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God's Purpose

I saw this video at www.godvine.com and it got me to thinking. What was the life of the widow of Nain’s son like after he was resurrected by Jesus (Luke 15:11-16)? What was God’s purpose for his life? He was never mentioned again in the biblical literature. There’s not much about Lazarus or Jarius’ daughter either (Luke 8:40-56). The last time Jesus raised someone from the dead while He lived on earth was Lazarus (John 11:38-43). John’s gospel implies that this action of Jesus, raising Lazarus from the dead, was the last straw for the religious Jews. They became extremely threatened by Jesus as they saw their peers believing in Him after witnessing this miracle.

When I thought about the modern event, it made me wonder about these people who had such a supernatural event occur in their lives. What was God’s purpose for raising them in particular? While Jesus lived on earth, there were many people who died. Why were these particular people spared this fate while others died? You won’t find a pattern, even when you look into the three times Jesus raised someone back to life from the dead. For some reason it was God’s purpose that the son of a widow, who had a large crowd at his funeral, be one who was given longer to live rather than dying during his young manhood. A twelve-year-old girl did not stay dead prematurely. She too was raised from the dead while only her parents and a few disciples witnessed it actually happening. The raising of Lazarus from the dead was different still. The others were freshly dead—the girl laying on her bed, the young man was not yet put in the tomb. Lazarus was in the tomb four whole days before Jesus came and called him out to a life after death.

What is God’s purpose for giving them life after they succumbed to death? I would conclude from the three that Jesus personally raised from the dead that God’s purpose for those people is no different from His purpose for all people. He gives us life, life even in a fallen world, for a purpose. The purpose is to know and believe in His goodness. God does not highlight some existences as more important than others in the way we humans do. Every life has purpose in the plan that He is bringing out of the mess this world has become after sin was welcomed. Out of the darkness, there is hope and life and goodness.

This truth is displayed in the universe. The universe in which we live is a magnificent place. It is a mysterious place. It is full of God’s glory. We have created a lot of manmade disasters. Inside the beauty that God created, we live our lives. In living, we make choices that affect the place that God created. Even our good intentions may backfire on us. I know that I have made choices that have not made this world a better place. There’s a whole mound of disposable diapers out there that I used in raising my children that will become a problem for my children’s children. There are people I have let down and failed to help when I could.

Even though I haven’t had a life-and-death experience, I have a life experience every morning that I wake up again. My life is just as significant as someone who has a life-and-death experience. All our lives have the same meaning. Paul got down to it in Philippians 1:21-26:

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.”

God’s purpose is for me to live a fruitful life for as long as He gives me life and to realize that when I die, it will be my gain!


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