Summary: Jesus and the Widow of Nain. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
TWO CROWDS MEET:
The widow and the mourners
Jesus and his followers
TWO ‘ONLY SONS’ MEET:
The woman’s son and heir
The Father’s son and saviour
TWO SUFFERS MEET:
Widow: alone and grieving
Jesus: ‘man of sorrows’
TWO ENEMIES MEET:
Boy: death and decay
Jesus: life and resurrection
• 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 was no different;
• Only she saw those hoped shattered, by the premature death of her son.
A young New Yorker named Glenn Chambers,
• Had a lifelong dream to work for God in Ecuador.
• At the airport on the day of departure,
• He wanted to send a note to his mother but he didn’t have time to buy a card.
• He noticed a piece of paper on the terminal floor and picked it up.
• It turned out to be an advertisement,
• With the words “Why?” spread across it.
• He scribbled his note around the word “Why?”
• And posted the letter at the airport.
• That night his aeroplane exploded into the 14,000 foot Colombian peak El Tablazo.
• A few days later his mother received the note in the post,
• Recognising the hand writing on the envelope;
• She opened the envelope and starring up at her from the page was the word “Why?”
Here was another mother, a widow:
• Who like the mother of Glen Chambers;
• Had one question racing though her heart and mind – “Why?”
• Notice as we study this passage;
• I want to divide it up under four headings.
(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.
• ill: 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.
• Now the widow in our passage, never made it there:
• Because she was halted, then turned completely around by her encounter with Jesus.
TWO CROWDS MEET:
(1). The widows crowd:
Now the Jewish custom at this time was to bury their dead on the same day;
• The widow, the corpse & the mourners had to come out of the city,
• Because no burial was ever allowed inside a Jewish city.
• So it is likely that it was late In the afternoon, on the very same day the boy died.
• That the widow encountered Jesus and His disciples arriving at the city gate,
• 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 Five Thousand Pound Funeral!’"
• Well for most of us; funerals are sad occasions,
• And in the ancient near east,
• You paid professional mourners to help you to express your grief!
(2). Jesus and his crowd of followers.