with Jesus, the kind of crowd that he had compassion on when He fed 5000. People who would abandon Jesus later, when he started talking about His death, and about His Body and Blood being given and shed for us. (deleted some here) But the crowd that followed like looky-loo’s on the freeway, people that wanted to see miracles, people that wanted to hear something different.. people unsure of what they were following Christ but where.
There are people who come to church and many more who call themselves Christians today, who do so like the looky loos. They come to see stuff, but they never get involved. They like the music, they enjoy the sermons, but they never get to know the God to Whom we sing. They pray, but because that’s what Christians do, not that they believe God is listening. They like what they see, but they don’t understand that it is a relationship with God that sustains them.
If the crowd following Jesus and his actual disciples were looky-loos; the other crowd was the kind of people that when traffic is slow and snarled, go on automatic pilot and focus completely on something else. They pay only enough attention to keep moving with the crowd. In this case, they weren’t focusing on the kids in the back seat, or the latest text message or phone call – but on the death of a young man, and how the death reminded them of how short life is. The word for large in the “large crowd” is the word “intense.” And so was their walking intensely focused on the emotions of grief, of the pain of their loss, of the uncertainty of their future, or the lonely widows.
People are like that today as well. They wander aimlessly, following the crowd yet unaware of their surroundings, trapped in what causes great anxiety, great pain, or what they find comfort in, an escape in…everything from drugs and alcohol, to television, to seemingly innocent addictions like facebook and candy crush saga and other addictive things…we are quick to find our escapes…
One pastor once confronted such people with this question,
Why stoop to drink from the puddles of worldly consolations (comforts) if you can satisfy your thirst with waters that spring up into life everlasting?
The Highway of Life Patrol…Watching
Compassion not just on the dead, but on the bereaved
Explaining the occurrences in the gospel with the idea of a traffic jam as the crowd following Jesus and the crowd heading for the burial of the dead young man leads us to Jesus’s intervention. We get to finally see how Jesus will work in this passage, and indeed, why the news of this incident would spread as fast through the Judean countryside as it did. (even though they didn’t have twitter!)
The only time you like to see the sirens and flashers of a Highway Patrol Car coming up behind you – is when you are crawling along the freeway at 10 mph, stuck in traffic. You are happy to see them, because you know that they can, if anyone can, solve the problem of the traffic. They watch the highways, sure to catch speeders and crazy drivers, (even that they do to keep traffic flowing) but they watch the freeway primarily to keep everyone safe and moving and alive.
As Jesus enters this town, He sees the patterns of things. He realizes the pain of the widow, the different types of people around him – those trying to deal with the pain of their own lives, and those just looking for something cool to happen.
His reaction is compassion – the Greek is great – it basically means that He felt her pain so much that it was gut-wrenching, the reaction it caused affected Him physically. He could not tolerate the pain she was going through,…
It was such compassion, Paul tells us in Philippian’s, that it caused Jesus to leave heaven, and to become our servant, to minister to us…. Isaiah tells us it was the Father’s compassion to place every sin – those we commit knowingly and those we don’t even know – the sins of omission, our Father in Heaven placed them on Jesus.- and as the Father compassionately cared for us so much, it pleased Him to have Jesus pay for our sins.
Jesus gets it all straightened out – and not only do the young man and his now joyous mom realize what happened – so do all the people fathered there. The looky-loos, those distracted by everything else and their own pain. They realize with such awe, like Thomas in the upper room, that Jesus is God, He is our Lord, our Christ, our Savior, our Master…
And the One who passionately loves us….
Most of us, if we are honest – go through life distracted and wanting to be distracted, or as those looking at what’s happening to others. We don’t always realize that we walk every moment in God’s presence, we don’t often realize His compassion, and His watching over us,
But it is there, as surely as it was for this woman.
His compassion is there not only for us, but for us as we hurt for others, whether we grieve because they have died, or because they are spiritually dead. When we realize that some of our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends and even our family don’t know of the love of God our Father, of the mercy and compassion of Christ Jesus, of the comfort and peace of the Holy Spirit. When we look around us, and just see the crowds, lifeless- directionless…
His compassion reaches us there as well, for His desire is that they are saved as well, God’s one desire is that none of them should perish, but that all should be transformed by the redeeming power of Christ, by the work of the Holy Spirit through God’s word, and those things God uses to change us….
I would say we see here today, a even greater resurrection that they all witnessed that day. For not just one man has been brought to life – every one of us who trusts in Christ, Passion and Concordia brothers and sisters, has been raised from the dead. That is the promise of God’s baptism of us, in water and Spirit.
Our resurrection, as well, is not temporary, it is not fading…it will not end, as this man’s did – in another death.
For our resurrection is with Christ, it is a resurrection to eternity, for Jesus said,
25“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; 26 and those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 (TEV)
Well do you?
If you said no, come talk to Pastor Mao, or Pr. Lu, or me or one of the leaders here… we’d love to help you know this…to know Jesus, and to realize His compassion for you.
But if you know this – that if you live in Jesus, if you trust Him, then this is true for you….
You live in God’s peace, that peace which is beyond explanation, which you are guarded, your heart and mind, by Christ himself.
That is news worth sharing with all of Cerritos and all of of LA and Orange County… Alleluia – He has risen, and we have been raised to life with Him
Posted on June 10, 2013, in Sermons and tagged Christ, God, god watches, healing, Jesus, jesus name, Lord, massive crowds, Nain, Raising the Dead, redemption, revival, St. Josemaria Escriva, the apostolate, the Missio Dei, Traffic Jams. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.