May 11

Happy Mother’s Day!! This Sunday we gratefully acknowledge the wonderful impact godly women have had on our lives. I would dare say that no one—NO ONE—who has ever achieved anything positive in their lives has done that without having been positively influenced by godly women who were mothers, grandmothers, sisters, teachers, co-workers, friends, etc.

It likely is an immeasurable influence—except in human hearts. All of us in our hearts know that women of faith have had a deep impact on us and our loved ones. It’s been that way since the earliest times, and it certainly was that way in the life and ministry of Jesus. I’m looking forward to sharing this Sunday some of the stories of the example and faithfulness of godly women that show up throughout Luke’s gospel. Here’s a bit of a preview…

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 bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers 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. (Luke 7:11–17)

In all the gospels there are only three—THREE—instances of Jesus raising someone from the dead. Perhaps He did more of that and the Holy Spirit chose not to include it. Or perhaps there were only three of those instances. I would think that it’s more likely the latter. It doesn’t seem very likely that the gospel writers would have left out an incident of such extraordinary significance as raising someone from the dead.

Which in my mind gives even more significance to the three that are recorded. And this is one of them.

Why would Jesus choose to do this? Surely this wasn’t the only time he was around a widow, or a grieving family. There must have been something about this setting that struck at Jesus’ heart in a very special and powerful way. Perhaps a key can be found in the people’s response to our gracious Lord’s act of grace and power: “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.’ (Luke 7:16)

The people in their response noted two things specifically. First of all, they realized that it was the power of God that had done this great act. Unlike the religious leaders, they could recognize a great prophet of God when they saw One. Secondly, they noted why this act was done, and why this presence of the Almighty had come to them. They confessed that God had not only come to them, but that He had come to help them.

I hope people see in us both things. That we bring the presence and power of God. And that we are there to help.

Special announcement from Team Imagine on our Ukraine Summer Youth Camp Ministry:

We appreciate all the prayers and support our church family gives Team Imagine as we travel to Ukraine each year. We have made every effort to be prepared and ready should the door be open for us to attend camp this year. We know that God sometimes asks us to wait patiently while His plan continues. So Team Imagine will not attend camp this summer. There will be teams traveling to Western Ukraine this summer; that work may continue at this point. But for our team, always serving Eastern Ukraine, we feel it is very important to show support of our specific friends. We would never want to offend them, and make every effort to maintain our strong ties. We have been in constant contact with them. They appreciate the loving faith we have shown during trying times and ask that we pray for their country. Please pray for peace and unity for that country so dear to many of us. Thank you for your continuing prayers. – Team Imagine

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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