And as [Jesus] drew near to the gate of the town [of Nain], behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow…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 7:12-15
As she walked behind the funeral bier of her only son, the widow of Nain knew that she would have a hard life ahead of her. Widowed, she relied entirely on her son’s ability to provide for her. Widows at this time were often left destitute, not having the same opportunities for making a living that men did, so they had to rely on family to keep them in house and home. But now with him gone, she would live in social isolation with no means of support. She would be devastated financially. The death of her son meant almost certain isolation, poverty, and death for her as well.
But then, on the way out of the city to bury her son, the funeral procession stopped. A man leading a train of disciples came to her and said, “Do not weep.” Then He touched the funeral bier—unthinkable in her culture, because touching a dead body meant becoming unclean—and He did the strangest thing: He spoke to the corpse. “Young man, I say to you, arise.” This stranger was addressing her dead son. But then, miracle of miracles, her son sat up, resurrected, and began talking. The mysterious and powerful stranger, Jesus of Nazareth, has raised her son from the dead. And in raising her son, Jesus also restored her to fellowship, to a secure future, to daily bread, and to life.
The Lord still does the same for us. Very often, especially in recent times, we may find ourselves feeling like the widow of Nain: isolated, cut off, worried about what the future may hold, afraid even for our lives or the lives of our loved ones. But Jesus has an answer to all of that. He comes to us and He says, “Do not weep. Do not be afraid.” He places His hands on our heads, unclean though we may be, and He forgives our sins. He offers the ultimate antidote to all our troubles with His own resurrection—which He promises us will lead to our resurrection as well. His eternal life becomes ours.
So now we know that no matter what the world throws at us, Jesus’ resurrection is the answer to it all. He speaks to us, “Your sins are forgiven. You will live forever,” and that never-ending life is promised to us by the One who really can raise the dead and cure every disease. So in His resurrection, in the promise of our own eternal life, we find faith, hope, peace, joy, life, and hope—all that we need in this life and the next.
Lord Jesus, You have given life to all through Your sacrifice on the cross and Your resurrection from the dead. Give us confidence and faith that what You have won is truly given to us through Your Word and promise. In Your name we pray, Amen