“Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.” (Luke 7:11-17)
Again we have a young man who has died, and his mother – a widow – weeping. As one commentator I read said, Jesus saw this woman’s hope and defense lead out on a funeral bier and he had compassion for her. Care and defense of widows and orphans was a high priority for the disciples and the early church, and it could be because they saw and heard Jesus having compassion for them.
What a spontaneous demonstration of not only Jesus’ compassion but also his ability to heal. The man sat up alive! After being carried out side of the city dead! No wonder the people of Nain were astonished! The bible commentators I looked at consider this miracle not one that particularly advanced Jesus’ ministry (in their opinion). And Luke is the only gospel to have this story. These same commentators say the the writer of Luke seems to highlight Jesus’ interaction with women.
And as I consider this passage, my attention is drawn to the fact that this man is returned to his mother; that is, nothing more is asked of the man or his mother. No teaching on this is given, neither one is said to have believed in Jesus or followed Jesus from this day forward. They simply picked up their lives just before the point it went so disastrously astray. Admittedly, it does not add to the focus I had made the past two days of strong women of faith. But . . . their was a large crowd taking part in the funeral, and it was a procession and not simply caring out the body of the young man from the city. She may have been a woman of note, or her son might have been. No more details are given by the writer of Luke, so you and I, beloved reader, are free to suppose and imagine.
Interestingly too, this giving of the son to the mother is reminiscent of the passage from I Kings 17 where Elijah restores the son to the widow woman he was staying with. Both women were prepared to carry on with their lives without their sons, but because of the intervention of the Divine they did not have to. What did they do to merit this? Or was there anything particularly special about them? I would like to think, if nothing else, from that day forward they became diligent followers of the God who performed miracles on their behalf. That is all that can be expect of any of us, actually.
We have one more day of focusing on women of God. I hope you will join my again on Friday when another scripture passage will be presented. Shalom!