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. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country. Luke 7:11-17 ESV
For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not afflict from his heart
or grieve the children of men. Lamentations 3:31-33 ESV
Many years ago an English woman named Amy Beechey had eight sons. These sons were young men when World War I broke out, and all eight of them went off to fight. As the war continued, five of these sons died, and one by one Mrs. Beechey, whose husband was already dead, received word that another son had died in the war. This mother’s grief was overwhelming as she lost one son after the other. One son, named Eric, came home safely in 1919, but then he came down with influenza and after that, pneumonia. He was very sick and almost died, but imagine the happiness of Mrs. Beechey when Eric didn’t die, but instead recovered. She must have felt as if at least one son had come back to her from death.
Jesus met a mother who had suffered terrible losses as well. She also was a widow, but she had only one son. In those days a son was very important to his mother, because he would take care of her after his father died and make sure she had everything she needed. When her son died, this mother had no one to be with her and take care of her. Jesus met the mother when her son’s dead body was being carried out of the town of Nain. He saw her crying, and he felt a deep compassion for her sorrow. He told her not to cry, and he touched the frame that was carrying her son’s body. The people carrying the body stopped, and Jesus told the young man to get up. He sat up and started talking, alive and well again! Jesus gave the son back to his mother to continue his important work of loving and caring for her. The people of the town praised God for the wonderful thing they had seen him do in Jesus.
The deep compassion Jesus felt for the widow of Nain is the same compassion he feels for us when we are hurting. He especially feels our sorrow when we lose someone we love to death. Jesus went through death himself, and when he did that he conquered death. He proved it by rising from the dead on the first Easter Sunday. Everyone who believes in Jesus will come to life again on the last day, and we will all live together with Jesus forever in his heavenly kingdom. Now we can come to Jesus with all our sorrows, and know that he will comfort and bless us. Jesus shows us the compassion of God, and through him we know we have a loving Heavenly Father who cares about us, forgives us, and loves us always.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the love and care you show us in life and in death and forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.