The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. (Luke 7:15)
One aspect of the ministry of Jesus was healing. When he met someone who was hurting and needed help, Jesus seemed to often ask, “How can I help?” He had a heart filled with compassion and a desire to not only relate to the pains and struggles of others but to also try to make their lives better when he could.
In the quote above, Jesus has encountered a funeral procession. A young man, the only son of his widowed mother, has died. Jesus’ compassion is not for the dead young man. His heart goes out to the woman who has lost the last member of her family. She is alone and vulnerable. She is afraid of what the future holds. Jesus senses her pain and acts to bring her what she needs most. This is not just about her getting her son back. It is about her getting her life back, since as a first century woman, her ability to have property and the things she needed to provide for herself were limited.
Each of us is invited to continue the work of Jesus in our own way. Few of us have the ability to raise dead people and bring them back to life! But we are not to dismiss the calling to do what we can to bring life to people who are hurting and to bring help to people who are vulnerable.
The work of the church includes healing. When we meet people who are physically, emotionally or spiritually in need of healing, it is a chance to say, “How can I be a healing presence in this person’s life?” The answer to that may give us clues into how we are to continue the ministry of Jesus in our own time and in our own ways.