To read the texts click on the texts: 1 Tim 3:1-13; Lk 7:11-17
The miracle of the raising the widow’s son at Nain is a miracle that is found only in the Gospel of Luke. If the centurion’s servant healed in 7:1-10 was ill and at the point of death, the son of the widow in this story is already dead. There are many similarities between this story and that of Elijah’s raising the widow’s son in 1 Kings 17:10,17-24. Luke emphasises that the son was the widow’s “only son” (7:12). Luke also states that when Jesus saw the widow, he had compassion for her.. Jesus raises the boy quite simply with an authoritative command. The crowd responds by regarding Jesus as a prophet and by affirming that God has been favourable to his people through the deed that Jesus had just done.
The scripture offers many instances where men and women of faith ask for help, and are granted it, even though under normal experiences they might have gone on for the rest of their lives with sin or weakness or sickness or oppression. Does prayer change anything? Again and again the scripture teaches that it does indeed. God can and does intervene in the normal running of his universe. We see just such an instance in this passage. The young man is dead -- his life cut short by sickness perhaps, but death is a "normal" experience in our fallen world. Then Jesus sees a mother's tears, realizes that this widow -- there is no husband and other children mourning beside her -- has lost her only son, and Jesus is moved with compassion, and intervenes. God doesn't intervene every time we are hurting or have problems, just as loving parents do not or cannot intervene to soften everything for their children. Sometimes we are angry with God for not giving us the answer to prayer that we desire. Sometimes we blame him for not intervening when our loved ones are sick or die. But it is not because God lacks compassion, for Jesus shows us the Father, and Jesus is full of compassion. We are left with the fact that Jesus indicates that the Father will do things as a result of our prayers, because of his compassion, that he will not otherwise do. Prayer can appeal to the heart of God to bring about change.