First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Sermon Notes (Sunday, August 7, 2022)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor
“A Miracle at the Gate of Nain!”
As you know, we’ve been looking at some of the key places that we come across as we read the gospel narrative. We get the chance to reflect on the events took place in those places and what lessons we can draw for our lives today. As we do so, my hope for all of us is to get a glimpse of the greatness and the awesomeness of our God. Our journey this morning takes us to the little town of Nain.
The town of Nain is only referenced once in the Bible, here in Luke chapter 7. The day after Jesus healed the centurion’s servant in Capernaum, Christ’s next stop was the town of Nain, 25 miles southwest of Capernaum. The distance from Capernaum to Nain was a good day’s journey. Jesus and His disciples must’ve got to Nain late in the day.
As Jesus and His disciples reached the city gate, a noisy funeral procession began to file out of the town. Luke doesn’t give us a lot of information about the widow of Nain. We do not know her name. We don’t know whether she was poor or rich. We don’t know if she was a Jew or a Gentile. We know one thing: she was broken, and she needed help. We know she was widowed, and she had a child who died.
I think Luke intentionally wanted to say to his audience, and to us, even this widow was unnamed, not a lot of people knew her, she was known to her God. Christ knew the depth of her pain and hurt. So as we reflect on raising the son of the widow of Nain from the dead, we need to ask ourselves: what does this story tell us? Someone said, the story is ripe with nuggets about the character of God. Two ways this story relates to us today:
First: It Tells us of a Compassionate God
Listen to these words from Luke 7:13-15, “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” And he came and touched the coffin, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And Jesus gave him to his mother.”
This is not the only incident in the gospels that God has been moved to compassion for His people. From the first page in the book of Genesis through the last words of the book of Revelation, the Bible speaks of a compassionate God. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him,” says the Psalmist in Psalm 103:13. “His compassion never fail,” says the Prophet Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:22. The Prophet Isaiah wrote these words in Isaiah 54:7-8, “For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. “In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.”
When Jesus saw the widow of Nain following her son’s funeral coffin, He could have kept going about His business. After all, He and His Father had put plans in place for the care of the widow according to the Law of Moses. Jesus could have walked away and left the care of the childless widow to those in her community. Instead, He stopped what He was doing to offer her words of life and comfort.
Second: It Tells us of a God whose Power Knows No Limit
The story tells us of a God whose power knows no limit. God literally would move heaven and earth for us. The miracle at the gate of Nain displayed God’s power over death. This power and wisdom are all ours. In raising the son of the widow of Nain, Jesus was willing to risk ceremonial uncleanness. According to Mosaic Law, anyone who touched a dead body would be unclean for seven days as Numbers 19:11-13 state.
Being unclean meant they would not be able to enter the Temple or any of the synagogues which was a pretty big deal at the time. Jesus would’ve been accused of violating the Law. He would’ve jeopardized His reputation as a Rabbi. But here was Jesus, willing to risk being ceremonially unclean for this widow of Nain. He was not concerned that His actions could lead to Him not being allowed into the Temple. He was concerned with the widow of Nain and her need.
Friends, encountering Jesus was a turning point for the widow of Nain. What was supposed to be the saddest day of her life turned out to be the happiest day when her son came back to life. Her life was transformed because God had become a part of her story. God is willing to be a part of our story, are you willing to let Him? From that moment on, the widow of Nain has come to know that there is a God who is full of compassion and whose power knows no limit, and even more importantly, that God is reliable, and He is trustworthy.
We can always rely on God. No matter how bleak things may look, we can always depend on God. As people living in Western culture, we’re taught to be self-dependent, not to depend on anyone. Unfortunately, this attitude also permeates our relationship with God. We refuse to give God control of our lives thinking we can handle anything that comes our way. That is a lie from the enemy who wants to cut you off from your greatest source of help. God is the only being who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present. He knows what you need. Let’s cast all our cares on Him today because He cares for us. In the Name of Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!
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