I would like you to imagine for a moment that we’re standing at the gate of Nain, through which a casket is being carried with the corpse of a young man, the only son of his mother, and she a widow. A great crowd follows in observance of the Jewish precept of “attending the dead unto the grave.” Heads are bowed and faces manifest the deepest sorrow for the bereaved. Bitterly the mother weeps as she walks behind the casket, for he, her only son, had been her only support.
Then suddenly the mourners are interrupted by a man who hurries forward, “here let me deal with the dead, I can bring him back to life.” Instantly the procession halts and with mystified faces gaze upon the speaker as he elbows his way through the crowd.
“All this man needs is education,” explains the man while boldly approaching the casket. And from his books of science and philosophy he attempts to teach the young man in the coffin. But in vain he watches for the flush of life to return; there is no response. Education has failed.
Another man approaches the scene, confidently proclaiming that he can bring the young man back to life, and so he begins, “Now young man, make up your mind that you are going to live. Exert your will, and choose to live – the choice is yours. You can get up if you only will”. But there is no response as the previously confident man looks upon the lifeless face of the young man. Free choice and will-power has failed.
Then another man came toward the crowd, calmly and with a sense of peace about him. For a few moments no one moves. Then the man speaks, “My friends, do you not know that what this man needs is religion? Through the knowledge of the Torah he will be revived”. And he sat down by the coffin’s side.
Taking a scroll from under his arm he declares, “Now I will reveal to the young man the precepts of the law, for if he will keep them faithfully he will live again”. “But” inquires one of the bystanders, “how can a corpse observe the laws since he cannot even hear your words? Until he is first alive, all the Jewish precepts will avail nothing”.
Sorrowfully the rabbi walks away, religion has failed.
Then from the crowd steps the figure of One who walks with perfect confidence and composure to a scene of certain failure. A sudden hush falls on the expectant throng as he stands for a moment beside the coffin.
Then He speaks, his voice calm but authoritative. “Young man, I say unto thee, arise!”
I am so glad I heard His voice!
In the Bonds of Calvary,