An exerpt from Mark Driscoll’s recent sermon, Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son, from Luke 7:11-17. The edited transcript follows:
Jesus finds wrecked people.
That’s what he does. That’s our Jesus. God comes to earth as the man Jesus Christ, and he goes looking for absolutely wrecked people, people on the worst day of their whole life.
Luke says it this way: “He went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out.” Do you feel that?
Read these lines, “The only son of his mother, and,” what? “She was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had,” what? “Compassion on her.” Compassion on her.
This is a devastating day.
This is a wrecked woman.
She’s in a town called Nain. Just so you know, this town doesn’t appear any other time in the Bible. This is a very unimportant place. It’s nowhere. It’s nowhere. It’s twenty miles to Capernaum, six miles to Nazareth. Nazareth is nowhere. Capernaum is nowhere. It’s twenty miles to Capernaum, six miles to Nazareth. I’ve been in that region. It’s still nothing. This is a small, little village. This likely means that this woman is poor, because everyone who lives there is poor. She’s probably illiterate, can’t even read the Scriptures for herself. Nearly all the women in that day, in that place, were illiterate.
Here’s what we know about her: she’s already been to one funeral. Who’s funeral has she been at? Her husband’s. She’s buried her husband. Ladies, think about that. The Bible gives particular affection to widows and orphans. She’s a widow. She buried her husband. . . . She buried her husband, and now what is happening is she’s burying her son, not just her son, her only son.
And in that day, the son would grow up to look after his mom. He would love her, care for her, nurse her when she was sick, feed her. There was no such thing as social security or retirement, especially for a poor woman in a nowhere town like Nain. This woman is absolutely wrecked. She had a great life. Like some of you ladies, she had a husband, she had a son. She buried her husband. She’s going to bury her son.
I don’t know if there’s anything more devastating than a parent burying a child. I mean, I preach funerals for children. There’s nothing like that. . . .
This woman’s life is wrecked. And what we see is that Jesus comes to her. I love that. What we don’t see is her asking for Jesus.
She doesn’t ask for Jesus.
Jesus just comes to her. And Jesus goes out of his way to get to her.
Jesus walks, likely, a few days, or at least a day over hilly terrain, crowds following him, multitudes pursuing him.
They all want him to stop. They want him to ask questions. They want him to pray for them. They want him to plant a church, teach a Bible study, meet their needs, cast out their demons, heal their illnesses. And for reasons that Luke does not know, because he doesn’t have the mind of God insofar as knowing everything that God knows, he only knows what God reveals, Jesus goes to Nain.
He gets to Nain, so that he can get to this woman. And as he’s coming into town, the whole village is out. And everyone’s mourning and grieving for this poor woman, this widow. The professional wailer would’ve been wailing. Flute players would’ve been playing. This was a loud, community-wide event. The village has essentially shut down. Everyone is weeping and bawling. This young man’s friends are weeping. All the families who know this family are weeping. The friends are embracing this woman, because she is devastated. And this is the second funeral they’ve attended with her.
And Jesus shows up.
And this is how our Jesus works. He comes to people who don’t ask for him. He comforts people who don’t seek him.
He goes out of his way to pursue people who aren’t even aware of him. That’s our Jesus.
This is where we get things like our doctrine of election.
Jesus has chosen to get to her.
Jesus has chosen to love her.
Jesus has chosen to pursue her.
Jesus has chosen to serve her.
Our Jesus finds wrecked people.
And I know some of you come here today, and you’re absolutely wrecked. And Jesus comes to meet with you. And some of you know people who are absolutely wrecked, and you’re devastated for them.
You need to know that Jesus can, and does, pursue them. Jesus does find wrecked people, and it’s so unusual, because this is not how we generally work.
How many of you, when you find out that someone is really suffering, really hurting, you almost have to force yourself to pursue them?
It’s going to be exhausting. It’s going to be devastating. It’s going to be hard work to love them. Emotionally, it is costly.
And that’s what our Jesus does.
He seeks and he finds wrecked people.