Resuscitation of a Widow’s Son (Luke 7:11-17)
The main point of our passage today is not only can Jesus overcome disease, as we learned last week with the Centurion’s slave, but he also has the authority to override death. This account is focused on Jesus’ care for the needy ad his power over death. Jesus takes the initiative and acts compassionately, choosing healing over defilement. The event results in awe for God’s work and a public perception of Jesus as a prophet. As a result, news about Jesus spreads.
In this passage, we learn four things about Jesus. First Jesus demonstrates his compassion and willingness to reach out and meet the needs of those in distress. Jesus takes the initiative in this account, he comforts the widow; he restores the boy to health. Why was this so important that Jesus did this? This is because she was a widow and her only son had just passed away. Therefore, she had no one left to support her. Benjamin Franklin once famously said that God helps those who help themselves, however, in the Bible we see that the opposite is true. God helps those who cannot help themselves. God loves to show his power through those who are weak and downcast.
Second, we see that Jesus displays great power with great ease. The comfort that he offers the widow is real, because he can overpower death’s nullifying effects. The extent of his authority reaches to the limits of personal existence. This account, then, represents Jesus’ most powerful display of his connection with God. (Bock, 1994)
Third, God displays His power over death and displays to the Jewish community that He is greater than the prophet Elijah. Why is it important for Jesus to display his power over death? Because Jesus wants his people to understand that when he goes to the cross, it is because he is choosing to do so for a reason. Also, so that when we hear of his resurrection, that it should not be too unbelievable to us because we have seen him raise people from the dead before.
And fourth, the raising of a widow’s son is very similar to the story of Elijah and the widow in 1 Kings 17:17-24, and it was on purpose. Jesus is trying to display his power and knew that this healing would remind these Jewish people about the great prophet Elijah. See the Jewish people are known for their discipline and knowledge of the Torah, so this image was without a doubt to display to them that a prophet like Elijah is amongst them.
Why is this important to know? Let us look at the passage in 1 Kings 17:17-24. Does anything stand out to you? Look at verse 24, And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.” I believe that is the message that he wanted the Jewish people to receive that, Jesus was sent by God and the very words that came from his mouth were God’s. Here we see that message that Jesus was trying to communicate was not just for the woman or for the Jewish people, but that it is a sign that God has visited all of us to overcome death for us.
Therefore, the main point of our passage today is to point us to the power of God, specifically his power over death, and that Jesus is revealing more and more of his true identity. And we know that we were once like this widow son. We too were once dead in our sins. Because of our sin, we are fully separated from God and we cannot come to life on our own, but only by the gracious work of God. A vulture in a cornfield is going to starve to death although there is plenty of edible food. However, it is against his nature to eat corn, he desires flesh. The only way to make him eat corn is to give him a new nature or new life. That is what Christ does for us. We are dead in sin and the only way to get us to desire anything good is for God to give us a new nature, to bring us to the newness of life. Therefore, we are to live confidently with our lives because the God that we serve has power over life and death and if live it should be for the glory of Christ, but if we die, then we consider it a gain, for we will spend eternity with Him.