11Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12As 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. 13When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people” (Luke 7:11-16).
Widows and orphans have always been people that God has given special care and compassion. His heart goes out to them in their need. It is a cruel world for those who are unmarried and have children, they are amongst the most needy in our society and even more so in the Middle East where there is no Social Security or insurance plan for the unemployed.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling (Psalm 68:5).
Let’s try and get a picture in our minds of the scene in front of us. We are told in Luke 7:11 that a large crowd of people were following the disciples. Just as they were approaching the town gate they were confronted with the funeral procession. Normally there would be a band of professional mourners at the head, with their flutes and cymbals uttering their shrill cries of grief, followed by those that were carrying the boy in the coffin. When we think of a coffin we think of a wooden box but this was more than likely a long wickerwork basket used for carrying the body to the grave. I find it amazing that we don’t see the widow asking for a miracle, Jesus undertakes without a request from her. Author Ken Gire says: “It is a miracle done without human prompting. Without thought of lessons to be taught to the disciples. Without thought of deity to be demonstrated to the skeptics. It is a miracle drawn solely from the well of divine compassion. So free the water. So pure the heart from which it is drawn. So tender the hand that cups it and brings it to this bereaved mother’s lips.” We are most like our Lord when we can step into the shoes of those who are poor and hurting with hearts of compassion, longing to do what we can to alleviate their pain and need.
There are some situations where God does not require faith before He moves, He acts out of His own compassion, grace and mercy. I find it refreshing to know that even when I am at low ebb spiritually that He will move on my behalf outside of His requirement for expressions of faith. Jesus was not worried about being ritually unclean as he stepped forward and touched the coffin. People are what matter to Him. There is a higher law at work, the law of love and compassion. His heart, we are told, went out to her. He said, “Don’t cry.” He felt her pain. When any of His people are hurting He feels their pain. Turning to the boy, he said, Young man, “I say to you, get up!” 15The dead man sat up and began to talk. We are told that there was an awe that filled them, astonishment at such a thing. This awe was awareness that God indeed was visiting His people, how could this be! This young man was dead! Imagine the praise that went up, verse 16, as relatives and the mother herself received her son back from the dead. Imagine what pain there would be in losing your only son and then the joy of holding the one you already had to release to death.
“God has come to help His people!” (verse16).
According to the gospel writers, every funeral that Jesus went to He raised up the dead person! There was Lazarus in John 11, the Centurions servant in Luke 7:1-10, and then Jairus’ daughter was also raised from the dead in Luke 8:40-56. Alfred Edersheim in his book “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah,” tells us that the Jews believed that there would be three evidences in the ministry of the Messiah, He would cleanse lepers, heal the blind and raise the dead. Are you convinced yet that this is indeed the Messiah? God has come to help His people!