The Gospel according to Luke (7:11-17)
Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.
In today’s Gospel, we have the story of Jesus raising a young man from the dead. That in itself is certainly miraculous, but truly, it’s more than that. It’s a story of how the Lord saw someone in their greatest need, and He used His power to help to meet that need. It’s a wonderful lesson about how the Lord’s pity can truly change everything.
We may not understand why this is significant – the young man was the only son of a widow. In first-century Israel, widows were utterly dependent on their children to care for them. So, this widow losing her only son meant that she had no family to depend upon. She would be utterly helpless to take care of her own needs. Jesus saw that and restored her son to her. He saw her need, felt pity and compassion for her, and met that need, ensuring that she would not be left destitute.
In my own life, I’ve been at that place where I wondered how things would go for me. I was laid off from my job and for the first time in my working career, I was unemployed. I had a family depending upon me, and I had to find something. Jesus, in His pity and compassion for me, was there, and helped me. My church community supported Linda, our boys and me, and ultimately, one of my fellow parishioners was the catalyst for me to find a job to end that period. I was praying the whole time, and while not at the point of being destitute like the widow, I knew that it was all up to God. It’s a lesson that I don’t think I will ever forget and I will do my best to always remember it with thankfulness.
All of us go through times like this. I heard a saying that says something like this: “It’s not about what happens to us in our lives. It’s about how we respond to what happens to us in our lives.” To me, looking to God to sustain us in our need is the most basic behavior we have as followers of Jesus. And, we should look for where we can be a blessing to someone in a difficult place. Perhaps we have been blessed somehow and can share from our excess of blessing. What better way can we say thank you to the one who truly has given us everything?
Action for the Day:
Say a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings in your life and ask God to show you where you can share that blessing with someone in need today!
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