The Widow of Nain – Why Her Son?

Two processions of people converged outside the city gates. In one procession, the central figure was a corpse. In the other, it was Christ. In one procession there was great sadness and sorrow. In the other there was joy and gladness. As these two groups converged, life met death. Why did Jesus raise the son of the widow of Nain from the dead? In Luke 7:11-17 we read about the first time Jesus raised a person from the dead. You will notice the wording of the text: Just as He neared the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was also with her.  – Luke 7:12 What do we know about this mother? Other than she is a widow and she has lost her only son, we know very little. She lives in Nain. She apparently has some friends. That’s it. Is she wealthy? Is she a good person? Does she know Jesus? Is she a person of faith? Was there anything about this mother that made her a candidate for what Jesus was about to do? No. She was apparently not deserving in any way. Yet we are told that Jesus had “compassion” on this woman. He heard her cry. Why this woman’s son? Why not someone else’s child? I believe we need to understand a couple of truths. First of all Jesus came in the flesh to reveal God’s plan of salvation. He came to make known God’s plan to resurrect those who are spiritually dead to new life. While Jesus walked the earth there were extraordinary moments when God’s glory had to be exhibited. Times when His power of death was intentionally on display. The second thing we should note is that the compassion Jesus had for this mother was not attached to any merit on her part. His action was not a reward for a good life but simply a response to her pain. It was an act of grace and mercy. Aren’t you glad you have a great High Priest at the right hand of the Father who can sympathize with your pain and suffering? The Bible is full of promises that assure us that God hears the cries of His people (Psalm 34:17, Psalm 55:16 and many others). As for as we know this woman wasn’t a believer. Yet Jesus heard her cry. He felt her grief. He responded to her with compassion. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out . . .” (Matt. 12:20). Why? To demonstrate His compassion for all who face spiritual death and to show that His plan to save those who respond in faith is a result of His sovereign grace and not personal merit. This woman had come to the end of herself. She wasn’t looking to any substitute for God to fix this. We should note that Jesus didn’t resurrect this young man. He resuscitated him. The young man would still die a physical death sometime in the future. The young man’s resuscitation demonstrated Jesus power to resurrect the dead.     In this story we see a clear picture of what Jesus does for those who are dead in sin. He comes in grace (Eph. 2:8-9) and offers compassion. He comes even though we do not deserve Him. He wants to delivers us from our hopeless condition and bring us out of death into life. – John 5:24; Eph. 2:1-5. We don’t look for the resuscitation of the dead; we await the resurrection. What Jesus did that day in Nain, He did in my life. When I could not get to God He came to me. I was dead in my sins. But, He heard my cry and came in grace. He gave me life eternal! What a Savior!

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