It was in this village that a widow was about to bury her only son. Lately it seems that all we hear about in the news is children losing their lives leaving grieving parents behind. This woman had lost her husband and now she had lost her son. She was followed by a large crowd as the funeral procession went through the gate, carrying the body of her son.
Jesus looked at the grieving mother and compassion filled Him. He said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother (Luke 7:14, 15). Joy filled the heart of a mother who only moments ago was almost doubled over in her grief. Jesus had turned tears of sorrow into tears of joy.
The resurrection of the young man in Nain is a foretaste of what we can expect when Jesus returns. He will call out and our dead loved ones will rise from their graves and come out.
When the people saw what Jesus had done fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”
Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). Those who die in Christ or die believing in Him will be a part of the first resurrection. They will be raised to everlasting life and reunited with their loved ones.
Jesus touched the open coffin. He did not just say to the young man, “I say to you, young man, rise.” Apparently touching the coffin, having physical contact with death made a person unclean according to the law. Jesus risked ritual uncleanness. But Jesus put compassion and mercy above the law and its rituals. He saw a mother grieving, was filled with compassion and He restored her son to her. This was the first of the three instances where Jesus raised someone from the dead–Jairus’s daughter and Lazarus.
Jesus the Giver of life, restored life to the dead. What a shock it must have been for the widow. One moment she was looking at the lifeless body of her son as it lay in the coffin and the next he was sitting up.
This story is an illustration of salvation. Just as Jesus looked upon the widow and had compassion for her so He restored her son’s life, God looked upon this world dead in its sins and had compassion on us so He sent His Son Jesus to save us–to restore us to back to life. The young man did not earn this second chance at life any more than we earn a new life in Christ. Both are given by the grace of God.
Jesus raised the widow’s son for another reason. Without any one to support her she would have become penniless and have to beg for food. In the Bible God was always protective of the widows. Here we see Jesus making sure that this woman would not have to struggle to survive. The Lord is our Savior and our Provider.