As we continue our way through this great Gospel we'll be in Luke 7:1-17 in this article. In this passage, Luke is telling us two stories that are designed to help us and his original readers appreciate more fully who Jesus is.

Have you ever not known who you were talking to? I have - and more than once. These people in Luke 7 had no idea who they were talking to. They had absolutely no clue of the glory of the person that they were talking to. They knew some things about him, and surprisingly in 7:1-10, this centurion seems to know more things about Him than even the people in Israel knew about Him.

It's quite extraordinary, this first story, isn't it? It's a centurion who sends for Jesus and ask him to come and help his servant who is dying. And these men clearly love and esteem him and they come to Jesus and they say, "This man is worthy." And Jesus says something amazing: "Well, I'm going to go to his house." What's amazing about that? Remember we're back in the second century and Jews do not go into Gentiles' houses, because if you do, you become ritually, ceremonially unclean for a day and you have to go through a purification ceremony even if you've come into contact with a Gentile. And yet Jesus is headed right for his home. Luke is telling you that Jesus, the Messiah, is fulfilling Isaiah 56 and showing you the Savior, the Messiah, going after the Gentiles.

As they're on the way, another delegation from the centurion comes. This time it's some friends. And the centurion says, "I am not worthy to have You come under my roof." He knew that a Jew would be declared unclean if he came into his house. And so he says to Jesus, "I'm a man under authority too, Jesus. I understand You. You see, the emperor and his generals have given me charge over men, and if I tell them to 'Go,' they go, and if I tell them to 'Come,' they come, and if I tell my servants to do something, they do something. You've been given authority too, but the authority You've been given comes from God. And I know that You don't even need to come into my house. So that you don't be come ritually unclean, just say the word and I know that my servant will be healed."

And if you look at verse 9, the Lord Jesus does something remarkable, and here's what He does - He marvels at this man.

Do you have an inkling of how kind and compassionate that little phrase is? You know, it would make sense if that man were marveling at Jesus, but Jesus, in His kindness, is marveling at this man, this Gentile, this Roman officer, and marveling at the man's faith. And Jesus says, "I have not found this kind of faith in Israel."

And here's the thing - even the centurion had no idea who he was dealing with. Because we know from Jesus' actions elsewhere in the Gospels and what comes up in the next story, that Jesus would have entered into his house, and He would have even sat down and supped with him. And you know what? Jesus would have done it and He wouldn't have become unclean.

And what is so glorious here is Jesus reaching out in His compassion and in His power to this Gentile. Luke just tells us that when everybody gets back home, the servant is well. The centurion knew that Jesus could speak the word and it would be so, but as far as Luke is concerned, Jesus didn't even need to speak the word. That's how powerful He is, because He doesn't just come along side us and say, "I feel for you, I'm there for you, but I can't do anything about it." He can heal the dying.

And then Luke tells us this other story in 7:11-17. Jesus is on His way into a little town called Nain. Out of that town comes a funeral procession for a widow who's lost her only son. In that culture, this almost certainly means that unless she has a near relative that can take care of her, she is going to be reduced to begging. In those days, the way a funeral procession worked was, the bereaved person walked in front of the funeral bier, and the bier was actually not much more than a wide plank of wood. It was an open coffin. The body of a deceased person was laid out on that plank of wood, already embalmed to be taken to whatever grave there was to be entombed. And this woman is walking in front of the funeral bier of her son and her son's wrapped body is on top of that open plank of wood. And she's weeping, and Jesus walks up to her and says, "Do not weep."

And then He does something remarkable - He reaches up His hand and He touches the funeral bier. We must not that for Jews in that time there is no greater ritual impurity in Israel than to touch a corpse or to touch a thing that a corpse has touched. It means seven days of ritual uncleanness and a very elaborate purification ceremony to attend with it. Anything that a corpse touched was declared unclean. There was no defilement more dramatic than contact with the dead in the ceremonial law of Israel. And here is Jesus, reaching up His hand to touch the funeral bier.

But He does not become unclean. Instead He says, "Stop right there. Young man, I say to you, get up." And the man gets up and he begins to speak, and we read, "And He gave him back to her." And everybody in that synagogue is saying, "Who is this? Who is this that touches a funeral bier and doesn't become unclean but brings the man to life?" And the people who were there that day are saying, "Who is this? Surely a great prophet has arisen! Surely God has visited us in this person of a great prophet!" It was a wonderful and an appropriate and a faith-filled response, but they still had no idea who it was that they were talking to. It wasn't just that God has visited them with a great prophet. God has visited them Himself in His Son. God was there with them that day, but they had no idea who they were talking to.

I don't know what burdens you are facing today, and in one sense, it doesn't matter. I care what they are, but it doesn't matter what those burdens are. You have no idea who you're talking to when you're talking to Jesus. You have no idea of His compassion; you have no idea of His power; you have no idea what He's capable of. No matter what your situation, He can change it or He can change you. And if you're tempted to despair of that with all your hopeless tears over whatever it is, whatever it is that's broken in your life, I just want to say - you have no idea who you're talking to. This Man can raise the dead. He can touch the dead and He doesn't become unclean, they become alive. And this Man, He can think a thought and save a servant miles away. You have no idea who you're talking to, but you can trust Him.