Think of the widow

The village of Nain was about six miles southeast of Nazareth. Its name meant “pleasant,” probably for the view afforded from its 1,690 ft. height. From the view, it is said one could see snow-capped Mt. Hermon.[1]

As the Lord Jesus was traveling with a large crowd toward the city, he came upon the funeral procession of a young man. His mother, a widow, was following the bier, weeping.

What comes next is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. Jesus looked upon the widow with compassion. The word used in Luke 7:13 does not exactly mean the Lord felt sorrow or sympathy in just those terms. The New American Standard Bible uses the term “compassion,” but that, too, may not be enough.

When the Greeks felt as if their very insides were affected by emotion, they would use the word “splagchnizomai.” It doesn’t exactly refer to the heart, as people might do today. It is more than that. The word is used three times in the synoptic gospels in reference to Jesus’ feelings for someone. Jesus’ very insides ached for this woman.

There are some who might doubt how much Jesus cares for pitiful humans. Often in grief there is little consolation when one believes that even heaven has turned against them. Whenever we are tempted to think this, we should remember Jesus’ deep feelings for this woman.

Let’s look at this from the Lord’s perspective. Jesus created this woman and her son (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1). He knew both of them better than anyone, just as he knows us better than anyone. He knew the depth of loss this widow felt. Few of us could understand how terrible it is to lose a son or daughter, but Jesus knows. Parents hope their children will outlive them. When the child dies first, the loss can be crippling. Jesus knows.

Jesus not only knows, but also he cares. Jesus said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7 NASB).

Let us not think that heaven is against us or that God does not care what happens to us. One look at Jesus proves that idea incorrect. Jesus is affected very deeply by what happens to us. Think how much he cared for that widow.

[1] “The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, G.W. Bromiley, Eerdmans Publishing Co. Volume III page 480.

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John Henson

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, John Henson has been a husband for 40 years and a preacher for about half that. He currently serves as the preacher for the Dibrell Church of Christ in McMinnville, Tennessee..

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