Luke 7:14-15 Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

In this dramatic scene, we are presented with Jesus as zoopoieo, a Greek word meaning “life-maker.” These time-stopping moments in the gospel accounts underscore Jesus’ most compelling attribute: his power to restore life to what is dead.

In Jesus’ time, slaves and widows live especially marginalized and vulnerable lives. Slaves are viewed as literal property of the master, and women find themselves dependent and in need of support and protection from their communities. Their social status already restricted, the centurion’s slave and the widow of Nain are also subject to further layers of separation imposed by illness and death. But out of compassion, Jesus daringly and lovingly reaches across divisions of social caste and mends those breaches wrought by illness and death to regenerate life and wholeness. 

Death can only take away, but Jesus always gives.

MOVING FORWARD: Is there a life-giving gift—time, comfort, a ride somewhere—you can give to a friend or family member who may be feeling marginalized or lonely?