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Sunday, April 9, 2017

posted Apr 10, 2017, 9:30 AM by Site Administrator



Luke 7:1-17

Key Verse 7:14


Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”


First, “Such great faith” (1-10). When Jesus entered Capernaum, some elders of the Jews came to him and begged to help one centurion, for his servant was sick and about to die. They pleaded, saying, “This man deserves to have you do this, for he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” Wow! This was not a usual case – the Jewish elders were pleading for the Roman Centurion! The Jews hated the Romans, and especially, the Roman centurions were the very ones who imposed the rules and regulations of the Roman Empire on the Jews in their practical life. They were enemies to each other. But this Roman centurion purchased the hearts of the Jews completely so that now the Jewish leaders were pleading with Jesus for him. How could he possibly purchase his so-called enemies’ hearts completely like this? When we check out the passage, we see that this Roman centurion was not a cold-blooded killing machine; instead, he was a noble man, valuing his servant highly and struggling hard to heal him. Also, they said that he loved the nation of Israel. This was very remarkable because in those days, Roman citizens considered themselves special and superior; they were proud of their nationality and despised all others. But amazingly, this Roman centurion, a ruler, loved the nation of Israel; it seemed that he recognized the God of Israel as the true God. Also, they said that the Centurion had built the synagogue for them, most likely, out of his own pocket. He was very concerned about their wellbeing, figured out what they needed, and supported them, even sacrificing his own money and time. He had sincere love for them. Probably, at first, when he was kind to them, they were suspicious of his motives. But when his attitude and concern for them remained the same, when his loving affection for them was shown continually in words and actions over and over, these Jews began to open their hearts toward him, and accepted his love, until they too came to love him from their hearts. The Roman centurion purchased the hearts of the Jews. It was really a shocking thing. But that’s just the beginning. The more amazing thing happened on the way.


Look at verses 6 through 8. So Jesus went with them. But he was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” “I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.” “I do not consider myself worthy to come to you.” “But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Indeed, he was the opposite of many people who say, “Only if God appears to me, and tells me what to do, I will accept it as God’s will,” or “Show me God, and I will believe.” No one deserves such honor from God, but they think that they deserve such treatment of honor from God. They are groundlessly proud, thinking of themselves too highly. But this centurion did not think that he deserved such honor. Certainly, he would not dare to have the Roman Emperor under his roof – he understood Jesus in the same way, so highly that a lowly person like himself was not worthy to have him under his roof. Also, he considered Jesus as the commander in chief in the chain of order and himself as a private soldier; a private soldier trying to talk to the four-star general is certainly not acceptable; so he dared not come to Jesus and ask him for favor directly. Indeed, his understanding of Jesus was so great, and he understood himself worth nothing before Jesus; from this understanding of Jesus’ greatness and his unworthiness came such a sincere and humble attitude toward Jesus. True humility, true sincerity comes from knowing the greatness of Jesus.


He said, “But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” He had absolute faith in the power of Jesus’ word. What was the secret of the Centurion’s great faith? In verse 8, he explains how he came to have such great faith. He had lived in the military. The military is the society of order. He lived by the order, meaning, whether he liked it or not, he obeyed the orders. Sometimes, it was painful; sometimes, it was dangerous; his life was at risk. But through that, he came to understand the power of the words of the authorized person. The words of the centurion had the power to control the lives of one hundred soldiers under him. The words of a tribune had power over one thousand soldiers. The words of the Roman Emperor had the power to affect the lives of all people in the Roman Empire. When the centurion heard about Jesus who healed the sick, opened the eyes of a man born blind, stopped the wind, and drove out demons, all by his words, he applied the same principle he had learned in the military and drew a conclusion that Jesus was the authorized person not only in the physical world but also in the spiritual world. In his eyes, Jesus was the ruler of both physical and spiritual worlds. He would not dare to come to the Roman Emperor directly; he would not bear even the Emperor coming under his roof either. Then, how much more toward Jesus, the ruler of physical and spiritual world! When he checked out what Jesus had done and said, this was his only logical conclusion. He came to grasp that Jesus’ word had absolute power to control.


