Sermon Summary. Jesus changed the world through his life, his ministry, death and resurrection. But, if we are attentive, we will see that he also had a powerful impact one life at a time. Very often in the scriptures, we see Christ slow down from the rush and din of what is happening around him to focus on the needs of one person. Like the mother figure that we idolize on Mother’s Day, he turns his full attention and care to the one in need. And, while none of us will go to the cross, this ministry — attending to those in need — is something that we all can do. And, by having a powerful impact on one life, the ripples have an impact on the community. That is what we see with Christ in this text. He ministers to this family and it changes the whole community.
Ministry on the Move (v11-12). The intersections between God and those who do not have a relationship with God often first occur outside the walls of the church. We see that in this text with Christ as He walks and engages His community. Jesus is on the move. He is with a crowd headed to this City of Nain when he encounters this grieving mother.
Q1. As we reflect on the life of Christ, how often do we see that his ministry occurs outside the walls of the temple?
Q2. What does mean for the ministry of the local church (to be outside the walls or “on the move”)?
Q3. What does this mean for you personally? Can you have an impact on one life?
Remember, people will not always experience Christ inside the church if they don’t go. But, they will experience Christ in you as you go outside the church
Jesus Attends to the One (v12-13). There is a lot of activity going on . . . Christ and his crowd . . . The funeral procession. But, Christ stops, sees and hears this mother sobbing in grief. The mother, like us and others, is in state of trauma. Her dreams have been crushed. Her finances are non-existent. Jesus sees her and attends to her needs. This is ministry. Will we do the same?
Q4. Life is rushed these days but Jesus took his time. What are some things that we see about Jesus’s personal attention to this mother, just in verse 13 before he works the miracle of resurrection the child?
Q5. Can our lives get so busy sometimes that we fail to see and hear people in need? Or, can we sometimes see them but not really “feel them” with our hearts? Have we ever experienced that for ourselves?
Q6. Jesus not only sees her and feels her but he also speaks to her. There is tremendous power in the spoken word. Proverbs tells us life and death is on the tip of the tongue. How can we be more intentional about speaking life to others, particularly when they are in need?
The Life Impacting Unconventional Ministry of Christ (v14). Jesus now turns to the child. And he does some unconventional things to minister to this family. Stopping a funeral is inappropriate. But worse, touching a casket or a dead body is almost “sacrilegious!” Doing that would have made him unclean. But he did it anyway for the sake of the mother and the child. Ministry moves us outside our comfort zone. Are we ready?
Q7. It was not appropriate for Jesus to stop the funeral procession and completely inappropriate for him to touch the casket. How do you think the people would have responded?
Q8. What are some ways that the church can be hindered in ministering to others? What are some of the boundaries we need to be willing to cross to reach other people? What barriers would you want others to cross to reach you?
Jesus not only attended to the spiritual needs of this mother but he did the miraculous. He restored the dreams that she though she had lost. This is the power of the Gospel. Life will sometimes look as if we are at the end of our rope. But, God has promised that in all things, he will work towards our good. Trust Him to restore us from our broken state.
Impact on the Community (v16-17). There’s a saying “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” The saying is about mothers but it also recognizes that having a positive impact on one life results in a positive impact on all the lives that are later touched. Here, we see that the impact Jesus had in the life of this mother and child had an impact on the entire community.
Q9. What happened in the community as the result of the impact in the life of this mother and child?
Q10. What did the community feel about God in verse 16 as a result of what happened in the life of this mother and child?
Q11. What about the Good News? What happened in the community in verse 17 as a result of the impact on these lives?