It was a very dark day for one momma.
Her only son was dead. She had already buried his daddy. Her heart was broken. Her family was gone. She was destitute.
Luke tells the story this way,
Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her.
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother (Luke 7:13–15).
If you raced through that passage, (we've all become speed readers haven't we?) would you mind going back and reading it again? Place yourself in the story. What jumps off the page at you?
Jesus defines compassion as love in action.
I recently found myself parked on this story for several days while preparing to teach "Beautiful Encounters," a radio series launching on Revive Our Hearts today. As a mother of sons, I can't fathom attending one of their funerals, especially as a widow. This momma's desperation seemed to leak out of my Bible and into my heart as I read.
But so did this little gem . . .
"And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother."
Jesus gave him to his mother.
He didn't have to. He could have commanded him to walk. After all, that's what he did for Lazarus. Instead, he gives the boy back to his momma. Because in that huge crowd of people, she was the one who needed him most.
When the widow of Nain encountered Jesus she really had a collision with compassion. When we look at her story, we can see that Jesus defines compassion as love in action.
She's not the only one, you know?
Psalm 56:8 says, "You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?"
God sees our tears and is moved with compassion by our pain. I love the image that He collects them all in a bottle.
Revelation 21:4 says, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
Maybe He is collecting all of our tears in a bottle so that one day we can watch Him dump that bottle out? In any case, he sees our pain, and He has a plan to set things right.
That's why I'm thrilled to have the chance to tell the story of the widow of Nain. Because it's really a story about a compassionate Savior.
Just like . . .
- Anna's story is really an encounter with Divinity.
- The story of the adulterous woman is really a run-in with Grace.
- Mary and Martha's story is really about true friendship.
- The Samaritan woman's story is a chance to sip Living Water.
- The story of Jarius' daughter is about power.
- And Mary Magdalene's story changes everything.
These are the stories I'll be telling all week on the broadcast. I hope you'll make plans to listen in and have an encounter of your own with Jesus, the God who loves to put His love in action toward you!
I'd love for you to listen in. Leave me a comment below telling me how you'll catch the series (local Christian radio, podcast, online). I'll choose five of you to win a free copy of the Bible study version so that you can dig into these stories on your own.
Praying you have an encounter with Jesus of your own along the way!