Faith is not blind, but it comes from realizing and figuring out who Jesus is. We need to be logical in living for God. Many things happen in our daily life; when we see them casually, they are just events that happen without any purpose or meaning; but when we think about them logically and sincerely with faith in God, often we find God’s divine work in them, and our faith in God becomes concrete. Nothing happens by accident. Even a sparrow in the air cannot fall to the ground without God’s approval. God has taken care of us so closely, providing us with everything we need and raising us up as his servants. Now we need to find God in our daily life so that we can confess that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good work, which He prepared for us to do in advance. Brothers and sisters, if Jesus is the Creator God, how should our attitude be toward him? If it is Jesus who is in control of our life, why should we be worried about our future? If Jesus comes again with his reward in his hands, how should we live our life until he comes? Be logical, and be real to God! Show your great faith with your deeds, with your life, and impress God greatly.


Look at verse 9. When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Jesus was amazed; he was shocked; he was happily impressed. It is not easy to surprise Jesus because He has all, and He is Almighty; simply, he is all sufficient. But when we have faith in him, we can please Him. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” In which area do you need to have faith in Jesus? In the matter of your future security? In the matter of your academic grades? In establishing disciples? Just, give your complete trust in Him, and say, “This time, I will surprise him by faith!”


Second, “Young man, get up!” (11-17). Look at verses 11 and 12. One day, Jesus went to a town called “Nain,” and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As they approached the town, they met a funeral procession of the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. In those days, widows had no means to support themselves; no job was available for them. So, the word the word, “widow” was disturbing. The widow’s son died – that’s more disturbing. And he was the widow’s only son – this is really disturbing. Triple tragedy. The son had been a source of comfort and encouragement, a source of hope for her life, a source of joy and happiness, the meaning and purpose of her life; indeed, he was her everything. When he died, the widow lost everything; she was utterly sorrowful; it seemed that her life was over. Who could comfort her? Who could make her smile again? No one! 


In the coffin, was lying a “young man.” If an old man were lying in a coffin, it’s not so tragic; it’s okay. But, a “young man in a coffin” is so disturbing. Why? Because simply, a young man should not be lying in a coffin. The key characteristic of a young man is vitality – full of life power, full of potential and possibilities; life power is full in them, and thereby, they can be very powerful; once they find something worthy of their life, they can devote themselves to it completely, pouring out their time and strength, struggling to do something great for their nation, for the world; at that time, they are passionate and zealous; their life becomes very dynamic and action-packed. That’s what young men are about. Young men living such a vital life with passion, zeal, with a challenging spirit, pursuing something great wholeheartedly is just normal; that’s natural. Such young people are the hope of the society, of the whole world. They will change the world. But the young man in a coffin has become void of life completely. His youth, his passion and his potential are gone. He has become only a heavy weight in the bottom of a wooden coffin. He has become a source of sorrow to his mother and townspeople. Instead of bringing great hope and joy, he is a burden to the people around him. Thus, a young man in a coffin is a great tragedy – perhaps the most tragic thing imaginable. Yet, today, there are so many young people who are like this young man lying in a coffin.


There was a young nominal Christian. Growing up as a Christian, he didn’t mess up. But when he thought about his life, he could not find any meaning. So, he gave his time and strength to reading the books, especially, fantasy books, because while he was in fantasy, he could forget about the reality. He was a dead young man. Another student was so depressed because of his broken family. So, he only watched TV to forget his pain and sorrow – when he woke up, he watched TV; when he went to school, he thought about TV programs; when he came back home, he watched TV until he fell asleep. He was a dead young man. Another student just did Video game all night long and didn’t care about anything – his school work or his future. When young students are like this, they bring sheer burden to people around them – to their family, to the school, to the society and even to the government. “Young man” does not refer to just young people in age, but when people have such passion and zeal for their future, when they are active, when they bring such great hope and inspiration to the society, they can be called “young man,” in the true sense. When young people are soaked with alcohol or drugs, staggering on the street hallucinated, we do not call them “young men,” but “zombies.” Modern day, young people are fearful, instead of being powerful, because of their concern for their security. Because of their fear of not being able to pay the bills, the fear of being a loser, they do not live as young men any more – no daring life of challenge or even ambition. Instead, despite their young age, their lifestyle is like that of senior citizens, seeking for a comfortable life. They are like young people, struggling and competing with each other to secure their spot in a coffin.


