Summary: The Widow of Nain. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Luke chapter 7 verses 11-17.
• A Mother was taking her four-year-old daughter to school,
• She was a doctor and had left her stethoscope on the car seat,
• Her little girl picked it up;
• And very exited began to play with it.
• Excellent, thought the Doctor,
• My daughter wants to follow in my footsteps!
• Then the child spoke into the instrument:
• “Hello and welcome to McDonald’s may I take you order?”
All parents have high hopes for their children:
• The Mother in our reading this morning,
• Saw those hoped shattered, by the premature death of her son.
A speaker held up a £50 note.
• He asked, “Who would like this £50 note?”
• Immediately hands started going up.
• He said, “I am going to give this £50 note to one of you but first, let me do this.”
• He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up.
• He then asked, “Who still wants it?”
• Still the hands were up in the air.
• “Well”, he replied, “What if I do this?”
• And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
• He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty.
• He asked: “Now who still wants it?”
Still the hands went into the air.
“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth £50.”
Here was a widow:
• Who had been dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt,
• By the circumstances of life.
• And to many she was a no-body,
• An insignificant person, in an unimportant place.
• But to God she had a value;
• And Luke in his gospel often records for us,
• Incidents like this one,
• Which have to do with the lowly, the outcast & those that society doesn’t seem to value!
Four special meetings took place on that day.
(1). Two crowds meet.
First crowd verse 11:
“Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him “.
Second crowd verse 12:
“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.”
What a Contrast:
• Between the crowd that was following Jesus,
• And the crowd that was following the widow and her dead son.
• Jesus and His disciples were rejoicing in the blessing of the Lord,
• But the widow and her friends were lamenting the death of her only son.
• Jesus was heading for the city,
• While the mourners were heading for the cemetery.
• Even to this day, ten minutes walk from Nain on the road to Endor,
• There is a cemetery of rock tombs in which the dead are laid.
• The widow in our passage, never made it there:
• For she was halted, then turned completely around by her encounter with Jesus.
Now the Jewish custom at this time was to bury their dead on the same day;
• So it is likely that Jesus and His disciples arrived at the city gate,
• Late In the afternoon, on the very same day the boy died.
• The widow, the corpse & the mourners had to come out of the city,
• Because no burial was ever allowed inside a Jewish city.
Two crowds meet:
(1). The widows crowd:
• The funeral procession would have been headed by a group of professional mourners:
• Quote: Jewish writings (Ketuboth chapter 4 verse 4):
“Even the poorest in Israel should hire not less than two flutes and one wailing woman
• These folks would have been hired, paid to be there, they were funeral experts;
• They would turn up with their clothes torn,
• Playing flutes and cymbals,
• Their voices making a frenzy of shrills & cries of grief.
Funerals are rarely happy occasions
• I did hear about the gifted public speaker,
• Who was asked to recall his most difficult speaking assignment. He said,
"That's easy. It was an address I gave to the National Conference of Undertakers.
The topic they gave me was 'How to Look Sad at a Ten Thousand Dollar Funeral.'"
• Well for most of us; funerals are sad occasions,
• And in the ancient near east, you paid professional mourners to help express your grief!
(2). Jesus and his crowd of followers.
• Jesus would have had his 12 disciples with him,