#4: 1-2-'18 The Woman with a Dead Son
The following took place about the mid-point of Jesus' ministry, probably in the summer of A. D. 28, at the edge of the town of Nain, Galilee.
She never planned for things to happen this way. The widow greatly needs and loves her young son. First her husband died. Now her son is dead. The only thing left is the funeral. There seems to be no one to help her. Among the large crowd attending the funeral, she feels all alone. What can she do? She planned to take it bravely and trust God, but now she cries as the procession follows the funeral bier carrying her dead son.
The day after Jesus healed the Roman officer's servant, a large crowd follows him as he and his disciples travel from Capernaum to the city of Nain, one day’s journey south. As Jesus and his disciples approach the gate of the city, they hear loud crying. A large crowd walking down the street approaches them.
This crowd is following someone - a woman and her dead son, carried on a funeral bier. The Rabbi tasked with conducting the funeral is in the lead, followed by the woman and a group of mourners and most everyone from the town. By divine appointment, the group following Jesus into the city and the group leaving through the city gates on the way to the cemetery, converge into one crowd.
The widow tries not to make a scene, but now, as the two crowds merge, she convulses with tears.
But someone with power is coming to help her. Jesus approaches the woman. He feels compassion for her and consoles her, saying, “Stop weeping” (Luke 7:13b). She notices his kind, strong, and compassionate countenance. She also feels peace and well-being coming from his presence. She stops crying and watches him as he walks over and touches the open wicker coffin. The pallbearers stop and carefully observe him. “Why is he doing that?” they wonder. The mourners quit wailing. The two crowds merged into one make a circle around Jesus, the woman, and her dead son.
As everyone watches intently, Jesus commands the dead man, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (Luke 7:14b) Those hearing him are shocked at what he said, but they are even more awed by what they see. Suddenly, the man sits up, looks around and sees his mother, and speaks to her! The large group of friends and mourners are amazed beyond words!
Jesus gives the mother her son she had lost, now alive and healed! The mother and son embrace while the large crowd is astonished and overwhelmed. They rejoice and glorify God, proclaiming, “A mighty prophet has risen up among us!” “God is visiting His people!”
The report of this miracle spreads quickly throughout all Judea and the surrounding country. For Jesus demonstrates the truth of his words, “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it” (John 5:21, NIV).
Foreshadowing of Events in the Life of Messiah:
(Given 1520 B. C.)
“When I went out to the gate by the city . . .
The young men saw me and hid,
and the aged arose and stood;
The princes refrained from talking,
and put their hand on their mouth;
The voice of nobles was hushed,
and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.
When the ear heard, then it blessed me,
and when the eye saw, then it approved me;
because I delivered the poor who cried out,
the fatherless and the one who had no helper.
The blessing of a perishing man came upon me,
and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy”
(Job 29:7-13, NKJV).
Comment: This is one of my favorite accounts in the gospels: The woman with a dead son. According to natural thinking, it was too late for anyone to put this woman’s life back together or solve her problem. But no matter how great one’s problems seem or how hopeless the future looks for someone, everything changes when he or she encounters Jesus. And God has a way of directing our steps so that we receive that answer from Him.
Note: much of this devotional is from The Life of Jesus Foretold, pages 90-92.