7632 - The Widow's Son

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Jesus demonstrated great compassion towards a widow who had lost nearly everything.

Let’s look at an event that demonstrates the compassionate nature of God from Luke 7, verses 11-17.

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out --the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people." This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

Many people do not understand the compassionate nature of God. They perceive God as a harsh disciplinarian, ready to thump them on their head when they cross the line.

We are so glad that in coming to earth Jesus, in the flesh, revealed to mankind many of the facets of the nature of invisible God (John 1:18). So the compassion demonstrated by Jesus on many occasions actually shows us that God has a compassionate nature.

In this passage we see again that wherever Jesus went He was surrounded by people. On this trip they are going to behold, once again, the powerful authority, God exerted through His Son Jesus.

Nain is a city on a slope, two miles south of Mount Tabor. This is south-west of the Sea of Galilee, on the edge of the Plain of Esdraelon. This was a trip of more than twenty miles, on foot, from Capernaum, so many words flowed between the people traveling with Jesus, and also from Him. These were teaching opportunities.

As they approached this walled city, a funeral procession approached through the town gate. They discovered that the dead person was the only son of a widow. She must have been loved and respected as a large crowd accompanied her. Oh, the compassion of Jesus, this passage says, “his heart went out to her.” If we every questioned whether God was loving, just observe Jesus here. His message was simple. “Don’t cry.” Most likely this meant, “don’t cry any more,” for surely this woman had already shed buckets of tears.

For other people to have said, “don’t cry,” the message would have been meaningless and hollow. But this was the Son of God, creator of all things, the One who had authority. So His words meant, “you can stop crying because your plight is about to change.” Keep in mind, this woman was between a rock and a hard-place. She had already lost her husband. Now, her only son, likely the only source of income and support, was gone. Not only was she without companionship, but she was needy for material help.

But Jesus cared. As the procession came to a halt, Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, get up.” We can imagine the stares of unbelief from some in the crowd.

The Jewish Scripture relates the restoration of life in only three places. Elijah restored the widow of Zarepath’s son (1 Kg. 17:22). Elisha restored the Shunammite woman’s son (2 Kg. 4:34,35). And the body of a man came to life when his remains touched the dead remains of Elisha (2 Kg. 13:21).

This young man sat up and began to talk, then Jesus presented him to his mother. What joy must have reigned in their hearts. The combined crowds were filled with awe and praised God; although they only recognized Jesus as a great prophet. This is the first restoration by Jesus, although He later restored the daughter of Jairus (Lk. 8:55); and also called Lazarus from the tomb (Jn. 11:43-44).

We see the deep truth about Jesus had not yet been comprehended.