Summary: If He can raise a woman's dead son to life, HE CAN DO EVERYTHING THAT YOU ASK OR NEED.
RAISING THE NAIN WIDOW’S SON
Introduction: Today, in our continuing series of messages through Luke, we will consider a supernatural event – a miracle: “The Dead Raised to Life,” based on the text found in Luke 7:11-17.
Illustration: You know, one of the reasons most people don’t believe in supernatural things is that the look for them in the wrong places. By the way, did you hear about the frog who went to a fortune teller to find out what his future held for him? Well, the fortune teller gazed into her crystal ball and then said to the frog, “You are going to meet a beautiful young woman. And from the moment she sets eyes on you she will have an insatiable desire to know all about you. She will be compelled to get close to you – and you will fascinate her.” The frog was all excited by this, and so he asked, “Where is all of his going to take place? At a single’s bar?” The fortune teller replied, “No! In a biology class!”
Let’s read our text in Luke 7:11-17. And I would like us to examine this miracle in terms of 1) The Setting; 2) The Sign (Miracle) Itself; and 3) What followed the miracle.
I. First, the Setting – Verses 11-12
A large crowd is following Jesus as he approaches Nain. (Slide 1) Nain is about 25 miles from Capernaum, a good day’s journey away. (Slide 5 and 6) Nain is famous for its exquisite rugs, some of the most sought after carpets in the world. Now Jesus, probably arrived at the city gate late in the afternoon on the same day the boy died. The Jews buried their dead the same day. So, two crowds met; the ones following Jesus, and the large funeral procession leaving the city and headed for the cemetery.
(Slide 3) The tiny Galilean village of Nain is remembered only because here Jesus brought back to life a widow’s son as he was being taken out through the town gate to be buried.
Jesus met the funeral procession carrying the young man’s body — “his mother’s only son, and she was a widow” — and had compassion for her (Luke 7:11-17).
The place where the miracle occurred is 7km south-west of Mount Tabor, up a steep road. The village (also known as Naim) looks out on to the Plain of Jezreel.
Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea, identified the location in the 4th century, noting that it was not far from Endor, where King Saul of Judah consulted a medium before his final encounter with the Philistines, described in the book of 1 Samuel.
(Slide 4) The first recorded account of a pilgrim’s visit is anonymous (probably by Egeria, who visited the Holy Land as a pilgrim around AD 380). It says: “In the village of Nain is the house of the widow whose son was brought back to life, which is now a church, and the burial place where they were going to lay him is still there to this day.”
After the fall of the Latin kingdom in the 12th century, Nain became a Muslim village (as it remains).
A French monk who visited the place in 1664 related: “In the village are one hundred Arab families, wild as leopards, and therefore only few Christians come. And there is no sign of the house of the widow.”
1. In our culture, if you are driving along and you see a funeral procession you are supposed to pull over out of respect and let the whole procession pass. I don’t think many people observe that anymore – unless there is a police escort for the procession, and even then not always.
In places like Mexico, these processions can be long with several elegant black carriages, one of which is the hearse, and several others for family members and friends, followed by mourners, and musicians on foot.
2. According to Jewish custom, if you came upon a funeral procession you were obliged to join it. So here, then, we have a meeting of two crowds. What a contrast between the crowd that was following Jesus, and the crowd 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.
Spiritually speaking, each one of us is in one of these two crowds. If you have trusted Christ, you are going to that city described in Hebrews 11:10, “which has foundations, whose builder and make is God.” If you are “dead in sin” you are already in the cemetery and under the condemnation of God like it says in John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, but he who does not believe in the Son of God will not see life; but the wrath of God remains on him.”