Key Text: Luke 7:11-17
The first attempt, successfully raising the dead, but Why? – Compassion for a widowed mother and the gift of a son to care for her. Since the beginning God has always wanted us to honor our parents and Paul stressed this to Timothy, (1st Timothy 5:4). The Lord’s wondrous work of miracles does not spring from a distinct purpose of establishing his credentials as Messiah, but rather from his infinite sympathy with human suffering. Later at the end of Mark, we learn that God’s purpose in miracles was to confirm His words as from God, not necessarily proof of His nature or credentials, Mark 16:20. Nain was a walled city having a gate, this record is the only mention of Nain, it is only Luke that records this resurrection. Perhaps the reason why others don’t repeat the record of this resurrection is because they don’t want to detract attention from the resurrection of Jesus. The firstborn of the dead, Colossians 1:18. Unique, in that His resurrection was self-instigated and performed by God’s Spirit innately. Acts 2:27.
One possible objection to this miracle is Jesus touching the open coffin in public. When he touched it, the men carrying it, stood still as if expecting a message, but they got much more. To touch a dead body, or the bone of man, or a grave, was forbidden by the law, Num. 19:16. According to the traditions of Jewish elders, the stone that was rolled at the mouth of the tomb and the side of the grave could ceremonially defile a person by touching it. But there is no evidence that touching a closed coffin would defile a person. But this was an open coffin! In Lk 8:54, Jesus touches a dead girl’s hand as if to wake her up. It would be incongruous for Christ to be ceremonially unclean, when He was never in need to be performing any ceremony. He was both the sacrifice & ceremony! One clear hint of this truth is shown in Jesus’ words as he touched the first leper he healed, Mt. 8:3, “I am willing, be cleansed”. His actions and intentions are pure and powerful, his disciples would understand this, but maybe not the public. Whatever the public thought is unsure, but we do know his critics didn’t argue the point very vigorously, else Matthew would have surely noted it!
This might be likened to the point in which God’s Holy Spirit enjoins our body in removing our sin at baptism. God can deal with death and sin, we can’t! Remember he touched the Lepers and the Woman with the continual menstruation. WHO does the raising of the dead? God. Who does the cleansing of sin? God. Will we recognize this power today? Col. 2:12. Do we believe Jesus can exercise that power on us? Jn 5:28 29, 12:47 48.
In Lk 7:14, “I say to you get up”, to the Boy not the body, was inherent power. The dead body has no will of its own, its completely obedient, he didn’t say no, or just lay there ignoring, but he immediately sat and spoke! It took place before multitudes of mourners and disciples, it was witnessed as true.
The people’s ability to revere God in glorifying Him as a “Great Prophet” and God’s visitation to them was surely a reflection on the work of Elijah (1st Kg. 17:22) & Elisha (2nd Kg. 4:34) in raising the dead. This news spread from Galilee, all the way south to Judea. From this point on, Jesus couldn’t trust in private retirement, his every move would now be public!
We need to die to self and be completely obedient, believing He will provide blessings and fulfill promises. The reason? We are saved to serve, as the young boy was, so are we. Our new life described in Rom. 6:3-14 frees us from the consequences of sin. True freedom is being able to do something about the onslaught of deceit in our life, Eph. 2:1-9. We are free to choose service for God or appeasement for self. The right choice is best summed up in Colossians 3:1-17. The essence of our life is spiritual yet in a very physical world and body, but if we want life here, now and beyond the grave, we must spiritually die to self in order to obtain the gift of spiritual life from God, the author of it, see Rom. 6:2-13 & 1st Corinthians 15:35-38.