The Lord’s command, “Do not weep,” certainly seems frustrating – as though there were a more obvious appropriate response. In the past healings we’ve seen in Luke’s Gospel, some kind of request was made – Jesus was asked to heal. In today’s Gospel, we see that the tears of a mother weeping over the death of her only son is stronger and more pertinent than the various forms of intercession. Jesus does not wait for her to ask something of Him: her tears and her devastation are enough to move Him. God does not remain unmoved by our suffering or grief until we make some kind of effort to pray. The Word became flesh so that flesh itself might become instrumental in our healing and our relationship with God. The young man is brought back to life in the flesh at the mere touch of Jesus. That contact, that physical gesture, brought the full power of the Word of Life to bear on the flesh of the dead.
When Jesus tells the woman not to weep, He follows up with a physical gesture to remove the cause of her weeping and pain. We are Christ’s body in the sense that we have more than mere words to bring to those who need healing and salvation. Not any one of us individually is the totality of Christ’s body, but we bring the mystery of healing, salvation, truth, and resurrection to others in the flesh to the extent that we ourselves are bound by faith to Christ. The tears of this woman move Christ to compassion: as though she were His own mother, because He has allowed her flesh to become His own. Jesus is no stranger to our grief, tears, pain, suffering and sadness – He has made them His own by espousing Himself to us. As a husband who is truly a husband cannot remain indifferent to the tears of his wife, Jesus cannot remain indifferent to the tears of the Church: the two have become one flesh.
THEODORET OF CYR:
Paul is pointing out that just as the body has many members, some of which are more important than others, so it is with the church also. But every member is necessary and useful.1
Paul is teaching that we should not treat anyone with contempt, nor should we regard anyone as perfect.2
GREGORY OF NYSSA:
Those who are experts in such matters say that the virtues are not separate from each other and that it is not possible to grasp one of the virtues properly without attaining to the rest of them, but where one of the virtues is present the others will necessarily follow.3
The order goes from the higher to the lower, and quite deliberately, because the Corinthians were in the habit of putting speaking in tongues at the top of the list. Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 32.2. Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (p. 129). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.[/note]
The graces of the Lord which are seen in persons do not relate to the merit of the individual but to the honoring of God.4
Although there is grave sin that you cannot wash away yourself with the tears of your penitence, let the mother of the church weep for you. She who intercedes for all as a widowed mother for only sons is she who suffers with the spiritual grief of nature when she perceives her children urged on to death by mortal sins. We are heart of her heart, for there is also a spiritual heart that Paul has, saying, “Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.” We are the heart of the church, since we are members of his Body, of his flesh and of his bones. Let the pious mother grieve, let the crowd, too, help. Let not only the crowd but also a multitude feel pity for a good parent. Already at the funeral you will arise, already will you be released from the sepulcher; the attendants at your funeral will stand still, you will begin to speak words of life, all will be afraid; for very many are corrected by the example of one. They will praise God, who has bestowed upon us such great help for the avoidance of death.5
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA:
Christ raised him who was descending to his grave. The manner of his rising is plain to see. “He touched,” it says, “the bier and said, ‘Young man, I say unto thee, arise.’ ” How was not a word enough for raising him who was lying there? What is so difficult to it or past accomplishment? What is more powerful than the Word of God? Why then did he not work the miracle by only a word but also touched the bier? It was, my beloved, that you might learn that the holy body of Christ is productive for the salvation of man. The flesh of the almighty Word is the body of life and was clothed with his might. Consider that iron when brought into contact with fire produces the effects of fire and fulfills its functions. The flesh of Christ also has the power of giving life and annihilates the influence of death and corruption because it is the flesh of the Word, who gives life to all. May our Lord Jesus Christ also touch us that delivering us from evil works, even from fleshly lusts, he may unite us to the assemblies of the saints.6
- COMMENTARY ON THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS 246. Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (p. 125). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON PAUL’S EPISTLES. Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (p. 125). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- On Virginity 15. Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (p. 125). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON PAUL’S EPISTLES. Bray, G. L. (Ed.). (1999). 1–2 Corinthians (p. 129). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 5.92. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 118). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 36. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 118). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.