Raising the Widow’s Son in Nain
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Lord has written, “Jesus presented the resurrected man to His mother.” Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Creator Father, whom Jesus presents us to You as Your children, visit us this morning by granting us Your Holy Spirit and granting us the faith of Your Son; in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Funeral processions have the right of way. Family and friends drive in procession to the cemetery to bury a loved one. Oncoming traffic pulls off to the side of the road....and waits. It is a sign of respect.
Just this year, Irene Meyer and Lillian Graf, such blessed memories of them, received this respect. I rode with them to the cemetery. Traffic stopped. Their graves were sanctified with the living Word of God. They now rest until the Day of Resurrection. Thanks be to God.
Jesus has something to say about funeral processions, whether Irene’s or Lillian’s or the many loved ones with whom you processed to the cemetery for the committal service.
The boy from Nain is being processed to the cemetery. His widowed mother is in that procession as well as family and friends and half the town of Nain. It is a procession of death.
But there is another procession.
Jesus and many of His disciples are processing toward Nain. It is written that in Jesus is Life and the Life is the Light of men. Jesus is the Light that entered into this darkened word and the darkness does not overcome the Light. Jesus is leading the procession of Life.
A procession of death meets the procession of Life. They both stop.
Notice here the kindness and generosity Jesus show this widow.
This widow has not done anything to deserve such kindness or generosity.
This widow has no reason to expect she will go home with her son after the funeral so she didn’t even ask for it.
This widow does not know who Jesus Christ is other than one of those people who pulls over for a funeral procession and then goes about their own life.
This widow didn’t prepare to meet Jesus. She is leaving the city for the cemetery to bury her son as she did not long ago to bury her husband.
Jesus Christ shows kindness and generosity out of sympathy toward her. Jesus remains the God of grace.
No one believe that Jesus is kind and generous. This fallen world is blind. And as you know, even today some keep driving passed a funeral procession or speed through an intersection to avoid a funeral procession. No one believes that Jesus is kind and generous.
Why? Because the devil is the god of this world (small “g” god). The devil has great power on earth so that we do not see the work of God or recognize Him to be kind and generous. As the Lord has written in 2 Corinthians 4:4, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Therefore we do not appreciate neither the Lord’s kindness nor His generosity. We misuse His mercies. We are unthankful for the good things He does for us.
This is our repentance for this morning.
Think of our living bodies for we are not dead yet.
Irene, of blessed memory, appreciated her body before it became weakened and painful but appreciated her body all the more after her loss. And she gave thanks to God.
Lillian, also of blessed memory, appreciated her eyes before her sight ebbed away, along with her hearing, but appreciated them all the more after she lost them. And she gave thanks to God.
At times, God permits some of us to fall into anxiety and need to the point that it seems like creation has no God (big “G” god). In seems like a cold world when blindness, paralysis, or death touch us such as the widow’s son. For we are all creatures of the Creator. And God can do with us, His creation, as He wills. This is true.
But again, why? Why does our Creator God touch us with such curses?
Our Creator Father does it in such abundance - ONLY - that we may continually experience His kindness and generosity. That we may fear nothing but losing Him. That we who like the widow deserve nothing good, who do not expect anything good so we don’t ask or pray for His kindness or generosity, who don’t know the Lord’s in His kindness and generosity like we should, and don’t prepare to meet Jesus in the midst of misfortune, yet His is still good to us.
There was another mini collision of death and life recorded in John chapter 9. It is written:
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
What a blessing! Jesus healed the blind man and Jesus has already touched your coffin because you are baptized and continue to believe in Jesus. Jesus is still in the world. Let us who are unable to recognize Jesus’ kindness and generosity in our good fortune at least know them in our misfortune. And give thanks to God.
But THE major collision occurred not at the city gate of Nain or Muscatine but Jerusalem. It was there that Jesus, bloodied and condemned to death by crucifixion, headed up the greatest Parade of Life. To the cross.
Many stopped to watch this procession, this parade, to throw insults instead of candy, to ridicule rather than respect the God of Life who Light is never overcome by the darkness of those who are perishing in their funeral procession to hell.
The Parade of Life is here this morning even as the resurrected Jesus is bodily among us this morning. Thank God, that today a seven-year-old child knows who is in the Parade of Life. Or to say it more formally, thank God, a seven-year-old child knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd [John 10:11–16]. 3 For the children pray, “I believe in one holy Christian Church.”Paul Timothy McCain, ed., Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005), 283.