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Luke 7:11-17 tells the story of the raising from the dead of the only son of a widow from the town of Nain. The story gives us a vivid insight into the never ending mercy and compassion of Christ. We remember the old saying that when an irresistible object collides with an irresistible force, something's gotta give. Such is the case in this story.
Luke 7:11 ¶ And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.
This is a good illustration of the compassionate Christ. In reading the Old Testament we often picture God as harsh and vindictive. Jesus, who was simply God clothed in flesh demonstrated His very heart and nature. He showed that He was caring and compassionate to saint and sinner alike.
We see this vividly in the gospels: He heard the cry of the blind man over the roar of the pressing crowd (Matthew 20:30-34). He felt the touch of a frail women who had determined to simply touch the hem of His garment (Luke 8:45-46). We see the picture of Him weeping over Jerusalem, even as He prophesied coming disaster because of their sins (Matthew 23:37). We recall that in Syria, multitudes of sick, afflicted, mentally oppressed and those possessed by the devil thronged Him and He healed them all. Nobody was turned away (Matthew 4:24).
Jesus had come from Capernaum to Nain with a large entourage of people. They were following Jesus in a joyous mood, because he had just healed the centurion's servant.
A young man had died, leaving his widowed mother, who probably depended on him for support. She was accompanied by friends and the paid mourners who were customarily used at that time. As the procession was leaving the gate of the city for the graveyard, I’m sure the widow was thinking of the future. After the burial, friends would return to their homes and soon forget. As soon as the mourners had been paid, their tears would dry up.
Another procession was approaching from the other direction. A large group was following Jesus who had just healed the centurion's servant at Capernaum. In contrast to the procession of death, this was a procession of life. In contrast to the darkness and despair, the procession of like and hope was full of joy and praises to God.
Nain was situated on a rocky slope at high elevation, near Capernaum. It had but one road in and out. This was a narrow torturous path that made it difficult for people to pass. The two processions met head on in the narrow road, thus something had to give. The irresistible force was meeting the immovable object. Things were about to change. Jesus saw her and immediately sized up the situation. He was moved with compassion and told the widow not to weep. I’m sure those profession mourners thought that was a bit strange.
Jesus then touched the dead body, which was a legalistic no no. He told the young man to arise and he stood up and began to speak as the crowd glorified God.
This was put in the gospel for a purpose; that we might apply it to our lives today. Do we not face similar circumstances when things have been going well but suddenly we are faced with major obstacles: death, disease, job loss, depression, old age? The list is endless, but the solution is the same. His name is Jesus. As the old cliche states, "He is just as close as the mention of His name." He still hears. He still sees. He still feels. He still saves. He still heals. He is touched by the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15).
Matthew 8:17 tells us:.... Himself took our imfirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
Isaiah 53:5 tells us: But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Friend, if you identify with the situation of this widow, why not look up and call on the precious name of Jesus.Tell Him your need, your hurt and your pain. Be assured that He loves you with an everlasting love that is beyond comprehension. He will hear, he will touch and He will deliver.
Song: My God, My King and My Redeemer
"The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.' "-- Billy Graham
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Last modified: 07-19-2015
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