October 25, 2010

Nameless But Notable IX: Mortis Interruptus

"Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry." Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 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. ~ Luke 7:11-17 notable

Doesn't stuff like this usually knock you totally off your "A" game? A dead guy is being carried out of a gate from the city and then sits up in his coffin and begins talking. I don't know about you but if I am walking into a town and I see a dead guy sit up in his coffin and start yammerin' I would either seriously consider doing an about-face and running or I would definitely inquire and find out "how'd dat happen?" We see it is again a miracle of that "Great Prophet" named Jesus. "Young man" he had said, "I say to you, get up!"...and a man is raised from the dead. You would think this was an everyday occurrence the way it reads but in reality it is almost beyond reality and words, isn't it? "Get up!" He's up. Done. No magical incantations, no potions and definitely no illusions but rather a command from the Son of God and the power of the Almighty. It is good that God directed this power to this man in particular or all the dead young men within earshot would've been sitting up. I mean this post is primarily in humor but is the possibility of every dead person within earshot sitting up that far fetched? Seriously. A command from the Almighty Living God that the dead can hear. Think about that...the dead can hear it. The dead cannot normally hear anything. But this one did. Wow! Power that the dead can hear and respond to. Sadly, reprobate sinners cannot hear this type of call and responded to it because they are too immersed in their sin and transgressions and seared by them. How dead in your transgressions do you have to be to not be able to respond to the word or command of God when even this dead guy can? Sinners must indeed be pretty dead...and deaf.

For perspective: Think of what follows: "news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country". Considering this is the 1st century, that is an enormous area for news to spread so quickly. The implication here that this news spread to people that probably wanted to get to him as soon as possible for what else? Healing. this means he would still need to have been alive to do so. If he could raise the dead he could most certainly heal them too.

We hear nothing of what happened to either the young man or his mother after this event. To me these narratives always floor me. The same with Lazarus and the resurrected saints. People literally come back from the dead and no one deems it important enough to follow-up on and track these people to see what eventually becomes of them. Many secular folks or non-believers would posit that this is because these resurrections from the dead never happened thus they were myths. They state that anything of this magnitude would've been so out of the ordinary that it most certainly would've been followed-up on or "tracked" had it actually happened.

I would like to suggest and alternate hypothesis.

I believe that within the entire range of Christ's entire ministry, these type of miracles were not that uncommon or out of the ordinary. Please note that I just quantified something critical here: "during Christ's ministry". I also believe that the importance of these types of stories lies in the fact that it is the people's faith, God's/Jesus' grace or other factors similar to this that warrant making these stories part of the canon, not necessarily the miracles per se.

Having postulated this, it explains two things to me. One, that the sheer magnitude and volume of Jesus' miracles probably dwarfs what we read about in the Bible. We know for a fact that not everything Jesus said or did is documented in the Bible (John 21:25). The Bible would've been too enormous to compile if that was the case. If this is so then the most important aspects or Jesus' ministry (miracles included) as deemed by God made it into the Scriptures. Probably because of their value to teach believers spiritual truths, not necessarily to continue to impress them with His divine power (even though his power was indeed amazingly and impressive). The volume of Christ's miracles must have been colossal. There were just too many spread over too large an area to keep track of accurately. That's my theory anyway. Take it or leave it. It seems more Biblical than...Jesus was myth. I guess some dead people you just can't reach. It is definitely a failure to communicate but it isn't the sender that's the problem, its the receiver.

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