Posted by: duncandrews | April 12, 2011

A life and death sermon (part 3): Breaking the rules

On luke 7:11-17. Series so far: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Breaking the rules

If you’ve ever been to a funeral, you’ll know that there are rules: they’re not spoken, but you just know what they are and you never break them. When the coffin passes you by, you stop, you’re silent, you bow your head. And even more so if you’re a stranger, if you just come across a funeral procession by accident.

But Jesus, Jesus does something absolutely shocking. He breaks all the rules. In verse 13 we’re told He sees this woman, crying for her dead son, for her own misery, and his heart goes out to her. The language here is strong language: he was filled with a gut-wrenching sorrow for her.

But it wasn’t just sorrow – the picture here includes anger as well. Jesus’ heart is touched to the point of anger – he is angry; he’s angry at death, at the way it wreaks havoc on people, leaves them broken. And when Jesus is faced with the reality of this, when he sees this woman, he’s moved to his core.

That, by the way, was shocking enough in itself. A weeping woman in this society would normally be dismissed. But Jesus doesn’t buy into that. He shows he’s for all people, women as well as men.

But not only does he show concern for a woman, he breaks all those rules about funerals. He doesn’t do the right thing, he doesn’t bow his head and respectfully let the funeral go by. He walks up, a stranger, he just walks right up to this weeping woman who’s just lost her son, and tells her to stop crying. He goes up to the coffin, which was actually more like an open stretcher, with the dead body lying there for all to see; he goes up to it, puts his hand on it, even touching the dead man. Those carrying it stop. They can’t believe what they’re seeing.

In Jesus’ society, you didn’t touch a dead body. It was one of the worst social taboos you could break – and you’d be penalised for breaking it. You’d become an outcast from society, until you’d gone through a series of rituals to make yourself acceptable again. But Jesus, moved in his heart, touches this dead man, takes on this penalty, this exclusion, out of his compassion for this poor woman.

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Responses

  1. […] On luke 7:11-17. Series so far: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 […]

  2. […] luke 7:11-17. Series so far: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part […]

  3. […] luke 7:11-17. Series so far: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part […]

  4. […] luke 7:11-17. Series so far: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part […]


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