“Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother.”

Luke 7:14-15 NLT


 

Around 265 young men were murdered last year in Memphis. The majority of them were 19-30 years old. They were too young to be dying.

Whether it’s young black men murdered in Memphis or black girls missing in Washington, DC we have to do something to stop the funerals for our young black kids.

Jesus noticed a funeral procession with a widow burying her only son. This was a woman hit hard twice and in economic despair. Her husband was already dead and now her son. Without a husband she was in for hard economic times. Her only hope was that her son might relieve the financial burden. Now they were both dead.

Like so many women of color this mother was without a husband, and her child was a victim of early death. Luke says that Jesus had compassion on her and he stopped the funeral touched the coffin and raised the boy to life.

If we are going to stop this deadly cycle in our community of young people dying we’ve got to do like Jesus did.

1. Have compassion. It’s disturbing to see so many young people dying and young girls missing. But what is more disturbing is that it appears nobody gives a care about it! As followers of Christ we should have compassion. Compassion takes you from sympathy to action. It’s time for us to do something about these young people dying. You can take action in Memphis by joining MICAH.

2. He touched the coffin. Touching anything dead made you unclean. Jesus risked his own religious standing to bring life back to a dead boy. Many evangelical Christians separate social justice from the Gospel. They are silent during injustice because to speak up would make them unclean, so they think. What makes them unclean is their silence. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “It’s always right to do what’s right!”

3. He spoke life to the dead boy. We need to speak life into the walking dead. Many of these young people are dying prematurely because no one is taking the time to speak life into them. They’ve always been told through negative people that their black lives don’t matter; whether it’s through the pedagogy of racist institutions or the dysfunction of impoverished family systems, they’ve been pronounced dead! We have to speak life! “You are smart! You are kind! You are important!”

The boy came back to life and started talking! When our young people start speaking from the dead we need to start listening! Our millennials are speaking. We’ve just got to start listening.

Jesus gave him back to his mother. We have to get our young men and women back from the grips of death! We can’t wait for the FBI. We can’t wait for the public schools. As followers of Christ we have to get out in these streets and stop some funerals!! Speak truth in love and speak truth to power!

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen