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.”
Do Not Cry
Don’t cry! Are you kidding me? The young man was dead. He was his mother’s only son. She was a widow. This was heartbreaking.
To more fully appreciate the sadness of this event, in Jesus’ day there was no social safety net. In general, widows were taken care of by their children. We don’t know if there were daughters, but the feel of the text seems to be that this was an only child. And Jesus says, “Don’t cry.” Wow! It almost seems harsh, doesn’t it?
Is it okay for us to cry, particularly in regard to the death of a loved one? Sure, it is. Even Jesus wept at the grave of his good friend, Lazarus. Death is—and will always remain—the wages of sin. Death forces us to see the reality of sin oh-so-clearly, including the reality of our own sin, and how much we deserve God’s judgment. Yes, that can lead us to cry.
And yet Jesus’ words can apply to us, too. Yes, Jesus can say to us, “don’t cry.” Why? Because he cares for us. Because ultimately life is in his hands. And, most importantly, because he has the ultimate answer to death—his resurrection and the promise of the resurrection of those who follow him.
So, yes, cry when death separates you from a loved one. But then hear Jesus say with a gentle, caring smile, “Don’t cry, my dear child, don’t cry.”
O Savior, dry my tears! Amen.
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