A “Pleasant” Shocker!

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Last week we met The Widow. Perhaps you already guessed that this was the widow of Nain, a town south of Nazareth. Nain means “pleasant” or delightful. Unfortunately, things were not so pleasant in “Pleasantville.”

To help personalize this unnamed widow, I suggested the name, Hannah (which means “honor.”) Her son had died and now men were carrying his open coffin toward a burial cave.

About that time, Jesus entered the town along with his disciples and a large crowd who had been following him. 

As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. Luke 7:12

What timing! Coincidence, you say? How many times in your life has the Lord been there just when you needed him most?

I love the next verse when we see Jesus’ compassionate heart. He did not do his acts of healing for sensationalism; he did them because he saw a need and had a caring heart.

When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Luke 7:13

Now hold your breath as we view what happened next. 

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and begin to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. Luke 7:14-15

Wouldn’t you love to know what the son said? And see his mother’s reaction? It certainly became a delightful, pleasant day in Nain. Our Hannah has been honored to have her son back once again.

What a happy day for all. Let’s check in with the crowd.

They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. Luke 7:16-17

“God has come,” they said. They had experienced Immanuel—God with us.

We have two other accounts in Scripture of Jesus raising someone from the dead. It seldom happens in our day, but we do see injured persons and those with dreadful diseases come through it with life—miracles in our midst.

And what joy we have when someone who was horribly dead in sin is brought into eternal life.

Thank you, Father, that you see our needs, whatever they may be, and minister to us in loving ways. Open our eyes to even small ways from day to day that you are Immanuel, God with us. 

~ Joyce ~

The Widow

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Our woman of the week, like many women in the Bible was unnamed. To help move her story along, let’s give her the name, Hannah, which means honor.

We know that “Hannah” had a son. Let’s call him Josiah, meaning may Yahweh give. Since Hannah had a son, she also had a husband, of course, a husband who could provide for his family. 

Unfortunately, Hannah’s husband died and she is now a widow, a scary place to be in that day and time. Women had very little means to provide for themselves.

Fortunately, she has Josiah who is perhaps old enough to work and provide for the two of them. Hannah must make many adjustments, but she keeps her faith in God to help her.

She worries however, because Josiah has been limping. “Why do you limp so, Josiah?”

“I don’t know,” he says. “I have pain in my hip. If I limp, I don’t feel the pain as much.”

Hannah prepares remedies that might ease the pain, but instead helping, the pain seems to be getting worse. Hannah sits in her bed at night, bending over in earnest prayer for his healing.

Soon, Josiah is only capable of working a few hours each day, then a few hours each week. Their food supply is dwindling, and Josiah’s pain increases. Neighbors help all they can, but many of them are poor as well.

The dreadful day comes when a neighbor runs down the road to Hannah when she is in the garden. “Hannah, Hannah! It’s Josiah. He’s fallen and we can’t get him up.” Hannah drops her basket and runs down the road with the neighbor.

Josiah lays absolutely still beside the road. Hannah falls to her knees and embraces her only son, but his arms are heavy and lifeless; he has no breath left in him. Hannah cries out in agony as she rocks him in her arms. “My son, my son. Oh Josiah, my son.”

Finally, two women help Hannah back to her house. The men borrow a cart from another neighbor and lift Josiah up and on to the cart. Many friends gather to comfort and mourn with Hannah. The body rests at the house where a few women perform the ritual of cleansing.

It is almost more than Hannah can bear. Her husband gone and now her son. What will she do?

Next week—Jesus comes to town.

~ Joyce ~