Reference: Luke 7:11-17
Heart of the Story: Jesus raises from the dead the only son of a widow.
Back Story: Jesus is teaching in Galilee. In the immediately preceding story, he healed a centurion’s servant. Likely, the centurion was a Gentile and in the Roman military. After healing the centurion’s servant, Jesus went to a Nain, a town near the southern edge of Galilee. This story is the only time that the town of Nain occurred in the Bible; yet, it was a town not a village. It had a town wall for protection. Jesus’s disciples and a large crowd of people followed him. Many people followed Jesus not because they believed in his teaching but because they wanted to see him perform a miracle. By this time in Israelite history, the Jewish people had not seen a prophet of God for 400-450 years. They marveled at what Jesus could do
Story Line: Jesus is about to enter the Nain gait. He stops because a dead person was carried out of the town for burial. The dead body was the only son of a widow. The widow was walking behind the bier, crying, The widow’s tears over the death of her son moved Jesus with compassion. Jesus did somethings extraordinary for a Jewish man. He stopped. He talked to a widow, who he never met before. He told her not to cry. Then, Jesus went to the bier containing the dead son’s body and touched it. Gasp!!!! According to Jewish law, touching a dead body or anything the dead body came into contact with made Jesus ritually unclean. Jesus said to the dead son’s body, “Young man, I say to you, get up.” The son rose from the bier and Jesus took him to his mother.
Pondering Relationships: Because of the death of her son, likely, the widow will be destitute, i.e., no one to provide for her and no source of income. Possibly, she paid what little money she had to the men who carried her son to the burial site outside of Nain. The Bible said that the young man was carried on a bier. A bier is a framework or type of stand for carrying something. In this case, the young man’s body laid on the bier. Possibly he was young; there is no indication that he had a wife or children.
The dead body was wrapped in burial linens. After Jesus ordered the widow’s son to ride, he son rose, moved away from the bier, and lived. Somehow the strips of linen came off of the body. If we saw a dead body rising, we would be shocked (about now, most of us are imaging a horror movie). The Bible said that the son started to talk. Don’t you wish you knew what the son said? Likely, he praised God. Maybe he even thanked Jesus.
Jesus gave the boy to his mother, meaning Jesus walked the boy to the back of the bier to where his mother stood. She hugged her son and cried, only this time her tear were tears of joy. When she could tear herself away from her son, I imaging she reached out her hands to Jesus and thanked him. Because Jesus was divine, he could not be made unclean by touching a dead both. In fact just the opposite occurred, the young man had life and became clean because Jesus (God) touched the bier.
The Bible recorded that the people who saw this event were in awe. I would have been also. But more probably, as a nurse, I would have concluded that the woman got it all wrong. Her son was not really dead but in a coma of some type. He was wrapped in burial linens while still alive. That’s how Jesus was able to raise him. What is the matter with me? Why can’t I accept that the son of God had sway over individuals who were dead and well as individuals who were alive. I guess I understand why Jesus did not return to Bethany until after Lazarus in the grave four days. Jesus wanted to make sure that people like me had no excuse for not believing that he could raise the dead.
Have you ever thought about what the son did with his new life? Did he become a believer in Christ? Probably, he was not in hell during the time he was dead. I am not sure that Christ would have brought a really, really bad person back to life. Did he remember the time he was dead when his body come back to life? This wasn’t a near death experience but an actual death experience and rebirth. This boy could write a book, become instantly famous, and go on all of the talk shows. Sorry, I got carried away. But don’t we today discredit and discount that Christ can and does give life?
Reflection: Do you believe Christ raised a dead boy? Will Jesus bring you back to life if you die before the second coming? Have you accepted a new life in Christ now?
Copyright December 24, 2016. Carolyn A. Roth
If you want to know more about lesser known Bible characters, take a look at my book on http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/