Making a Mother’s Day

Making a Mother’s Day

“Making A Mother’s Day”
(Luke 7:11-17)
Series: Encounters with Christ (The Widow of Nain)

Rev. Todd A. Linn, PhD

Henderson’s First Baptist Church, Henderson

Take your Bibles and join me this morning in, (page 695; YouVersion).

While you are finding that I came across something as I was researching and, thinking about mothers, especially when mothers are young, this was what on pastor suggests could be called, “Murphy’s Laws of Parenting.” Most of you know, “Murphy’s Law” is the idea that if anything that can go wrong, it will go wrong. So here are some things, I’ll give you about eight, things that fall under the general category of, “Murphy’s Laws of Parenting.”

1. The later you stay up, the earlier your child will wake up the next morning.
2. The gooier the food, the more likely it is to end up on the carpet.
3. The longer it takes you to make a meal, the less your child will like it.
4. A sure way to get something done is to tell a child not to do it.
5. For a child to become clean, something else must become dirty.
6. Backing the car out of the driveway causes your child to have to go to the bathroom.
7. A child’s greatest period of growth is the month after you’ve purchased new
school clothes.
8. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word-for-word
what you shouldn’t have said. (Source: James E. Parks).

Does this resonate with you?! It brought back a few memories for me.

We’re in Luke chapter 7, please stand in honor of the Word of God.

11 Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd.
12 And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her.
13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”
14 Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”
15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.
16 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”
17 And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.



Some of you will recall the very first funeral you ever attended. You remember the place, the family, the things you saw, the way you felt. If you were especially young, you may have had questions you couldn’t answer, or things that didn’t make sense.

I can’t recall the first funeral I ever attended. I tried, but I just don’t remember. My immediate family is pretty small and we’ve been scattered about so I’m not sure I even attended a funeral until I was in college.

Of course I’ve attended a number of funerals since. Being a minister, as you know, it sort of comes with the territory. As they say, ministers are licensed to “marry and bury.” And it sounds ironic at first, but most ministers will tell you that they would rather officiate a funeral than a wedding. I remember when I first heard that, I was surprised, but I’ve come to know that truth myself.

Weddings are largely parties and folks aren’t really all that interested in spiritual things. They’re looking at the bride’s dress and remarking on how well the groom cleaned up. Looking forward to that tremendous wedding cake with the delightful lard icing and everything else.

Funerals however. Funerals present an opportunity to share the Gospel to people who are more inclined to be listening with spiritual ears. People who are hurting. Grieving. People who are generally more inclined to hear from God.

This morning we read about a time when Jesus breaks up a funeral; interrupts a funeral procession. Just interrupts it as people are on their way outside the city to bury a young man, the only son of his mother.

In fact, the passage describes the coming together of two crowds.  Verse 11 tells us one crowd and verse 12 tells of another.  In verse 11 Jesus is entering into a city called Nain and along with Him are many of His disciples, and the text adds, “and a large crowd.”  See that there in verse 11?  Jesus, His disciples, and a large crowd.  These are people who had heard Jesus teaching and preaching, people who had just witnessed Jesus’ healing of the centurion’s servant.  They are impressed with Jesus and so they are following Him to this city called Nain.  That’s one crowd.

Then verse 12 tells describes another crowd.  It tells us that when Jesus came near the gate of the city, the one crowd meets another crowd.  Verse 12 tells us that “when Jesus came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow.  And a large crowd from the city was with her.”  This is a crowd of people heading out of the city and going to a cemetery to bury a loved one who had died.

So we are reading of the converging of these two crowds: one crowd moving out of the city, a crowd of people mourning for one who had died—and another crowd moving into the city, a crowd of people following One who brings life.  Death and life converge at the city gate of Nain.

Let me share with you a few things we see in this passage, things we see about the Lord Jesus. First:

I. See His Providence in the Details (11-12)

This point is more implicit than explicit. That is to say we don’t see it right away. But we see it when we think through these events.

The Bible tells us in verse 11 that sometime after Jesus heals a person of sickness in Capernaum that He then travels to this city called Nain.

Nain is about 20 miles south of where Jesus had been, in Capernaum where he had healed the Roman centurion’s servant. He goes 20 miles south to the southernmost area of His activity in Galilee. This is about a day’s journey, 20 miles.

