Worship Helps for Pentecost 3
Artwork: Resurrection of the Widow’s son from Nain
Artist: Lucas Cranach the Younger
Worship Theme: Last Sunday we heard that faith trusts God’s power completely. This Sunday’s lessons sound the depth of that faith. Can our faith trust completely, even when faced with death itself? Facing our own mortality, or that of our loved ones, brings out the weakest parts of our character. And so, today the Church prays: Be gracious to us in our weakness and give us strength…
Old Testament: 1 Kings 17:17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?" 19 "Give me your son," Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?" 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!" 22 The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, "Look, your son is alive!" 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth."
1. Who did the widow think had caused her son’s death? (See 17:18.)
2. Who did Elijah know had caused the boy’s death?
3. What two things did the widow learn? (See 17: 24.)
Epistle: Philippians 1:18 Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
4. Paul cherished the Philippians prayers for him. Did Paul expect deliverance from his imprisonment in Rome?
5. How did Paul summarize the way he and all Christians think of life and death? (See 1:18.)
Gospel: Luke 7:11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 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. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry." 14 Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 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." 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
6. What made the funeral Jesus and his disciples happened upon especially sad? (See 17:12.)
7. What did Jesus say after he touched the funeral bier? (Picture probably a stretcher of some kind rather than an elaborate American coffin.)
8. What main things for us to trust in did Jesus show by these words?
1. In bitter grief, the widow blamed Elijah for causing her son’s death.
2. Elijah knew the truth—the LORD had caused the son’s death. Note this well. From God’s perspective, no one ever dies accidentally. The LORD sets the day of our death.
3. The widow learned a) Elijah truly was a man of God and b) the word of the LORD from his mouth was all true. When Jesus raises the dead, we learn, that he is God’s Son and cannot lie to us.
4. Paul was imprisoned in Rome and hoped to get out (see 1:27), but the kind of deliverance Paul joyfully anticipated most of all was deliverance from this sinful world, deliverance through death to life.
5. Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (What a wonder—dying is not losing, but gaining. Specifically, living now is Christ. Dying? More Christ! We will get to see him face to face.)
6. The funeral was especially sad because the young man who died was the only son of his mother, a widow. She had no one to take care of her any more. It’s no wonder a large crowd from the town was following the body.
7. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, get up.”
8. By these words Jesus showed a) his compassion, b) his own personal power— he doesn’t need to call on someone else for power, and c) his power to raise all the dead on the Last Day.
Putting your faith into action
It’s hard to imagine a sadder scene. A widow plods to the cemetery to bury her only child, a young man. Jesus gave him back to her. There is no happier scene than the Lord of life busting out of Joseph’s grave, conquering death, and opening up heaven. Filled with awe, may we spread the life-changing message that the Prophet has come to help his people. How dare we fritter away the lifetime our Lord gives us?
28] For when we had been created by God the Father, and had received from Him all manner of good, the devil came and led us into disobedience, sin, death, and all evil, so that we fell under His wrath and displeasure and were doomed to eternal damnation, as we had merited and deserved. 29] There was no counsel, help, or comfort until this only and eternal Son of God in His unfathomable goodness had compassion upon our misery and wretchedness, and came from heaven to help us. 30] Those tyrants and jailers, then, are all expelled now, and in their place has come Jesus Christ, Lord of life, righteousness, every blessing, and salvation, and has delivered us poor lost men from the jaws of hell, has won us, made us free, and brought us again into the favor and grace of the Father, and has taken us as His own property under His shelter and protection, that He may govern us by His righteousness, wisdom, power, life, and blessedness. – Large Catechism, Article II, The Holy Spirit (paragraphs 28-30)
Hymns for this Sunday: 353; 214; 588; 607; 449
1 Praise the one who breaks the darkness With a liberating light;
Praise the one who frees the pris’ners, Turning blindness into sight.
Praise the one who preached the gospel, Healing ev’ry dread disease,
Calming storms and feeding thousands With the Father’s word of peace.
2 Praise the one who blessed the children With a strong, yet gentle, word;
Praise the one who drove out demons With the piercing, two-edged sword.
Praise the one who brings cool water To the desert’s burning sand;
From this well comes living water, Quenching thirst in ev’ry land.
3 Let us praise the Word incarnate, Christ, who suffered in our place;
Jesus died and rose victorious That we may know God by grace.
Let us sing for joy and gladness, Seeing what our God has done;
Let us praise the true Redeemer, Praise the one who makes us one.
Text: Rusty Edwards, b. 1955, alt. © 1987 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.