A couple of weeks ago I walked into my New Testament class as usual on Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:00 pm. I had done the reading, but sometimes I have a hard time really internalizing the magnificence of the New Testament. There are so many commandments and miracles and sermons and more miracles jammed into a few pages that I get lost in it all and the individual stories loose their meaning.
It was that way with the Widow of Nain. It’s a shorter story in which Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead. It’s relatively brief, and is often overshadowed by the Daughter of Jarius. But I’m really grateful for an insightful religion professor who took the time to teach me about this woman.
What you need to know about the Widow of Nain is that in Jewish culture, if you were a widow then your son was responsible to take care of you. With the death of this woman’s only son, she now had absolutely nothing and no way to take care of herself. That is why everyone in the little village came out to the funeral- they felt so bad for her and her desperate situation. She was at rock bottom and wondering what she had ever done to deserve this.
What you need to know about Jesus is that he was miles away in a city called Capernaum. There was no really direct route to Nain. He would have had to be meaning to go to Nain to be in Nain. It’s a town several miles off the beaten path. He did not know the Widow personally. But somehow in the middle of the night he woke up, got dressed, and started walking. He walked all night long so that he would reach Nain at the time of the funeral so he could raise this widow’s son from the dead. Somehow he knew her situation and her faith and did everything in order to bless her.
What an amazing testimony to the character of Jesus. I know that even when I feel like I’m cut off from everything, alone, and desperate he knows where I am and what I’m feeling and will come to me.