Look at verse 13. “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” When Jesus saw this woman crying, he was deeply touched; he sensed her pains and sorrows; he understood her, and wanted to comfort her. So, he said to her, “Don’t cry.” Usually, in this kind of situation, trying to comfort such a person, people say, “I am sorry.” Yes, that’s what they can do – they are sorry because, even if he or she suffers to terribly, there is nothing they can do; they are sorry because, while the other person has such pains, they do not have that much pains. Or they hug such a person, saying, “Cry more,” hoping that he or she may let it out. Maybe, psychology professors may say some sophisticated words to such a person. But eventually, it is still for some psychological comfort. That’s what humans can do in such a situation. But Jesus said to her, “Don’t cry,” because he was going to help her; he would change the whole situation so that she would not have any reason to cry. That’s the difference between Jesus and all others; that’s the difference between God and humans. When we think about this, we understand that eventually, the real solution to our problems is from Jesus, our God alone. We humans may help and support each other emotionally and psychologically to soothe our pains and sorrows a little bit, but the real solution comes only from Jesus our God. So, eventually, we encourage everyone to come to Jesus and seek him, because he is the solution, and he is the answer. When you meet Jesus, when you secure Jesus’ help, your problems will be gone really, and you will have no reason to be sorrowful or cry any longer. So, seek him!


Let us read verse 14 together:


Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” “


Amazingly, Jesus didn’t call the dead person, “You dead man,” but called him, “Young man,” and gave him a clear direction, “Get up!” There are so many young zombies on the streets, at work and at schools, but amazingly, Jesus still calls them, “Young men.” In Jesus’ eyes, they have potential; they can be somebody and do something great as young men, and he commands them, “Get up!”


“Young man, I say to you, get up!” Jesus’ command reveals that young men should not be lying in coffins. Young men should not throw away their youths in mud chasing after pleasures; young men should not be couch potatoes, wasting their life in worthless things; they must not be like senior citizens only hoping for success, or a comfortable life, or any other perishing thing in this world. Rather, young men must get up and live real life – life of spirit and vision. A young man’s vision should be to secure his place in the kingdom of God, not his coffin. John 5:25 says, “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” Unless young people hear Jesus’ voice, “Get up,” they will spend their whole lives like a dead young man in his coffin. Jesus calls out to all the dead young men in this world, “Get up!”


Acts 2:17 says, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.’ “God wants all young men to have His vision for their lives, so he pours out his Spirit on people and fills young men with His glorious vision. Jesus says to his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” What a thrilling vision Jesus has for his disciples – they will do God’s work to the ends of the earth, and for this, He will support them by pouring out the Holy Spirit upon them. William Carey (1761-1834) said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” The Apostle Paul was a young man from a small Roman colony whose only vision was for success in a small Jewish society. Yet, after meeting Jesus personally, he was filled with God’s great vision for his life. He saw a great vision of conquering the Roman Empire with the gospel. He said, “I must see Rome also.” God also called one young man named Jeremiah. Jeremiah responded saying, “I am only a child.” But God said to him in Jeremiah 1:10, “See today, I appoint you over kingdoms and nations to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to plant and build up.” God’s vision upon Jeremiah was to destroy many sinful nations and change them into holy and righteous countries through him. This was God’s vision upon one person, who said, “I am only a child.”


