An Encounter at Nain

Luke 7: 11-17
1Cor 12:12-14,27-31 / Psa 100

When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.”
(Luke 7:13)

Moved with pity for a mother’s pain
Jesus raised back her dead son at Nain;
In His mercy what we’re praying for,
Through His Mother Jesus will restore.

Soon afterward, Jesus journeyed to a town called Nain, and His disciples and a large crowd accompanied 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, “Do not weep.” 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 great 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. (Luke 7: 11-17)


This Gospel account in the life of our Lord Jesus is found only in the book of Luke, and is one of the rare instances where Jesus took the initiative to give life back to a dead person without being asked. The only other times that our Lord also performed healings voluntarily were when He cured a crippled woman in a synagogue (Lk.13:13), and a man suffering from dropsy in the house of a leading Pharisee (Lk.14:4), both of them on a Sabbath day. These He did only to emphasize that God was most compassionate during this holiest day.

It would not be too far-fetched to surmise that Jesus identified the grieving widow with His own mother, Mary, who at that time was already a widow, and whom He knew would also be undergoing the same tormenting grief over His own death on the cross, which was forthcoming. This was why He was so moved with pity for the widow, that even without being asked, He raised the young man back to life and gave him back to his mother.

This compassionate act, however, was also predictive of our Lord’s own resurrection. Two more times after this He would raise the dead back to life – Jairus’ daughter, and Jesus’ own friend Lazarus – if only to emphasize His power and victory over death.

One of the older members of our community was widowed when her husband of almost fifty years succumbed to a massive heart attack. I remember the confusion and pain clouding her face, not knowing what the future held in store. Her children are all established with their own families in far off cities, and she could not leave the comfort of her home and the community that she had come to love to live with any of them. Thank God she has a loving community that helped alleviate her pain and loneliness by the prayers of its members as well as their comforting presence and support. The sudden loss of a loved one can be so traumatic that without the support and sympathy of true friends the bereaved can lose her enthusiasm for life. Jesus has taught us the virtue of showing our compassion to those who need it most. Let us also pray for all our friends who have lost their beloved partners, that God’s consoling grace may fill the void left by their passing away.

Lord Jesus, like the compassion that You showed to the widow in Nain, let Your healing power touch the lives of our widows and widowers, that they may fully recover from the loss of their loved ones, and still serve You in our community as avidly as before. Amen.

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