This past year began with the death of seven of our friends. Every week we attending another funeral. Some of the services were joyful ones. The person had lived a long life and served Jesus. In other cases, however, the person was young – one was still in his teens – and had a whole life stretched out ahead, a life that ended abruptly and prematurely. There was sadness as we said goodbye.
In Luke 7:12, Jesus approached the city of Nain with his disciples. As they entered the gates, a funeral procession came towards them. They were burying the only son of a widow. The mother wept as she followed her son’s coffin out of the city. One chapter later, a man named Jairus sought Jesus’ help for his 12-year-old daughter who was at the point of death. Indeed, the child died before Jesus arrived at the house.
In both cases, Jesus responded in a remarkable way. Despite Jewish customs that declared that anyone who touched the body of a dead person would become ceremonially defiled, Jesus reached out and touched the coffin of the boy, calling him back from death. He took the hand of the dead girl and raised her to life. Jesus was willing to risk becoming defiled in order to serve those in need.
Are you willing to do God’s “dirty” work? We might not be called upon to raise someone from the dead, but are we willing to set aside the constraints of proper society and offer acts of service despite what it might cost to us?