In Luke 7:11-17 we read the dramatic story of the woman whose life was so radically changed by the love and compassion of Jesus.
Jesus was with His disciples in the village of Nairn. As they were coming into the village there was a funeral cortege coming out of the city gate towards the burial grounds. In the coffin was the corpse of a young man who was his mother’s only son. The woman was accompanied by a large crowd of mourners.
You may wonder as to the significance of the woman being a widow and the fact she was going to bury her only son. Those who are familiar with near Eastern customs and indeed in many traditional societies in our world today will immediately recognise the import of this particular factual detail. In those times, women were particularly vulnerable to the whims and caprices of the men folk, especially when the husband has died. It was not unusual for landed property and other assets belonging to the women’s husband to be seized by his relatives, and the woman subjected to many other forms of abuse, exploitation and oppression, and in extreme cases either driven away from her late husband’s home or killed. Widows were even more vulnerable if they did not have male children, who were in effect the personal protection plan and the pension plan of the women.
For this widow that Jesus met, there was the immediate pain of losing a husband, but much more significant were the consequences of the loss of a husband and a son. As we read through the narrative, we find that Jesus stopped the cortege, comforted the woman by telling her not to cry, and then approached the coffin. He touched it and the pallbearers stopped. He spoke directly and said, ‘Young man, get up.’ The young man sat up and began talking to his mother. There was an explosion of joy. However, fear also swept through the crowd. They said, ‘There is a prophet amongst us, God has visited His people today.’ This incident led to the spread of news about Jesus throughout Judea and in the surrounding countryside.
This great miracle that Jesus performed speaks to us at so many levels. First, it tells us that Jesus is concerned about issues of social justice. He cares about the powerless, vulnerable and oppressed in our world. It further tells us that Jesus is an activist-interventionist. Not through acts of violence but through truly transformational acts of love and mercy. Jesus turns moments of overwhelming grief into seasons of inexpressibly joy; from the pit of utter despondency to heights of celebration.
I don’t know where you are, what forms of pain and grief or indeed injustice you are facing. One thing I do know is that you can turn to Jesus, and when you do so in prayer, He will surely answer you and reach you with His love.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2013©
If you have read this article and you are not a Christian, I would like to invite you to receive Christ as Saviour and Lord in your life by praying this simple prayer:
‘God in heaven, I acknowledge that I am sinner and deserve to be punished for all the wrongs I have done. I am truly sorry. Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to this world. I believe He lived, died and rose again for my sins. I repent of all past sins and ask you to forgive me because Jesus. I confess and ask Jesus to come into my life and be my Saviour and Lord. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to obey you and lead me to follow you all the days of my life. Thank you God for giving me eternal life through your Son Jesus. Amen!’