Summary: The Widow of Nain. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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.

In fact:

• 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,

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