On a number of occasions we see Jesus raising the dead as he did in this section of scripture.
The people were astounded at this event for they said, “Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” (Verse 16)
But when we understand that Jesus had the power and authority of God, it becomes quite a natural thing that he could do such miracles for nothing is impossible to God. But there is a further lesson that we can take from this beyond the miracle itself.
Who are the Dead?
The people of this world before they come to Jesus are as good as dead. They live without hope and their only consolation are the things of this world, which are temporary and can be taken away easily. The only thing they have of value in this world is their life and what they choose to do with it.
Every person on this earth is given the opportunity to come to the Lord. Even the most remote tribes of the Amazon, Africa or New Guinea have a standard by which they will be judged. All nations and cultures have a minimum standard that defines the relationships they have with each other, and it is by those standards that they will be judged on the final day.
These standards are established and identified in the New Testament and they apply to all mankind. Jesus stated that to enter life there is a minimum standard that was set, which consisted of just six of the commandments.
When the rich young man came to Jesus asking what good deed he had to do to enter life, (Matthew 19:16-23), Jesus said to keep the commandments. The man then asked, “Which?” Jesus replied, “”You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 19:18-19)
So entry into life is based upon these few commandments as a minimum. Those who do not achieve this level are the dead in this world.
What is the Hope for the Dead?
But Jesus came so that man would have hope. Jesus is the hope of the world so that man could be reconciled to God. He came to give man life, as the Bible says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)
Since the life and the light of men is in Jesus, then raising the dead is not just a miracle, but a sign by which we can take comfort. Jesus raised the dead on a number of occasions, but in this miracle he shows that he is the master and has power and authority over life and death.
Life is in Jesus and that is what is seen in this miracle. But even more, eternal life and salvation are in Jesus, and in many ways that is even more miraculous than raising the dead, for we who were without hope now have hope. We are no longer under the rule and power of death but in Jesus we are set free from this lifetime bondage to sin and death.
That is the wonder of this miracle that I see. Not just a good deed done to one man two thousand years ago, but the hope of life both now and into eternity for all men.