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A Crowd Praises God

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Imagine (K-1)Year 2Unit 3 (Imagine Seeing Jesus Do Great Things)Session 2

A Crowd Praises God

Jesus made a widow's son alive again and people praised God.
Faith Nurture Goals
  • Imagine how the mother felt when Jesus made her son alive again.
  • Wonder at the great things Jesus can do.
  • Praise Jesus for his great power and love.
  • Sense Jesus' love for people who are hurting and show compassion to them.
Memory Challenge

Leader Reflection

Preparing to Tell God's Story

Different cultures deal with death in different ways, and it's reflected in their rituals. For Jews in Jesus' day, the whole point was to mourn.

Well, of course, that's the point for us too, isn't it? But I mean, really mourn. Our funerals are for mourning, but only within limits---too much would be embarrassing, and losing control would be sign of weakness. In Jesus' day it was just the opposite. The more noise people could make, the better; the louder the wailing, the better the funeral. The well-off folks would even hire professional mourners to carry on their wailing.

While traveling from one town to another, Jesus unexpectedly finds himself in the middle of a funeral procession. If you can, imagine this sad group of people marching solemnly past the city gates on their way to the cemetery, the women making the shrill, keening sounds associated with mourning in that culture.

Undoubtedly Jesus asks some of the mourners what's happening, and it turns out that the son of a widow has died. It seems bad enough from our perspective for a woman to lose not only her husband but her son, but in that culture it was even worse. Women did not normally have an independent means of livelihood. They related to the world through their husbands or sons. So the woman was not only bereaved, but in some ways destitute. She couldn't just go out and get a job.

This is one of those instances in which Jesus acts out of sympathy and compassion: "his heart went out to her" (Luke 7:13). This was not a miracle to show his power to the world; Jesus cared about the widow and wanted to make things right.

He said to the mother, "Don't cry." What an empty phrase, except he alone was able to do something about it. Then Jesus went up to the funeral bier and touched it. This in itself was astonishing, because Jews could not touch the dead, who were considered unclean. So for a perfect stranger to walk up and touch the bier must have astonished the mourners, who stopped on the spot.

Jesus' only words were, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" Strange words to address to a corpse. But this corpse immediately came to life, sat up, and began to talk. Since it's such a happy occasion, you will permit me to imagine him saying something like, "As I was saying before I was interrupted. . . ."

The whole thing is just astonishing. The people are awe-struck, as we would be. They said, "God has come to help his people!" If death is the ultimate sign of our helplessness and futility, then raising the dead is the ultimate sign of God's power to save.

Obviously, raising the dead isn't an everyday event for Jesus or for us today. But it is a sign that one day we will all be raised from the dead to share in the perfect life of God's kingdom forever. And it's to that kingdom that all of Jesus' miracles point.

  • What do you think of the funeral customs of Jesus’ day?

  • What did the mourners think would happen when they stopped the procession for Jesus?

  • What do you imagine the young man said?

  • This wonderful story deals with death, which is not an everyday reality for most kids this age. It might be helpful not to focus so much on death itself, as the fact that this is a funeral, which many of them might at least have heard of. Still, some of them might have had an immediate experience of a loved one’s death, so be prepared to speak to them about what death means and how Jesus has overcome it.


Step 1 Gathering for God's Story

  • body smart
  • music smart
  • picture smart
  • word smart

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