And it happened on the next, He went into a city called Nain, and His disciples were going along with Him, also a large crowd. And as He came near the gate of the city, and look one who was dead was being carried out the only-begotten son of his mother, and she a widow, and a great crowd from the city was with her. And having seen her, the LORD was gut-wrenched for her, and He said to her, "Stop crying." And having come toward, He touched the casket. And the ones carrying stood still. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!" And the corpse sat up and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother. And all of them were taken by fear, and they were glorifying God, saying, that A great prophet has arisen among us and that God has looked upon His people. And the word went out in all Judea concerning Him and in all the region.
In today's Gospel we have a perfectly good funeral procession. The pall bearers have already lifted the casket, and they are heading out to the burial plot, a large crowd gathered to comfort this grieving, and now son-less widow. Everything is proceeding as is expected, that is, until Jesus does His Robitussin impersonation. He interrupts the proceedings and stops the coffin in its tracks. How rude! He then spoils a perfectly good funeral completely by raising the corpse back to life again!
Just Who does Jesus think He is? None other than the LORD Himself, the God of both life and death. He amazes them with this miraculous resurrection, but the people don't see Him for Who He really is. They think he's a great prophet, but not yet do they know Him as God THE Prophet. They acknowledge that God has indeed visited His people through this miracle, but they don't recognize Jesus as God Himself. They just figure he is like Elijah or Elisha from the Old Testament.
Just Who does Jesus think He is? He is an instigator for starters. But folks don't want God to start anything up with them. Often you yourselves might prefer to have God leave you alone, and only have Him respond when you need to call upon Him. But He's not your beck and call God. Jesus is an instigator. He doesn't wait to see if you want Him to speak/act. He does His thing without permission.
But that's just Who Jesus has been for you from the get-go. You were once dead in your trespasses, not unlike this corpse. Jesus didn't wait for dead folks like you to call on Him for help, since dead people do no calling. He was an Instigator. When you were dead in sins, He raised you up in Himself, by water and the word of your Holy Baptism. He not only buried you with Him by baptism into His death at Calvary, but He also raised you up in Him on Easter Sunday to walk now in new, eternal life.
Just Who does this Jesus think He is? He is a prophet. Yet folks really don't want to be prophesied to all that much. You may not want to hear what Jesus wants to say to you in Sunday School or Bible class, finding every excuse not to go their to listen to His Word. You may think that you know enough about the Bible already, so you no longer need a prophet to proclaim to you from God.
But Jesus is The Prophet promised of old Who would declare God's Word to you, whether you think you need it or not...because the truth is that you do. Jesus proclaims your sin and its cure, the gospel here, from the lectern and pulpit each Sunday and festival day. He proclaims His gut-wrenching love for you, no less than for that poor childless widow. His love for you was so great that He took your place in death on the cross, giving up His life unto death so that you now live forevermore in paradise.
Just Who does Jesus think He is? He is the one who stops all weeping. Some folks will say that this is rude of Jesus to forbid crying at a funeral. Grieving people need a good cry, don't they? But remember that Jesus Himself cried at His friend Lazarus' funeral before raising Him from the dead. Yet you yourselves might resent it whenever Jesus tells you what to do, and what not to do.
But in Jesus' words to that grieving, childless-widow, Jesus is tell her to stop crying so she could clearly witness this miracle. Her only-begotten Son was restored to life before her very eyes. Yet another only-begotten Son would also die, giving up His body in death, and shedding His blood for you on Good Friday for the forgiveness of your sins. You eat His body and drink His blood, but not as a cannibal would eat a dead person. You feast on the ever-living Jesus, risen from death to life eternal!
Just Who does this Jesus think He is? He is your God, your LORD, and your Savior. He has saved you from the eternal death of your sin, and has raised you to life in Him forevermore. He returns you to your heavenly Father through word and sacrament, so you may life with Him eternally in heaven.