By the way, Nain is still there today, this otherwise nondescript village, today some 1800 in population. There are a number of tombs there dating to the early New Testament era, the first century in the year of our Lord (Rousseau, Jesus and His World: An Archaeological and Cultural Dictionary (page 212). Pretty cool.

But I want you to think about this for a moment. Jesus leaves Capernaum and walks an entire day’s journey with the 12 disciples, and a number of other general disciples, other followers, and He walks 20 miles to a place that isn’t really on the way to another place. It’s out of the way. It’s a small, insignificant town. Why does Jesus go there?

And the answer, of course, is that He went there knowing He would meet with this widowed woman who would be burying her son. But I am so struck by the providential ways in which our Lord works, aren’t you?

God’s providence is the means by which God governs or superintends all things, ruling over all things in such a way that all the intricate details are managed by His precise and perfect timing, so that His perfect will is done.

It’s a mystery to be sure, but it fascinates me! Here is Jesus who is on His way out of Capernaum and will be walking some 20 miles, stopping perhaps to spend the evening on the way, I don’t know. But because He is God in the flesh, and because He knows all things, and because He knows the precise moment the funeral procession will be on its way out of the city and at the city gate, and the exact place where He will need to be to conduct a miracle—Jesus moves steadily along, without hurrying, knowing full well exactly where He will need to be and when He will need to be there. Someone said, “Jesus is never in a hurry, but always right on time.”

There’s a comfort here in this doctrine of providence. Jesus knows all the future events you will face today. He knows all the future events you will face this week.

He knows all the details and He knows just when you need Him most. I cannot explain why He permits the bad things to happen—why the job loss, the sickness, or even death—but I know that God is at work through all of those intricate details and nothing escapes His notice. Jesus is not merely some Jewish rabbi. He is God. He is with you. He knows what you are facing this week.

Believe in Him to work through all the details of your life in such a way that it results in your good and His glory.

See our Lord’s providence in the details. Secondly:

II. See His Pity for the Disheartened (13)

Now when the Lord saw this woman, this mother, on her way out of Nain to bury her only son, the Bible says in verse 13, “When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ ”

See how He cares, see His passion and pity for the brokenhearted.

The writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 4:15, “We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses…”  He sympathizes with us.  He loves us.  He cares for us.

He cares for a woman who is on her way to a funeral to bury her only son. Here is a reminder that death can come at any age.  We often think of it as coming only to those who are elderly and infirm, but death can come to a young person.  Remember that the first grave dug in the Bible was not for a older father or mother, but for a younger son—Adam and Eve’s son, Abel.

That is the case here in the text.  We learn later in the next verse that this one who has died is described as a “young man.”  And if we’re wise we’ll pause long enough to consider whether we are prepared for that moment when we will leave this world, whether we’re 9, 19, or 90.  Young person, have you been saved?  Young man, young lady, have you surrendered your soul to the Lord Jesus Christ?  The only way to avoid the penalty of our sin and an eternity of hell is to surrender to Christ.  Death can come at any age.

Verse 12 describes this young man as, “the only son of his mother; and she was a widow.”  There is so much hurt there in those words.  She was a widow so she had been through similar suffering before when her husband died. In New Testament times for a woman to lose her husband meant more than the immediate emotional pain, but there was tremendous social and economic hardship, as well. Women did not work as modern women today. They were totally dependent upon the care and support of their protector and provider, their husband.

Husbands and wives today fight over the smallest things, at times, little things. Things not worth fighting over. I wonder if there’s some little thing getting between you and your spouse. Would it really matter that much if you knew that by this time next week you would be burying your spouse? Why not go ahead and take care if it today. Forgive. Forget. Move on.

So this woman has already been through the pain and suffering of burying her husband, now she is going through the pain and suffering of burying her only son, her only child.

We imagine her getting up that morning to prepare for her son’s funeral.  Many of you have done similarly.  A loved one dies and you grieve as you have never grieved before.  You cry as you’ve never cried before.  And this crowd is mourning and crying.  We can only imagine the looks and the sounds of this crowd proceeding out of the city to the cemetery.  But here the crowd of hopelessness converges with the crowd of hope.  That which is imperfect meets that which is perfect.  Verse 13:

13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

I love the way verse 13 begins, “When the Lord saw her.” The woman was not looking for Jesus, but Jesus was looking for her.

