- Jesus: The Series (Season 6)
- No comments
Devotion by Mary Elizabeth Baxter
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 7:11-15).
It was the day after Jesus had been working a wondrous miracle in the healing of the Centurion’s servant. Full of blessing, full of life, full of salvation, full of healing, He went His way, and wherever He went, something happened to mark that One who was more than an ordinary man was walking through the cities and villages of Palestine.
He went into a city called Nain, which signifies “beautiful,” “and many of His disciples went with Him, and much people.” But His first sight in the beautiful city was one of sorrow and death. Probably if we looked down upon some of the most beautiful portions of this earth with the eyes of Jesus, we should see death where others see beauty, sorrow where others see joy, because our eyes would be opened as His are, to see sin and all its consequences.
“Now when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.” Few words there are in this description, but, O, how much they meant! The mother’s house was now empty; she had lived for this son; the mother’s dependence was now gone; she had hoped all from this son; the work of years was apparently useless. To what purpose had she brought up this boy? The expense, the trouble, the tears, the prayers, over his education; were they then given for nothing? Life had no more attraction for her. It was a blank that she looked forward to. The past said: “A dead husband,” the present said: “A dead son,” the future said: “An empty struggle for a useless life.”
Poor, broken‐hearted widow! Look up; there is a God who is the God of the widow (Psalm 68:5), and He never forgets His charge. There is not a widow on the face of the earth about whom God is ignorant or indifferent. “Let thy widows trust in Me,” He says. (Jeremiah 49:11.) The widows were to be cared for in the land at harvest time. (Deuteronomy 24:19.) The widow’s raiment must not be taken to pledge. (Deuteronomy 24:17.) “He relieveth the fatherless and widow.” (Psalm 146:9.) “He will establish the border of the widow” (Proverbs 15:25.) He will “plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17), etc. We have yet to find a really faithful, obedient, trustful, Christian widow for whom God has not cared.
“Much people of the city was with her.” But all the multitude could not restore her dead son or make her other than a desolate widow. They could express sympathy, but it could only remind her of her loss. She needed a sympathy which would take her out of her sorrow, not remind her of it. Human sympathy draws down to earth, God’s sympathy lifts up to heaven.
“And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, “WEEP NOT.”
It would be a heartless exhortation and a powerless one from the lips of man. Why should she not weep? How could she but weep when all her hopes were crushed? But it was the command of a Mighty One, of Him who had the key to the situation; of Him who has power to wipe tears from off all eyes, and take away the rebuke of His people from the face of all the earth. (Isaiah 25:8.) And just now it was with authority, and not with human sentimentality, that Jesus spoke.
He came and touched the bier; and they that bare him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.”
Let Jesus come into a desolate widowhood, and the widow has more than she has lost; the emptiness is more than filled when Jesus Christ fills the heart, the life, the thoughts, the hands of a widow; He can reverse anything which happens, He is mightier than death itself, for He is “the Resurrection and the Life.” (John 11:25.)
There must have been a thrill passing through the multitude, as for a moment they stopped their wailing and their weeping at the sound of this unexpected command. How every eye must have turned to the bier! And when they saw him that was dead sit up, and when they heard him begin to speak,-surely the multitude must have known that it was a Master hand which touched the dead. The young man lived! There was on earth One who was stronger than death. But there was one above all the rest to whom that which had occurred was more than a mere novelty, a wondrous sight. It was an empty life refilled; it was a lost occupation restored, and Jesus Christ had done it. The widow had her work again. Jesus “delivered him to his mother.”
But there are widow’s houses where an only son has been carried out lifeless, where the rooms remain desolate and the loved one is removed, and yet Jesus Himself so fills the place of the one who is gone that He satisfies and fills the bereaved heart with eternal rest and satisfaction in Himself. When He says: “Weep not,” it is never a mockery or a mere sentiment; it is a command which conveys the power to obey; it is a creative word, and blessed is the widow who has found in Jesus the object and fulness of her desolated life.