1. This account is peculiar to Luke. But two other instances of Jesus' raising the dead, also by His Word, are recorded, Jairus' daughter, Lk. 8:54 and Jn. 11:43, Lazarus. In all three cases Jesus called them by name. They heard His voice.
2. Read Jn. 5:25-29. There Jesus' speaks of two resurrections. In vss. 25- 27 He speaks of His raising the spiritually dead by His Word. This is conversion. He also speaks of raising all the dead on Judgement Day. In all cases it is the Word of Jesus which raises the dead.
3. Elijah (I Kings 17:23) and Elisha (II Kings 4:36) in the OT raised the dead but not by their own Word power. Peter (Acts 9:41) And Paul (Acts 20:10- 12) also raised the dead but not by their own Word or power.
4. In Lk. 7:1-10 we read about a slave at the point of death but the main point is the humble faith of his master. In our text we read about a dead man but nothing is said about faith. Jesus took the initiative.
5. In vs. 16 the people said: "God has visited His people." This word "visit" has a particular meaning for Jesus. Zacharias said (Lk. 1:68) "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people." He is speaking about Jesus. At Acts 15:14 we read: "Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name." Jesus visited mankind. He came to make His home among them, to save them, to raise them from the dead.
6. The village of Nain was in Galilee but cannot now be identified. It is mentioned only here in our text in the Bible. But though the town has disappeared it will always be known as the place where Jesus raised a widow's son to life. He was probably her only child but, for certain, her only son. She had also lost her husband. She was helpless.
7. Notice that there were two crowds, the crowd with Jesus and the crowd with the widow. The Lord of life heads the one crowd, death heads the other crowd.
8. Jesus said to the widow, "Do not weep." This prohibition contained a promise. He was about to prove why she should not weep.
9. The dead man heard Jesus' voice. He sat up. He began to talk. Jesus' Word made this possible.
10. The fall into sin took this man from his mother. Jesus gave him back to his mother.
11. The people also said: "A great prophet has arisen among us." They were probably thinking about men like Elijah and Elisha. But they did not call Him THE Prophet (Deut. 18:15). They did not call Jesus the Messiah. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Miracles don't produce faith in Christ. But they do prove that Jesus is true God. In vs. 22 Jesus tells the disciples of the Baptist: "The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor hear the Gospel." This is in answer to the question: "Are you the One to come or should we expect another?"
12. What do the recorded miracles do for us today? They strengthen our faith when it becomes weak. They remind us that God has visited man. They remind us that our Lord is a man of compassion. They tell us that Jesus cares about and seeks those who are helpless, lonesome and unknown among people. The world is a valley of sorrows. It is huge morgue and cemetery. Jesus came to give spiritual, everlasting life to all. He has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. II Tim. 1:10.
13. We are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. Rom. 8:37.
Theme: THE SON OF GOD VISITS SINFUL MANKIND
Our text and its meaning con be applied to all of mankind. All people since Adam and Eve are like the people of Nain. They grope in spiritual darkness but cannot help themselves. The Son of God comes to them, proves Who He is and what He can do. The Lord of Life comes to the world which is a morgue, the land of the dead.
I. THE SITUATION OF SINFUL MANKIND.
A. They are dead. Rom. 6:23 says: "The wages of sin is death." Eph. 2:1 says: "You were dead in your trespasses and sin in which you walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air (Satan)." Because of sin this world is a land of the dead, the spiritually dead. And that's the way the people of Nain were They did not know the true God. They did not call Jesus the Messiah even after He performed a miracle. They lay fast in the grips of Satan who wields the power of death over mankind.
B. They do not seek God. People do not seek God. God must send his messengers to people. In the OT God sent His prophets to the people. At Jesus' time God sent the Baptist and Jesus to the people. Today God still sends His messengers to the people. People do not seek God because they are dead in their sins. The people of Nain did not seek Jesus. He sought them. What did He find when He visited their village? He found a procession of death. That's what He finds when he moves about in the world, death, death, death. Spiritual death and physical death. It is still so today.
II. THE SON OF GOD VISITS THESE HELPLESS PEOPLE.
A. He has compassion on them. The need in this case was plain. This dead man's mother was a helpless widow. She was weeping. And He tells her not to weep. That prohibition contained a promise. When God stopped the weeping, help was beginning. His compassion stoops down to the most helpless: widows, orphans, the poor, people with bad consciences. Note carefully that Jesus concentrated first on the widow. The text says that He had pity on her and therefore said: "Do not weep." Vs. 15 says that "He gave the living son back to the mother." Satan had taken him away. Jesus gave him back.
B. He conquered death. St. Paul says in I Cor. 15:19: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable." Christ defeated not only temporal death but eternal death too. Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. II Tim. 1:10. He called the widow's son out of death to life. He does this by His Word. He still calls sinners out of spiritual death into eternal life. He does this by His Word. Read Jn. 5:24-29: "Truly, truly I say to you that he who hears My Word and believes in the One Who sent Me, has eternal life and does not come into judgment but has already passed from death to life. Truly, truly I tell you that the time is coming and is already here when the dead will hear the voice of God's Son and will live. (Conversion). For just as the Father has life in Himself, likewise also to His Son He has given to have life in Himself."
III. THE REACTION OF THE PEOPLE
Fear and awe took hold of these people. They said: "A great prophet has arisen in our midst. God has visited His people." They did not yet call Him the Messiah. But the miracle, which helped the widow, proved that Jesus was God's Son. Miracles do not convert people. But they prove that Jesus is the Messiah. Now they had opportunity to hear His Word.
We have God's Word. From this Word we learn that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. He seeks us out as He sought this widow and her dead son at Nain. He is saying to us: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me shall never die."