Phil Cox


Home page
Recent Columns
Previous Series
Phil's background
Preaching engagements
Creation and science
Contact Phil

Stubbington Baptist Church
Acorn Christian Healing Foundation
Evangelical Alliance Basis of Faith

Jesus and the widow of Nain - Part 1

One widow

9th May 2015

Luke 7v11-17
Soon afterwards, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with 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.
When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 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 began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
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.

Since no word of Holy Scripture is in the Bible by accident, but is there to accomplish what God intends, let's take a moment to consider the fact that God inspired Luke to tell us Jesus was accompanied by his disciples and a large crowd. There were many in the crowd who were not disciples. A disciple of Jesus does more than follow Him around, watch what He does and listen to what He says. A disciple is determined to learn from the Master and put what he learns into practice.

I suspect things are very similar today. There's a huge crowd of people across the world who think of themselves as Christians, who may go to church (when it's convenient) and read their Bibles (occasionally) and pray (when they feel like it). But how many of them are disciples of Jesus? Discipleship requires genuine repentance. To be a disciple is to accept that Jesus is better and wiser than I am, and therefore to decide that I will obey Jesus even when I don't understand why Jesus commands what he does.

A true disciple of Christ doesn't think he knows better than the Bible

And Luke also tells us that there was another large crowd with the widow. They weren't disciples of Jesus. They weren't His followers. They were the widow's neighbours. They weren't there to learn from Him; they were there to express sympathy for the widow.

So Jesus was standing outside the town gate with His disciples, a crowd of His followers, and a crowd of potential converts. And he ignored all of them, to help one woman.

He could have taught His disciples. He could have inspired the crowd to become disciples. He could have preached the good news to the townsfolk. Instead, his heart went out to the widow, and He stopped everything, and turned aside from the crowds, to serve her.

This is the heart of God. God doesn't care about crowds. He cares about individuals - Humans like that woman, and you, and me.

Note to church leaders: Jesus doesn't care how many people are in your church. He cares whether you take time to serve the loneliest and the neediest people who come.