Father, thank You for Jesus and the life I have in Him!
“… Just give the order and my servant will get well …” (v 7 The Message [MSG])
“Taken aback, Jesus addressed the accompanying crowd: ‘I’ve yet to come across this kind of simple trust anywhere in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know about God and how He works.’ When the messengers got back home, they found the servant up and well.” (v 9-10 MSG)
“… a woman’s only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow. When Jesus saw her, His heart broke. He said to her, ‘Don’t cry.’ … [Then, He restored life to the son and] presented him to his mother.” (v 11-15 MSG)
How evident it is, Lord Jesus, that You love people more than anything. Your plans were never interrupted by visits with people, for people were at the center of Your plans.
You even pay attention to the details that You observe in the lives of people. Here, in this account, the faith of a Gentile (non-Jew) intrigues You and You gladly grant his request. Shortly after that encounter, You are moved with compassion for a widow who had just lost her son, her only remaining means of support. Without him, and unless other family helped, she would end up resorting to begging to survive. Yet, You restored her son to her, so that he would be able to support his mother!
“They all realized they were in a place of holy mystery, that God was at work among them. They were quietly worshipful — and then noisily grateful, calling out among themselves, ‘God is back, looking to the needs of His people!'” (v 16 MSG)
For 400 years prior to the coming of John the Baptist and of Your Son, the people had heard virtually nothing from You, Father God. There had been no prophecies after those You conveyed through Malachi. There, in that town of Nain, people finally heard You break the seeming silence. They recognized that You were present to help Your people.
Sometimes You can seem silent, Lord. Perhaps, You’ve chosen to wait on me to follow the last directions You gave me. On the other hand, You may seem silent, when, in reality, I just haven’t been listening. Help me to mute all other noise around me and in my mind, so that I can hear YOUR voice.
How good the times are when I can recognize that You are at work in my life. You see all the details. Like with the centurion, You notice my faith. As with the widow, You see my needs. With all that You see in me and know about me, You love me deeply still. Thank You, Father, for all that You do in and for me.
“… Are You the One who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
“At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So He replied to the messengers, ‘Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.'” (v 20-23 NIV)
Lord, You went beyond merely answering with a simple “yes” or “no.” Rather, You had the messengers wait while You went about part of what You had come to do, and then You answered the question they asked. Your demonstration showed that John’s role as a prophet had been fulfilled: The Messiah had come.
In essence, John was the last of the prophets and the Old Testament book could be closed. Now that You had come, a new book was being penned, a new covenant was being made to be sealed, and the dawn of the New Testament was upon the people gathered around.
“How can I account for the people of this generation? They’re like spoiled children complaining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk but you were always too busy.’ John the Baptizer came fasting and you called him crazy. The Son of Man came feasting and you called Him a lush. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” (v 31-35 MSG)
The Pharisees didn’t care whether they were seen as inconsistent or not. They just appeared to squirm every time they had to face You, Jesus, because You turned the spotlight on their hypocrisy. They were good at justifying their own views, refusing to listen to any others, especially Yours. In fact, THEIR concept of the coming Messiah was what blinded them from recognizing You when You did come.
Oh, Father, where there are areas of my own “wisdom” that are in conflict with Your truth bring those to my attention, flush the non-truth away, and replace it with only YOUR wisdom and truth. Make my heart and mind clean, transform them. Conform me to Your will and Your ways as You make me just like Jesus. Amen.