A Widow’s Son Raised From The Dead
Luke 7:11-17 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. 18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.
I. Jesus came into the city of Nain, which is a non-descript city of Galilee, located approximately 60 miles north of Jerusalem, and 22 miles south east of Capernaum, and 25 miles due west from the Mediterranean Sea.
A. The city is mentioned only one time in the entire Bible.
1. There are some places in this world that are never mentioned in the Bible.
2. That doesn’t mean the word of Christ does not come there.
3. The word goes to many places and to many people we do not know about.
B. Regardless of where you live, even in the smallest, most remote place, Christ knows where you are, and comes to give all the benefit of his blessings.
1. It is a real blessing to know that Christ cares for insignificant people, whose name is never mentioned in the Bible.
a. Modern evangelicals and missionary movements today desire to do much of their work in big cities, where they can easily reach the masses.
b. Christ preached to the masses, but also delivered his eternal word to individuals.
c. Not just individuals, but to insignificant individuals.
2. John 4:4 states, And he must needs go through Samaria, because there was an insignificant immoral woman who needed his eternal gospel to salvation.
II. Notice who came with Jesus.
A. Jesus came first of all, leading the others.
B. Many of the disciples of Christ went with Christ. I believe these disciples are followers of Christ, probably members of the church he has recently called out to follow him. The church is formed at this point, as Christ has already called them out to follow him, making them fishers of men, and Christ has already added the apostles to the church as described in Luke 6:12-19.
C. It should be noted that the early church followed Christ, as well as many who were not church members. Luke 7:11 also mentions visitors …much people.
D. Luke 6:17 describes three distinct groups of followers:
1. And he came down with them… (the recently chosen apostles).
2. …and the company of his disciples… churches members who continue to follow Christ.
3. …and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem… these are visitors to the church services. It should be noted that among these visitors are people with unclean spirits and many that desire to be healed of various diseases.
E. Not all church members traveled with Christ at all times.
1. This would be very impractical as some church members must stay home and take care of jobs, family affairs, so forth.
2. There were some church members who did follow Christ every day, as is revealed in Acts 1:21 where the requirement for the apostle to replace Judas is to …have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us.
3. I believe the apostles chosen by Christ in Luke 6 followed Christ everywhere he went, as is indicated in Acts 1:21.
III. Verse 13 – the Lord had compassion on her, not him.
A. The widow – Christ here has compassion on the living, not on the dead.
1. When a person dies, their eternal fate is sealed, and cannot be changed.
a. The mercy of God will not be wasted on those that have removed themselves from God’s eternal help.
b. Our mercy should also not be wasted on those that have died, but our mercy should be concentrated on those left behind.
2. The widow woman was left alone to take care of herself.
a. Here is an insignificant widow woman who has suffered the loss of her husband, and now the loss of her only son.
b. It is not recorded if she had daughters.
3. Someone might remark at the injustice of God in thus dealing with this widow.
a. There is no injustice with God, but there is much injustice in this world.
b. There are many bad things that happen to good people, but God cannot be blamed for those bad things.
c. Sin has caused many bad things to occur.
4. It would be the responsibility of the son to take care of his mother, as Christ took care of his mother when he died, “adopting” her to John when he said, …Behold, thy mother… John 19:27.
B. The young man – There is good indication the man is saved and is in heaven, therefore Christ did not have compassion on him, as he was already comforted.
1. The man would be able to give a good testimony of eternity, if people would believe him.
2. Father Abraham told the rich man none would believe even if one rose from the dead.
a. Jesus raising this man from the dead does not contradict Abraham’s statement.
b. There is no record of anybody being saved or believing in Christ because of the testimony of the man who was risen from the dead.
c. There is no record of anybody believing because of the testimony of Lazarus after he was risen from the dead.
3. John 12:9-11 compares the two reactions to the resurrection of Lazarus.
a. Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; 11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.
b. Some rejoiced at the resurrection of Lazarus, while the chief priest determined they would kill him again!
IV. Notice the ineffectual love of the townspeople for the widow woman.
A. They follower her as she wept for her only son, but they could do no more to help her with her grief and sorrow of heart.
1. They have gone as far as they can go.
2. Like them, we can only go so far in helping others, even though we greatly desire to carry their sorrows.
B. The love of Christ is very effectual, as he not only has compassion on the widow man, but can do something about it.
1. He tells her to weep not.
2. We might tell grieving people to weep not, but we cannot remove their sorrow, or give them hope, joy and peace in their troubled circumstances.
C. God can change circumstances, but we cannot.
V. The woman had done nothing to gain the compassion of the Lord.
A. There is no record she asked him to do anything, or that she even knew who Jesus was.
1. Jesus volunteered his help, which she readily accepted.
2. There is absolutely nothing anybody can do to merit the grace or compassion of Christ.
3. Christ always approaches us before we approach him.
4. All gladly accept God’s eternal mercies toward us when the Holy Spirit of God deals with us in love.
B. The widow woman made no suggestion as to what she wanted, but Christ knew.
1. It is not wrong to know what we need and ask God to provide it, but it is always good to accept whatever God gives to us, because he always knows best, and gives us the best, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
2. Lost sinners have done nothing to gain the compassion of the Lord.
C. There is nothing special about any of us, but we are all complete hell-bound sinners in the eyes of the Lord.
1. Psalms 14:1-3 states, The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. 2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
2. It is by the grace of God that we come to see ourselves as sinners, recognize our sins before a most holy and mighty God, and receive the free gift of his eternal salvation.
