The Widow and Her Son

Why did Jesus heal the widow’s son so openly?

In my last post, you may remember, I wrote about one of the four resurrections that are mentioned in the New Testament – the incredible raising of Tabitha (aka Dorcas) by Peter. I was planning to have a look at the raising of Jairus’s daughter for this post, but something interesting caught my attention; the raising of the widow’s son at Nain and how shockingly open and conspicuous it is compared with Jairus’s daughter.

Remember when Jesus went into Jairus’s house to heal his daughter (Mark 5: 21-43) he took with him only Peter, James and John. Everyone else, bar her parents, is told to leave. There are therefore only five witnesses to this incredible miracle and furthermore Jesus is adamant that her parents tell no-one about what has happened.

Now contrast this rather ‘undercover operation’ to the raising of the widow’s son (Click here for Luke 7:11-17). Only Luke tells us about this amazing incident and it is so blatant as to be quite shocking. Jesus interrupts what seems to be an actual funeral procession with a large crowd of people in attendance. The son, who is a young man, not a boy, is being carried out – presumably to be buried.

This miracle appears to be a sort of spontaneous action on Jesus’s part – he feels compassion for the widow – this was her only son – and without hesitation performs a miracle and restores her son to life. The young man literally sits up from his coffin (a bier being the stand on which a coffin or dead body is placed) and begins to speak as if he had just woken from a nap. The response from the crowd is as you would expect: absolute terror and awe.

This makes me wonder – did this miracle happen quite some time before the raising of Jairus’s daughter? Did Jesus realise the effect on everyone was too much and too soon and so resolve to be more guarded in future? I’d be interested in your thoughts.

When we mere mortals get the tiniest glimpse of the true power and might of God it is truly overwhelming, isn’t it? We begin to realise how tiny and insignificant we really are – how reliant on Him for everything we have. We like to think we are so mighty and so independent and yet the very air we breathe is all of Him!

Remember when Jesus stilled the storm? The disciples reacted in very much the same way, didn’t they – fear overcame them and they secretly wondered if they actually did know who this person was in the boat with them at all – in that moment Jesus suddenly became, no longer their dear friend who ate and drank with them, but something ‘other’ – alien and terrifying.

What really is incredible though is how quickly everyone forgets! A year or so later the people were crying out for Jesus’s death – which proves once again that no amount of ‘miracles’ will ever be enough for people to believe.

But let’s end on a positive note and remind ourselves of the two people who were the recipients of this incredible miracle – whose lives would never be the same again after Jesus came into their lives so briefly and so dramatically – the widow and her son.  The widow had received back what she thought she had lost forever – her beloved only son – and he had received the gift of life. We can only imagine how they would have continued living from then on – but I bet each and every day was more precious than ever, wasn’t it? And they would never take each other for granted again!

4 thoughts on “The Widow and Her Son

  1. A very interesting story Dom. What you said sounds right, it was a spontaneous reaction. Jesus saw this situation and felt the the mother’s anguish and his actions caused the people to to react in shock, horror and fear at what they had witnessed. They went from a mournful state to one of a mixture of emotions. Because it happened in front of a large crowd Jesus might have realized that it was probably too much too soon, the minds of the many couldn’t take in what was being presented to them. Up until this point Christ was doing signs in a rather low key kind of way, slightly under the radar.
    A very thought provoking blog Dom.

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    1. Yes, I was picturing what it would be like if pallbearers were coming down the street where I live and walking towards the church for a funeral, and then suddenly someone came over ‘out of the blue’ as it were, and the dead person sat up! No wonder they felt sick with fear. When Jesus heals Jairus’s daughter he is asked to do so – but here, he is not asked – he is overcome with compassion. There is nothing written about the widow having faith or believing, it is simply the fact that Jesus’ heart goes out to her.

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  2. Maybe if people only thought of Jesus as resurrecting his central themes would have been overlooked and his beautiful words losing some of their meaning. This also shows the sheer compassion of the Saviour. Excellent blog Dom.

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