When we check out the Christian history, we can tell how preciously God used young people; we can tell that it was the young men’s history. Jesus’ 12 apostles were not old men, but young men. In the 18th century, seven Cambridge students in England decided to give their lives to God for God’s world mission purpose. Their devotion to God’s world mission command brought such great inspiration to Christians in England that the dead England church was revived through them. John Wesley (1703-1791) and his brother Charles Wesley (1707-1788) decided to live a non-compromising, holy life before God. They formed a campus club, called “the holy club” in Oxford; this club became the foundation for the Methodist church that has covered the entire world. John Wesley once said, “Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but God, hate nothing but sin and are determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and I will set the world on fire with them.” About 200 years ago, College students in America, accepted God’s mission for the lost world that they volunteered to become missionaries after their graduation. At that time, these college students’ dream was not to build their career successfully so that they could pay the bills faithfully and live a comfortable life; instead, it was to be a missionary, bringing God’s salvation to the ends of the earth. They offered their life to God’s mission under the slogan, “The Evangelization of the World in This Generation.” It was called, “Student Volunteer Movement.” God used these young college students so preciously to bring the gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth, including Mainland China and Korea. In those days, those who did not know Jesus just pursued their own desires and plans for success and a comfortable life. What happened to all these people? No one cares, because, whether they paid the bills very well or they suffered terribly because of ‘Great Depression,’ their life carried no value at all; just they struggled hard to survive, and then, perished, and no one remembers them. But these young college students who accepted Jesus and offered their life to God for his world mission purpose as missionaries, became history makers; they brought real changes to many people and they changed the course of many nations. They were the ones who did something really beautiful, something really praiseworthy. Ruby Rachael Kendrick went to Korea as a Methodist missionary in 1907, at the age of 20, and she died there in less than a year and was buried in Korea. On her tombstone is the inscription, “If I had a thousand life to give, Korea should have them all.” She was a 20 year old young girl, and that’s what she did and said. At the memorial service held in her home conference alone, twelve young women volunteered to take the place of the fallen missionary, and from all parts of the State came reports of the significant influence, which the sacrifice of this young life had brought to bear upon the hearts and lives of the young people of the Methodist church. And the Texas Methodist churches raised about $120,000.00 in her memory as a mission project. She lived a short life. Yet, indeed, she lived a beautiful life, bringing great inspiration to the human world and glory to God. Young people, when they respond to Jesus’ words, when they respond to Jesus’ love, rise and they are the ones who do something really beautiful, something really astounding. Their life carries real value, real meaning.


“Young man, I say to you, get up!” Jesus commands dead young men to get up from their coffins. Jesus is the one who restores dead young men to life. When dead young men hear Jesus’ voice, they are filled with God’s vision for their lives. No longer do they live like senior citizens whose youthful energy, passion, and hope is gone. Rather, they expect great things from God, and their vision is to do great things for God. When one young man hears Jesus’ voice and gets up from his coffin, that young man becomes so powerful-he becomes more than a conqueror. Such a young man changes the world. Jesus calls young people today to get up and live powerful lives. Jesus calls young people to uproot, tear down, overthrow, and destroy the godless lifestyles built up in this world, and to plant and build up the kingdom of God in every town and village in every country. Jesus is the hope for young people today, but we must hear and obey his words, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”


Look at verses 16 and 17. 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.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.” When they saw that Jesus had brought the dead young man to life, both companies of people were filled with awe, and they began to praise God together. It was an amazing and wonderful thing to see one young man brought back to life. They said, “A great prophet has appeared among us, God has come to help his people.” Actually, the people were all living under Roman rule, and none of their problems were really solved. But when they saw one young man brought back to life, they were filled with vision and hope in what God would do. Whenever one young man is raised from the dead, the greatness of God is revealed, and all God’s people are filled with awe and vision to expect great things from God. Surely, God has come to help the fallen mankind.


In this passage, we learned the faith that surprises Jesus. By his absolute confidence in the power of Jesus’ word, the Roman centurion shocked Jesus.  Jesus was very pleased with him and granted his wish immediately. We also learned the power of Jesus’ words, when he said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” Those who hear this word of Jesus get up and live a powerful life. Once they get up from the coffin by hearing the voice of Jesus, their life never becomes the same. “Young man, I say to you, get up!” This is what Jesus wants young people to hear, and live by.


One Word:       Young Man, I Say To You, Get Up!