We gladly make time for people like Nicodemus, a prominent person. When the opportunity comes to eat with the powerful we take it. Jesus ate with them. Rich people need Jesus, too.
Jesus saw people most of us don’t see. While at a hotel do we “see” the people who clean our rooms? Do we “see” the cooks and servers who make our special holiday meals happen?
Do we “see” the strain on the face of the single Mom grocery shopping with kids in tow? The red-eyed daughter leading her elderly, distracted father through the ordeal of a check-up? Do we “see” the people whose social awkwardness make us flinch with inner discomfort? If we “see,” do we look away?
Jesus saw the funeral parade of Luke 7.11-17. Rituals for the dead in our time focus on the funeral ceremony. The location. Who speaks? What music? Any special remembrances?
In Jesus’s day emphasis was on the funeral procession. How loud the wailing? How many men held the bier above their shoulders as throngs of mourners swirled about them? How many singers? What dirges? Dust was thrown in the air. Sometimes men tore their shirts as a demonstration of overwhelming grief.
In this surging stream of sorrow Jesus saw one woman: the dead man’s mother. He had been her only son. Her social safety net was covered by a burial cloth. Jesus saw … her. Stopping the noisy parade (shocking!), He touched the unclean bier and raised the son back to life. “Jesus gave him back to his mother.”
Let’s say you’re a disciple walking with Jesus on that day. Would you have seen the mother? How would you have responded?
Walking with Jesus presses us to see people often overlooked. Walking with Jesus presses us to enter their pain and, perhaps, provide hope and relief. What a glorious challenge! What a glorious Master to follow.