Traffic Report

Miracle at Nain, Mario Minniti, c.1620

We have traffic in Sioux Falls. When I moved here from Southern California in 2004, the ease with which one could drive around the city was a welcome contrast with what I’d known most of my life. It is changing now as this city grows. But we’re still far from L.A. gridlock.

Let’s visit a traffic jam at the town of Nain, as Luke reports in Chapter 7 of his Gospel:

Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. (verses 11-12)

“Soon afterward” places us in the aftershock of one of Jesus’ healings. But the crowd that follows Jesus started to build well before that, as he taught about the kingdom of God and demonstrated it by healing the sick and delivering the spiritually oppressed. Pulling into Nain is…

…a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all. (Luke 6:17-19)

It’s a procession of hope.

Coming out of the town is another kind of crowd. It’s a procession of death.

Not just the death of the young man they are carrying out for burial, but the destruction of his mother’s life. She’s already widowed, and now the loss of her son is more than a heartbreak, it is her teetering on the edge of poverty and the margin of her community.

Nain has a city gate, meaning it is a walled city. One way in and out, so there’s a bottleneck as the crowd around Jesus and the funeral crowd meet.

Jesus does the unimaginable and plays a very different kind of traffic cop:

 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”  And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. (7:13-15)

The procession of hope has become a processon of life. Jesus previews his own resurrection that day. “Power comes out from him” – not only to heal the afflictions that can lead to death, but to undo death itself. To overcome all loss, even the universal and seemingly ultimate loss of everything in death.

The procession of death ends, and all traffic merges and flows together into the procession of life.

Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country. (verses 16-17)

Not just a procession back into Nain to celebrate the miracle, but a procession of Good News about Jesus going out along main roads and side roads, the highways and byways.

It is procession that’s been on the road ever since Jesus’ resurrection. May we who travel with Jesus meet processions of death, and may his power come out from us to bring others out of gridlock and into his procession of life.

3 responses to “Traffic Report”

  1. ‘“Power comes out from him” – not only to heal the afflictions that can lead to death, but to undo death itself. To overcome all loss, even the universal and seemingly ultimate loss of everything in death.”

    I loved how you set the scene of the reality that was contained within the reading. Thank you! Fantastic insight. Wonderful revelation.


    1. northernplainsanglican Avatar

      Thank YOU for being in his procession!


      1. Wherever the procession leads, I’m enjoying wherever the lead-ation takes me, He sees, has seen and will see all that I present Him (in glad adoration!). All to Him.


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