Summary: Two weeks ago we looked at the story of Elijah raising the widow's son to life. Last week we looked at the account of Elisha raising the Shunammite woman's son to life. This week we'll look at the first occasion of Jesus raising someone from the dead.
THE RESURRECTIONS BEFORE THE RESURRECTION (part three)
Two weeks ago we looked at the story of Elijah raising the widow's son to life. Last week we looked at Elijah's successor, Elisha and the account of him raising the Shunammite woman's son to life. Now we fast forward to Jesus as we look at the first occasion of him raising someone from the dead which, interestingly, involves another widow and her son.
1) A town called Nain (vs. 11-12).
"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.
"A town called Nain." Nain means pleasant or delightful. Well, the town may have been but there wasn't anything pleasant or delightful about this widow's day. At least not yet. Nain was a small village in Galilee about 12 miles from Capernaum. This is the only mention of it in scripture and quite possibly this is the only time Jesus may have visited there.
But this shows that Jesus cared about the people in the small town as well as those in the main city of Jerusalem. So much so that he performs his first resurrection in this small, seemingly insignificant town. I see it coinciding with other events in Jesus' life. His birth announcement was given to a bunch of 'insignificant' shepherds in a field and not the religious leaders. His birth was in the small town of Bethlehem, not in Jerusalem. He was born into an 'insignificant' family not a rich and powerful family.
It's not that Jesus didn't minister to the upper echelon of society, but he showed, rather convincingly, that he loved all people and saw no one as insignificant. What about us? Do we tend to focus only on certain people? Are we willing to give our time and attention to those we might deem as less significant? Let's follow the example of Jesus who purposely focused on the ones others may have seen as insignificant. We need to be willing to minister to anyone, regardless of their race, status, or income.
Do you ever feel insignificant? Has Satan ever tried to convince you that you're a nobody and that God's got better things to do than to waste his time with you? When we read the stories where Jesus ministered to the poor, the lame, the outcasts and the seemingly unimportant ones we can become convinced that the words from the enemy aren't true. God's all about the little guy.
So Jesus and a crowd come into the small town of Nain just as a funeral procession is going on. We have two crowds of people on two different sides of the emotional spectrum. The crowd with Jesus was all excited because they had just witnessed Jesus heal the Centurion's servant but the other crowd was in mourning as they grieve with this poor woman who had just lost her only son. As the two crowds converge something strange happens.
2) Compassion in action (vs. 13-14).
"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!”
It would've been normal in this day and age when someone came along a funeral procession to join the mourners out of respect. But here we see Jesus bringing the procession to a complete stop. This would've come across as odd in the least and downright rude to some. But now all eyes were focused on Jesus; watching to see what this man was up to.
Jesus could've kept it moving. I'm sure he had seen a funeral procession before. He could've simply thought to himself, "gee, that's too bad" and watched as the procession went by him. But he didn't. Jesus knew the seriousness of the situation-she had no husband and now she had no son. Therefore the pain of her loss was coupled with her concern about her future. Plus, it shouldn't be this way. Children are supposed to outlive their parents.
“Joseph Bayly knew what the loss of a child was like. In fact, he and his wife Mary Lou lost three sons–one at eighteen days, after surgery; another at five years, from leukemia: the third at eighteen years, after a sledding accident. He said, "Of all the deaths, that of a child is most unnatural and hardest to bear. We expect the old to die. The separation is always difficult, but it typically comes as no surprise. But what of the young? Life lies ahead, with its beauty, its wonder, its potential.