D. There is nothing about us after we are saved, that we might partake of the blessings of God.
1. In John 9:51-56, Christ declared to James and John that they did not know the spirit they were of when they wanted to know if Christ wanted them to call down fire from heaven to destroy some of the Samaritans.
2. In Matthew 16:23, Christ said to Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
a. It is by God’s eternal grace upon us that we have anything at all.
b. None of these things we deserve, earn, or can keep by our own strength.
c. God freely gives us eternal life, and all the promises and blessings that go with it.
VI. Christ came to the bier, which was being carried by others.
A. The bier is like a couch or platform the dead are carried on.
1. I don’t think it is like a coffin with a hinged top, but it could have been.
2. I understand that sometimes the top was carried in front of the funeral possession, and was placed on the open coffin at the burial place, where the dead was sealed in.
B. Those that carried the bier stood still when Jesus touch the bier.
1. It is apparent they saw the great number of people coming with Christ.
2. Whether these believed Christ would do something, or whether they knew who he was is not known.
a. Perhaps they stopped when they saw Christ coming to the widow and heard her comforting her.
b. Perhaps they stopped when Christ approached the bier because they thought Christ knew the man and was paying his last respects.
3. Christ did not become “unclean” when he touched the bier.
a. Apparently, Christ did not touch dead body, but touched the frame upon which the dead body was being carried.
b. Christ also did not touch Lazarus’ dead body, but spoke the word only.
C. The man was raised from the dead only when Christ spoke to him.
1. The man was not healed when Christ had compassion on the widow, or when he spoke to his mother, or when he touched the bier.
2. Dead ears cannot hear.
a. The dead man cannot physically hear the command of Christ, because his ears do not work.
b. All the ingredients of life are present in the body, but they do not work, because there is no life in the body.
3. Ephesians 2:1-3 states, And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
a. Elijah preached to dead, dry bones, and they received life by the power of God, Ezekiel 37:1-6.
b. So it is with sinners today.
c. They must hear the word of God, but they do not hear by their own strength, because they are dead.
d. They hear by the power of God.
4. Romans 10:17 states, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
a. Why doesn’t this verse say, So then faith cometh by hearing the word of God?
b. Because that statement is not true.
c. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the word of God – which is Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God.
d. Faith is a gift from God, which is given only to individual sinners.
D. Christ spoke to the young man, but didn’t call him by name.
1. John 11:43 states, And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
a. If Jesus had said, “Come forth”, all the dead would have come forth, but the command was directed to only one dead person, Lazarus.
b. God clearly gave the dead ears of Lazarus the ability to hear.
2. When Christ spoke to the dead young man, he directed his words to only one person and that person came to life.
a. When Christ calls a sinner to come to him, he calls that individual sinner.
b. Christ may call many sinners, but he calls them all individually.
VII. It is very likely the raising of the man from the dead was the last thing anybody expected.
A. In our minds we often develop thoughts of what we want Christ to do for us, but we must understand that what he does is often much greater than anything we can ever ask or think.
1. Ephesians 3:20 states, Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
B. The young man sat up, an expression of life.
1. Those viewing the scene both saw and heard of the power of God.
a. In the negative.
1.) Matthew 13:10-17 – Notice the many times Christ speaks of hearing and seeing.
2.) Matthew 13:13 states, Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
b. In the positive.
1.) Acts 2:33 - Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
2.) Acts 19:26 - Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:
c. People around us ought to both see and hear from us what Christ has done for us.
2. He spoke, but it is not recorded what he said.
a. I wonder what he said, and I wonder what those said that stood by.
b. I wonder what the mother said when she saw her son sit up.
c. There is no record of any of this, as it is not important.
C. Christ delivered the young man to his mother, not his wife, as the young man was apparently not married, and had no children.
1. Christ did not expect the young man to follow him, but expected him to remain with his mother.
a. A person does not have to travel with Christ in order to be a witness of Christ.
b. Each person needs to do what Christ tells them to do in order to be witness of Christ.
2. Every time the mother saw her resurrected son, she would be reminded of her grief and how Christ gave his mercy and grace to her in resurrecting her son to life.
a. The young man was not a “trophy” to travel with Christ to be shown off as a triumph.
b. I think of a wicked sinner, after he gave exceedingly wonderful testimony of salvation, a false preacher got hold of him, and would not allow me to see him, but wanted to display him as a trophy. It didn’t work.
3. I don’t know how old the man was.
D. Note the influence of this miracle.
1. There was a great fear that came upon the people.
a. Nobody expected the young man to sit up and speak.
b. That act and voice would be enough to shock everybody.
2. God was glorified.
a. Verse 16 – They declared the visitation of God in their midst.
b. This is the purpose of miracles – that people would know God is in their midst.
c. In particular, John the Baptist heard of these things.
3. They told others, which is as it should be.
a. Christ did not tell them not to tell who he was.
b. This is not a contradiction where Christ gave instructions to not tell who he was.
c. Christ has particular reasons for all the commands he gives, and we are to follow those commands, even if we do not understand.
VIII. There was no disagreement concerning this miracle, probably because the Bible doesn’t mention any Pharisees being present.