Friday, March 20, 2015

Jesus raises the son of the widow of Nain

11 ¶ And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about. (Luke 7:11-17)

Significant points:
The woman was a widow and her only son was now dead.  When a husband dies, the source of a families livelihood is removed.  Often when a father died, the sons were expected to provide for the family in his stead.  This woman not only had lost her husband, but she only had one son to provide for her needs and now he was dead too.  She had a life of poverty ahead of her.   

So when Jesus had compassion on the woman, He saw her difficulty and poverty.  Jesus brought the woman’s son back to life so that he could continue to help his mother, among other purposes.

Another significant point:
Jesus touched the bier of the dead son.  The bier is a moveable frame on which a body is carried to the grave.  According to the Law of Moses, this would probably have made him ritually unclean.  There were rules that things and people who came in contact with the dead were to be considered unclean:

11 ¶ He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.…
13 Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.
14 This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.
15 And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean.
16 And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. (Numbers 19:11,13-16)

This was meant to teach people that they would be defiled if they came into contact with the spiritually dead.  As said before, touching the bier of a dead person would probably be considered unclean, yet Jesus did this, then raised the dead man to life.

The message in His action was clearly to declare His divinity and purity as something more powerful than death or the ritual law.  Not only did He have power to overcome uncleanness, but He could overcome death.  Instead of being defiled by contact with the dead man, Jesus had the power to heal (and also sanctify) the dead man.   It is no wonder then that the people instantly recognized Jesus as “a great prophet” or as God visiting His people.


Sarah K. said...

I've heard the account of Christ's arrest a million times, but I've never thought about it this way before. I love this! What an important message about living with integrity. Thanks for sharing!