Summary: This is a bible study written as a series on the books of Luke.
The Miracle of Life
Midweek Bible Study
September 17, 1997
Main Text: Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 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. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A greta prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
What is happening in this passage?
Jesus is continuing to proceed in His public ministry and was traveling to the small town of Nain. At the gate there was a funeral procession leaving the town for the burial. This young man that had died was the only son of a widow. This meant that she had no one to care for her needs because there was no other immediate family. Jesus sees the woman’s pain and suffering and His heart goes out to her. He has compassion on her and steps into her situation.
Jesus then walks up to the coffin and raises the young man from the dead. Jesus raised three people from the dead in His entire recorded ministry and that makes this event extremely special. This event was not precipitated by any type of request or plea but rather comes from Jesus’ personal compassion for the widow. There was great and festive celebration after this event and Jesus took a reason for sorrow and turned it into a celebration of joy. The word of this event was quickly spread through the surrounding area and into Judea.
The major characters
A. Jesus: Jesus is the one who makes the miracle happen for this widow and for her son. Jesus is the key character in the whole book but in this passage we see a different aspect of Jesus’ character and new revelation about the values of God. Luke paints a picture for us that shows how much Jesus valued every single person because this was a mother who was totally devastated by this death. She now had no one to turn to in her times of need and Jesus saw the pain that she was going through. He reached out in love and compassion for this woman and her dead son.
B. The Widow: This is a woman who has already lost her husband and now has lost her only son. In Israel the social standing came through the male role and the women who had no male family were left without recourse. They would have to depend on other male relatives for their personal care and this was not always a reliable system. In many situations there were women who had to live for themselves and had an extremely difficult living in Jewish society. This woman may have had no one to turn to in her time of need.
C. The Son: Luke describes this son as a young man. He was most likely in his teens and had a long life ahead of him. This was the only son that the woman had and there may have been other siblings but only this one son. Sine the father had already died; he was responsible for the welfare of the whole family. Now the family had lost him. They were surely devastated by this tragedy. Jesus gave this young man a new lease on life by raising him from the dead.
This event takes place shortly after Jesus’ encounter with the Roman Centurion in the mid to late part of the first year of Jesus’ public ministry. The event occurs at the town of Nain. Nain is located in the southern section of the Galilean region. Nain lies just southeast of Nazareth and is one of the final towns before entering Samaria. It is interesting that the news of this miracle spread throughout Judea and the surrounding area. Judea is in the southern part of Israel and was the region of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was likely a two day journey from Nain and for the news to spread so fast there must have been people at the funeral or in Nain from that area of Israel. Jesus’ reputation and ministry is becoming more and more widespread through the entire country.
Jesus is using the event of a funeral to bring new life and new hope to a hurting widow. This event happens through the supernatural means of Jesus’ power and position as the Son of God. He brings the whole event about in mere moments and demonstrates the power of life. Jesus is showing compassion to this widow and her son by raising him from the dead. He is also giving a clear picture of the power that He has over life and this reveals His divine authority over both heaven and earth. Jesus is attempting to reveal a deeper bit of the Truth that is in God and shows how these divine and eternal values effect all of humanity.