Introduction: In 1973, J. Paul Getty III was kidnapped in Rome and his captors demanded $17 million, which the grandfather refused to pay. The kidnappers cut off his ear and sent it to Getty in the mail; but the Italian postal employees were on strike, and the ear rotted in the post office. The younger Getty was eventually released (minus his ear), but he lived an unhappy life. In 1981, he took a series of drugs that resulted in liver failure and a stroke that left him paralyzed and nearly blind. This week, he died at the age of 54. He was heir to a fortune and could have had anything he wanted and done anything he desired. He lived on a 100-acre estate in Ireland and on a 3000-acre estate in England, with a mock castle, ornamental lakes, and a special tower that housed a library containing many of the world’s oldest and rarest books. But he didn’t seem to have known the greatest Book of all, and he lived a miserable life. As a result of his drug-triggered stroke, he couldn’t speak but could only emit a high-pitched scream. He had to be spoon-fed, bathed, dressed, and cared for around the clock because of what he had done to himself. One of the headlines said: “He Survived a Kidnapping but not a Life of Excess.” I wish he could have discovered Luke 7. This is the chapter in which Jesus Christ brings radical happiness into the lives of an interesting parade of characters from different backgrounds in life.
- Jesus Brings Radical Happiness to Soldiers Who Trust Him (v. 1-10). Being a Roman soldier, this man understood authority when he saw it, and he had never seen such authority as Jesus possessed.
- Jesus Brings Radical Happiness to Widows Who Need Him (v. 11-17). Nain was 25 miles from Capernaum. Jesus timed His visit there to coincide with a funeral, which He prompted interrupted with an on-the-spot resurrection.
- Jesus Brings Radical Happiness to Preachers Who Doubt Him (v. 18-35). John the Baptist had lost his morale. Jesus understood. On the day when John questioned the person and work of Christ, Jesus said the greatest things about John that He ever said. His message revived the preacher’s heart.
- Jesus Brings Radical Happiness to Prostitutes Who Worship Him (v. 36-50). This woman was described as a “sinner,” but she was lost in worship of the One who forgave her sins and treated her with dignity, kindness, and eternal salvation.
Conclusion: If you trust Christ, need Christ, doubt Christ, and/or worship Christ, you’re in good company. You’re in Luke 7. Jesus can give you radical happiness. Like the old campfire song we sang when I was in college:
Happiness is to know the Savior, living a life within His favor, having a change in my behavior, Happiness is the Lord.