The Insensitive Remark: Luke 7:11-17

Focus Passage: Luke 7:11-17 (NIrV)

11 Some time later, Jesus went to a town called Nain. His disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 He approached the town gate. Just then, a dead person was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother. She was a widow. A large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, he felt sorry for her. So he said, “Don’t cry.”

14 Then he went up and touched the coffin. Those carrying it stood still. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk. Then Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16 The people were all filled with wonder and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread all through Judea and the whole country.

Read Luke 7:11-17 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

One of the most surprising statements the gospel writers record Jesus saying is found in Luke’s gospel, and it comes as Jesus and His crowd of followers meets a funeral processional. I am sure that both the woman who had just lost her only son, as well as both crowds present believed Jesus’ remark to be pretty insensitive.

Perhaps this is why Luke prefaces the statement with a brief statement clarifying Jesus’ thoughts. On meeting the funeral processional and seeing the mother crying, Luke tells us, “When the Lord saw her, he felt sorry for her. So he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” (v. 13)

Now in my mind, it is perfectly acceptable for Jesus to feel sorry for this mother, but telling her to not cry when her child has just died seems a little insensitive – especially for a loving perfect Messiah.

But perhaps Jesus says this to help break the woman and the funeral procession out of the sadness they are in. It may be that Jesus wants to redirect those present onto what God is about to do instead of on what has recently happened. Jesus may be focusing instead on the joy that comes as a result of the upcoming resurrection than on the sadness that comes with death.

When we face death in this life, we are reminded how special life is, and it is perfectly natural to feel sad and shed tears. However, as a way of moving past the sadness, it is also good to remember the future resurrection that comes through having faith in Jesus. This woman didn’t have to wait until Jesus’ second coming to benefit from His power to resurrect. She simply had to have enough faith to pay attention to where He wanted to redirect her focus.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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