Jesus has His eye on the brokenhearted. He sees her. In the same way, He sees you this morning and He knows your hurts, too. Some of you didn’t come this morning seeking Jesus, but He sees you. He knows you. He knows your needs.

Verse 13 also says, “He had compassion on her.” The NIV puts it this way: “His heart went out to her.”

He sets His eye on the brokenhearted and His heart goes out to them.

I wonder how many times our Lord has blessed us when we weren’t even looking for Him. We weren’t seeking Him, but He was seeking us. He set His eye upon us and His heart went out to us.

Here is hope and encouragement, then, for those times we do take our hurt to Jesus. Some of you are praying for the salvation of your children. You are praying for your lost children, grandchildren, nephews or nieces. You are bringing your children to the very one who sees your hurt and whose heart goes out to you.

Hebrews 13:8, tells us that “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

He is the same Lord today as He was in the city of Nain 2,000 years ago.  He loves you and His heart goes out to you today.  I don’t know what many of you are facing, but our Lord knows.  He sees you and He says, “Do not weep.”

Jesus Christ is hope for a hurting world.  No, He may not raise your loved one from her sickbed or bring to life a dead child from a funeral procession.  There were countless hundreds and thousands who had died during the ministry of Christ and He only raised three of them from the dead.

No, He may not raise your loved one from sickness or death, but He promises to be with you and His heart goes out to you in the depth of your sorrow. Our Lord loves you.  He cares for you.  His heart goes out to you.  This is why He has given us so many precious promises.  He says:

Matthew 11:28, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always.”

See our Lord’s pity for the disheartened. Finally, number three:

III. See His Power over Death (14-17)

The larger theme in this narrative is Christ’s authority over everything, including death and the grave.  Because He is God, Jesus Christ holds the keys of death in His hand.  He has authority over death and if He has authority over death, He has authority over life.  And if He has authority over life, He has authority over every living thing.  Verse 14:

14 Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still (I’ll bet they did!). And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”

Numbers 19:11, “Whoever touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days.”

Christ speaks to the dead and the dead listen.  Verse 15:

15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.

The young man sat up and began to speak, offering proof that he was, indeed, alive.  And then Jesus presents the young man to his mother.  Little wonder verse 16 says:

16 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”

Yes, a great prophet has risen up among the people, yet a person who is more than a prophet.  God had indeed visited His people in the person of Jesus Christ, second person of the Holy Trinity, fully God and fully man.

See here the right response to an encounter with Jesus: worship and mission. They worshiped Jesus, glorifying God, and they shared Jesus. They said, “God has visited His people.” So verse 17:

17 And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

The right response to Jesus is always worship and mission.

Does it strike you that Jesus speaks to the dead and the dead listen?  Is this not a demonstration of the truth that while the body physically dies, the spirit lives on?  Jesus talks to the living spirit of the young man.  He speaks to the young man’s soul.  When we die our soul will live on in one of two locations, either in heaven or in hell.  The body dies, but the soul lives on.

Without being asked and in His own power and might Jesus approaches the open coffin, speaks the word, and the dead is raised.

Charles Wesley wrote:

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

The Apostle Paul writes of our spiritual death this way:

Ephesians 2:4-6, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

Much as we may not like to think about it, we’re all in a procession of death.  We’re all in a crowd of spiritual death, marching inexorably toward an eternal cemetery of hell.  We all stand in need of someone to come interrupt the procession.  Jesus Christ comes this morning to interrupt our march toward death.

As the unique, “only Son” of the Father, Jesus offers Himself to save us from death and bring us to life. Think of it:

Jesus is the living only Son who would die so that this widow’s dead only son would live. Let me say that again: Jesus is the living only Son who would die so that this widow’s dead only son would live.

In order for this woman’s only son to be returned to his mother, the Heavenly Father had to give His only son away. And as a Perfect Father, He knows the pain of burying His only Son. He knows your pain too and He brings you hope and life.

Jesus is the greater only Son who comes back to life never to die again. He conquers death so that this widow’s only son can live—and so that you can live too.

• Stand for prayer.

“Lord Jesus Christ, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but, through you, I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment and offering forgiveness. I turn from my sin and receive you as Savior.”

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