The Healing of the Widow’s Son in Nain

The Healing of the Widow’s Son in Nain

The Healing of the Widow’s Son in Nain

Please read Luke 7:11-17

  1. Prior Healing. This healing in Nain, which is one of the three resurrection scenes of Jesus, apart from His own resurrection, is just on the heels of a dramatic long-distance healing of a Gentile’s slave. Because the Gentile was a Roman officer, this healing attracted quite a crowd in and around Capernaum, which was the adopted home territory for Jesus. So a huge crowd followed Him and His disciples to a town called Nain, which means “pleasant,” or “green pastures.” There always seem to be crowds following Jesus, no matter where He went. Would you like that? Doesn’t He need some privacy?
  2. Funeral. Just as Jesus, His disciples and this big crowd were approaching the Nain village gate, out comes a funeral procession. An open coffin, or a large stretcher, was being carried, containing the dead body of a young man. The coffin and body were accompanied by another large group of mourners, a process that would last for 30 days. The young man who had died was the only son of a widow in town. His death meant that this widow now had no means of support, no way to pay for food or rent or clothes or anything else. This young man’s death meant that the widow was bound to be destitute, struggling to survive, alone and penniless. This widow had a life now of begging ahead of her. She is no doubt grieving for her son as well as terrified of her future. What possible words would comfort her during this time? What can one say to someone in this hopeless situation?
  3. Compassion. The Greek word used here for compassion is actually the word for “intestines” or “guts.” Jesus experienced her misery and grief at His deepest level. So Jesus couldn’t just walk by this tragic situation. He didn’t merely shrug His shoulders and say something like “Well, you know, sorry about that, but the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” His heart overflowed with mercy, His heart broke for this woman. It was for this that He came into the world, forĀ  situations just like this. The widow didn’t have to say a thing. She didn’t need to. Jesus observed, read the scene, and decided to act.
  4. Comfort and Healing. So Jesus looked at the widow and the mourners and simply said, “Don’t cry!” And then He walked over to the coffin, with the people bearing the coffin looking on, and He touched it. By touching something connected to death, Jesus thus became ceremonially “unclean” according to Jewish law. But Jesus didn’t care about that. He literally touched the coffin, stopping the procession in its tracks. If you were one of the pallbearers, what would you think at this point? If you were the widow, what would you be thinking? And then, somehow Jesus talked to the dead young man, He was able to communicate across the great divide, and Jesus bought him back to life. Jesus simply said, “Young man, get up!” The young man could of course do nothing to help himself with his healing, he was dead! This resurrection was sheer mercy on Jesus’ part. And right there in the coffin, the dead boy just sat up, looked around, and began talking! What do you think he said? And then come some of the sweetest words you’ll ever read… “And Jesus gave the young man back to his mother.” Describe that part of the scene. Remember now that this young man would have to die again. He would die twice. Would you like to do that?
  5. Crowd Response. A reverence for God swept through the crowd. There was wonder and awe and a deep sense of holy mystery after witnessing this resurrection. And then everyone praised the Lord for His power and mercy. They called Jesus a mighty prophet, just like the Old Testament prophets Elijah and Elisha, who had raised children from the dead (1 Kings 17 and 2 Kings 4). What a blessing that a prophet this powerful has risen among the people! And they exclaimed that God Himself had paid a visit! Glory to God! The news of what Jesus had done spread around, far and wide, even to Jerusalem to the south, and all the territory of Judea.
  6. Big Question. What did we learn about Jesus in this miracle?

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