Jesus Raises A Widow’s Son


‘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. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers 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

Jesus now moves to a town called Nain, closely followed by His disciples and a large crowd. Nain was around a day’s journey from Capernaum and lay between Endor and Shunem, where Elisha, raised another mother’s son, 2 Kings 4:18-37.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘There are many ancient remains of Nain, proving that the place was once of considerable size. It is located ‘on the north-western edge of ‘Little Hermon’, where the ground falls into the plain of Esdraelon’. Just east of the city are the remains of rock sepulchres; and the extensive ruins disprove the notion that the place was merely ‘a humble village of mud-built houses near Nazareth’. Luke was altogether correct in calling the place a ‘city’. Today the village is a rather insignificant place called Nein.’

As Jesus approached the town gate in Nain, He witnesses a funeral procession, where a dead boy was being carried out. He was the woman’s only son and she was a widow.

With her husband being dead and now with the death of her son probably meant that all her means of support were gone. We can only imagine what’s going through this woman’s mind. Not only did she bury her husband at some point in the past, but now she’s having to deal with the reality of death again.

Considering the reality of death in our fallen world, C. S. Lewis wrote, ‘It is hard to have patience with people who say ‘There is no death’ or ‘Death doesn’t matter.’ There is death. And whatever is, matters. And whatever happens, has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter.’

It’s not surprising that the Lord’s heart went out to her, and He tells her not to cry, Zechariah 12:10, that’s because with Jesus there is hope, real hope, 1 Thessalonians 4:13.

Notice that Jesus then goes on and touches the bier, the coffin which the boy was being carried on and the bearers stood still. The Greek word for bier is ‘soros’ which is a funeral receptacle, an urn or coffin. I don’t think we are to think of a coffin, like people use today but more of a wicker conveyance.

Because He touched the bier, He would have made Himself unclean by doing so. According to the law touching a dead body was forbidden, it would make you ‘unclean’ for 7 days, Leviticus 21:11.

In Bible times, no Jews were buried within the walls of the city, except the kings and distinguished persons, 1 Samuel 28:3 / 1 Kings 2:10 / 2 Kings 21:18 / Acts 2:29.

Maimonides, in his commentary, says the following.

‘They carry the dead upon their shoulders to the grave and the bearers of the bier are forbidden to put on their sandals, lest the latchet of any one of them should fail and should be found to hinder him doing his duty.’

Barclay, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It may well be that here we have a miracle of diagnosis; that Jesus with those keen eyes of his saw that the lad was in a cataleptic trance and saved him from being buried alive, as so many were in Palestine. It does not matter; the fact remains that Jesus claimed for life a lad who had been marked for death. Jesus is not only the Lord of life; he is the Lord of death who himself triumphed over the grave and who has promised that, because he lives, we shall live also. John 14:19.’

Jesus simply told the young dead boy to ‘get up’, Mark 5:41 / John 11:43 / Acts 9:40, and the dead boy obeyed the command, Matthew 11:5. The miracle happened immediately as the young man sat up and began to speak.

We can only imagine the joy that was going through the mind of the young man’s mother as Jesus gave him back to her, Isaiah 63:9. Jesus has authority over sickness and it’s clear that has authority over death too, John 11:25-26.

All those who witnessed the miracle were filled with awe and simply praised God. There was no doubt in their minds that God was behind the miracle.

Jesus was indeed a prophet, but He was The prophet whom God spoke about to Moses, Deuteronomy 18:15. There was no doubt in their minds that God Himself had come to help His people.

After this miracle of raising this young man back to life, news about Jesus and what He did spread like wildfire, throughout Judea and the surrounding country, Matthew 3:5.