IN those days, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and His disciples and a large crowd went with Him. As He approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow, and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came forward and touched the coffin, and the bearers stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized the crowd, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has visited His people!”
Notice how many people ask the Lord to perform the miracle.
No one. He was simply walking to a this town called Nain, and out of it was walking a funeral procession. They bumped into each other - a huge crowd that followed Christ and a big crowd in the procession. Jesus, by virtue of being God, perceived that the man who died was an only son of his mother, who herself was widowed. This meant that she was left with nothing.
Women in those days did not really have a social status, they depended on a man, be it their husband or son. Her husband was dead, her son just died. She was left defenseless and probably homeless, which no doubt added to her sorrow.
Evangelist Luke says that "when the Lord saw her, He had compassion for her." He felt sorry for her loss. He felt her loss. How can God, the Creator of all things visible and invisible, feel loss? He can feel loss when His own creation turns away from Him and abandons Him.
As a precursor to His own resurrection, a foreshadowing of His authority over death, and to show that God cares for those who sorrow, Jesus Christ resurrected the young man. There are three accounts of Jesus resurrecting someone from the dead - the one above, Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:40-56), and Lazarus (John 11:1-44). All of these accounts are signs of Christ's power over death, power that was ultimately displayed in His own resurrection.
We might ask ourselves, why would Christ show compassion only on this woman who lost a son, she was not the only one who did, there are parents who still lose their children? As far as why we have only this account in the Gospels, it's because what the Evangelists decided to include. If we read the Gospel books, we will see that it is often mentioned that Christ performed many miracles among the people. All these miracles were not recorded because, as Evangelist John says, if they were to record all of them, all the books in the world would not be able to contain all those accounts.
Why does God have compassion on parents today, who lose their children? This is a lot harder question to answer. First of all, Christ did not resurrect every dead person He came across. At the least the Gospel accounts do not mention that. Second, our life is finite, whether we live for 2 years or for 102 - we will die.
Death was a punishment to the first human beings for their transgression, but it was also a gift. Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden, and they faced hunger, suffering, work, pain, etc. As good as our life may be, it is ultimately pretty tragic. Death, in this context, is a gift because it puts an end to suffering and pain. Sometimes people die after suffering unbearably, and sometimes they die to avoid suffering.
At least that's how I see why children may die, which seems so unfair. Maybe them dying too early, as we might think, is actually them avoiding the unfair suffering and pain of this life. I've been asked, "Why does God allow pain and suffering and death?" Well, I don't think He does. We do. We fight each other. We starve each other. We kill each other.
Where is God in all of this? He is right there with the suffering person. Why? Because He knows what suffering is. Our God can actually fully identify with us because He Himself went through pain and suffering that we go through. He does not allow it, but He allows us to make the choice.
In the end, He will always be there, with compassion for us because He knows what it feels like when His children abandon Him, when His children choose death over life. He knows what it feels like to suffer and be piece with nails. He knows what it feels like to hang on the cross...we don't.
Fear seized the crowd when they saw the young man resurrected back to life. Our Lord died on the Cross and resurrected for our salvation. How can fear not seize us, daily, every breath of our life?
Yours in the Lord,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest