The Widow of Nain


TEXT: LUKE 7:11-17

Julie Herrera-Maxwell
A person who has lost a close relative or friend could only really understand the pain and the void that one feels when that special someone departs. Meanwhile, the rest of us feel inadequate in what to say, because deep down we know that there are no words of comfort that would help them with their loss. In my country, when a person dies, the immediate family lines up outside of the church at the end of the service and all of the people who were kind enough to attend the funeral service give their condolences to the family.

So there I was, at 23 years old, in that line along with my father and brother, when my mother had passed away.  All of my mother’s friends and relatives were giving us words of consolation until a lady came to me and gave me a hug and then she said whispered in my ear “congratulations.” At that moment it really didn’t mean anything to me -- my mind was so far away, thinking about how I was going to continue life without my mother. Did I judge the lady? Of course no. She was like most of us, just feeling inadequate and nervous.

The woman in this story was burying her only son; and she was a widow.  Surely she was in such pain that what surrounded her at that moment did not have any importance. Perhaps in her mind she was asking herself what was going to happen with her now, saying “It should have been me . . . I should have died . . . There is no hope for me now . . . How will I go on?” In these times, widows that had no family were considered the poorest of the poor.

But Jesus was coming into her city and when he saw the funeral procession, he went to her and said “don’t cry anymore.” He then went to the people who were carrying her dead son and spoke to the young man and raised him from the dead. Can you imagine that happening right in front of you? She never even asked Jesus for a miracle, but Jesus knew what was going on; the same way He knows what is going on in your life this very moment. Perhaps you are going though a very difficult time and think that there is no more hope; but I want to remind you that Jesus is aware of your problem -- nothing is hidden from him. Jesus sees you and can bring new life. So today I will say to you, “don’t cry anymore.”

Suzy Silk
Unlike many of the other interactions recorded in the book of Luke, this woman makes no move towards Jesus – she doesn’t find him, come to him, or ask him for help. She is silent. If anything, she seems to be completely unaware of his presence. Jesus has walked to the town of Nain with a huge crowd following Him, and this woman is exiting the town, surrounded by throngs of mourners, heading to burying her son. She didn’t know Jesus was coming to her town, and she didn’t seek Him out for help. And yet, Jesus knows her – her story, her pain, her need. He sees her, even when she cannot see Him. He answers her deepest needs, when she can’t even muster the strength to ask for help. She may not have even known who Jesus was or believed He could save her son; and Jesus helped her anyways.

Our God is a compassionate God, who knows our needs before we ask. When we don’t know what to pray for, “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom 8:26-27). Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to ask God for what we need and to believe that He will answer and provide for us. Thankfully, even when we can’t ask, the Spirit still asks for us. When we are broken down and in despair, the Lord has compassion on us. When we can’t see God in the midst of our pain, when we aren’t even aware of His presence or feel that He is far away, Jesus is walking our way bring the hope only He can bring.