As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession—a woman’s only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, “Don’t cry.” – Luke 7:12-13
The story of Jesus restoring life to a widow’s son doesn’t fit your standard Jesus-miracle story.
First, the widow isn’t even aware Jesus is around. She isn’t asking for anything. She’s just going about grieving.
Second, Jesus tells her to stop crying. That’s not therapeutic, is it? You’re supposed to work through grief, and crying helps you do this.
Put these two things together.
Jesus intervenes in the woman’s life. He comes out of nowhere. He stops the procession. He tells the dead man to get up.
The message is clear. Open your eyes to a world around you where things happen you can’t explain. Where strangers enter and give gifts that stop tears. Where life is not a cycle that ends with death, but rather starts with, “his heart broke.”
No tears are necessary now because Jesus has already cried them, like he did when his friend Lazarus died (John 11:35).
What would life be like if we really believed that compassion underlay every breath we took? That Jesus was right about God knowing when a sparrow falls and knowing the number of hairs on our heads?
Whatever happens to us is simply an invitation to be encountered in ways we don’t understand and can’t manufacture.
Jesus simply can’t stay away.
The difference between a religious and non-religious person is the ability to see how Jesus approaches, stops the funeral procession, and speaks words that bring out life in the midst of death.
Cry we should. But we’ll know when to stop. Jesus will tell us.