Jesus Plus Nothing Bible Studies
Jesus Encounters: The widow's son and the future resurrection

by I Gordon
 

Luke chapter 7 records an encounter Jesus had with a widow that had just experienced a second great loss. This woman had first lost her husband but then lost her only son. It is a very dramatic scene. Jesus came into the town of Nain right at the time when the coffin of the dead man was being carried out of the town. But, as we shall see, with Jesus even death is not the end! Now each resurrection story in the Bible teaches something about the future resurrection. So in this short (argh, very short) study I just want to explore this thought. I want to look at this story from Luke's gospel and see what it can teach about the coming resurrection of believers. Here is the passage:

Luke 7:11-17 Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd. (12) Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. (13) When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep." (14) And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!" (15) The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother. (16) Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and, "God has visited His people!" (17) This report concerning Him went out all over Judea and in all the surrounding district.

Something beautiful will happen

Luke 7:11 Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd.

The story starts as Jesus comes into the city of Nain. The word Nain means 'beauty' or 'pleasant'. Not many would have thought of it as 'beautiful' or 'pleasant' at this exact time however because a funeral is underway. The only son of a widow has died and this pleasant place has been filled with unbelievable grief and sadness. In many ways, this scene pictures this world. It was created in beauty by the hand of God. It was a pleasant place ideally suited for mankind. But sin has turned the experience towards grief and sadness in many circumstances. However, Jesus has a plan! He had a plan for this widow to turn this moment of grief to rejoicing and He has a plan for this world to restore its beauty. 

No more crying...

Luke 7:12-13 Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. (13) When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep."

On the surface, it looks like Jesus has arrived too late. If He had been there earlier, maybe the man wouldn't have died? Of course, that is taking a mere human look at this scene for Jesus knew what He was going to do and arrived exactly when He wanted to! But though He knew what He would do, He was still touched by the loss of this woman. He 'felt compassion' for her. But let's look at the command given by Jesus to the widow and the crowd - "Do not weep". What would that mean for us? This reminds us of the resurrection of believers to come where there will be no more tears, no more crying. Here are a couple of the great promises for those that believers in Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 65:18-20 "But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness. (19) "I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. (20) "No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed.

All it takes is one command...

Luke 7:14 And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!"

When Jesus saw the man that had died in his coffin, He spoke to him saying 'young man, I say to you arise!' This command was given to one man and he had to respond. In the future resurrection the command will be given to all believers and all will respond! The one who holds the keys of death and hell will command all to come forth from the grave.

John 5:24-29 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (25) "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. ...(28) "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, (29) and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Reserved? You won't be!

Luke 7:15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

There are two important points in this short verse that point to what is to come.

Firstly, we will speak! We don’t know what this young man said but I have a sneaky suspicion that he was praising Jesus! On the day that believers are resurrected, we will praise God. We will not be restricted like we can be now but will be unreserved in our praise of our Savior!

The second point to note is the message of reconciliation – The mother received back her son. Imagine all the young ones that have died, either in childbirth or as young children who will then be restored. So many families torn apart due to death. The resurrection will be the ultimate reconciliation where the loved ones are brought back together again. But more than that – it will be the ultimate reconciliation between God and His children! Sin brought such a terrible separation. Death entered because of sin. Those that believe in Jesus Christ have been reconciled back to God but we await the return of Jesus before we see Him face to face with the entire family of God together!

Salvation fully realised!

Luke 7:16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people."

We need to remember that there was a large crowd that was going along with this funeral and they were all previously filled with grief and sadness. But what started in grief, ended with glory. Hearts that had been pierced were now filled with praise! Anguish was replaced with awe. So it will with all believers. The grief of this life will be replaced with glorifying God. We will praise like we have never done so before. God will certainly help His people.

1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (7) These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (8) Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, (9) for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.