One Day In A Small Town (Luke 7:11-18)
Why this sermon title? I suppose its because of the insignificance and the unimportance of the place and the people where Jesus did this mighty work. The world is so bent on “big” things and “important” things today. But I wonder if what men think is “big and important” isn’t small potatoes to the Lord, and if what men count as “small” is not “big” in the Lord’s eyes. So it would seem anyway, in our text this morning.
1. Where is Nain?
You mean to tell me this morning that you don’t know where the town of Nain is? Nain is about 100 miles south of nowhere, on the border of “no turning back”! You know, its that little town where Billy Graham held his last big crusade.
Actually, Nain is a little no-name town about 6 miles southeast of Nazareth. It is mentioned only one time in the Bible, and that is here in Luke 7:11. Jesus visited Nain only one time during His ministry that we know of, and so far as Bible towns go, Nain was on the bottom of the important town list!
The word Nain means “green pastures”, or “lovely”. Beloved, have you ever noticed how that some towns don’t fit their names. How many of you have ever been to “Lovely” Kentucky, or “Beauty” Kentucky. There could be no place less “lovely” than Lovely, Kentucky, or less beautiful than Beauty, Kentucky - no offense if any of you are from down there. I’m not sure about Nain, but its not listed in the AAA tourist guide as a town of many attractions.
Nain could represent all of the little no-name, hole-in-the-wall towns across the globe. There is nothing special about them; nothing worth remembering, but only a few things to forget. No people of notoriety live there, though some like Roy Rogers were born there. The politicians don’t bother with Nain. There are not enough votes there to count. There is no reason for anyone of any importance to go there…No one, that is, except Jesus. One day Jesus visited the little no-name town of Friendship, Ohio where He found JoAnn and I in need of salvation. Where did He find you this morning!
2. What was in Nain that Jesus would go there?
There was one unknown, insignificant widow woman and her dead son there in Nain. The Bible doesn’t even mention her name, that is how insignificant she was. But beloved, she was important enough to Jesus for Him to go that way.
This widow was in a most lamentable state. She had lost her husband, who was both her companion and provider in life. The loss of a spouse is one of life’s most grievous hardships to bear. I remember my own mother’s grief after the loss of my father.
And now this widow woman has lost her only son. The staff of her old age, as it were, has become a broken reed, cut off in the prime of life. This widow has lost everything she had in this life. She appears to be left with nothing, and with no hope of improvement. She seemed to be destined to perpetual misery and poverty. Bear in mind, in those days they didn’t have the Mutual Life Insurance Co. A widow in this state was in a bad way in more ways than one.
But, beloved, God has compassion on the widows and the fatherless. Those things that men count as worthless, are important and valuable to God. Those poor people who the upper-crust of society wouldn’t give the time of day, Jesus makes a special trip to come to their aid. This is one of the virtues of the Saviour that appeals so much to me.
What was in Nain, beloved? One of God’s elect who was is need of His help. No doubt there were other needy widows in the land, but Jesus went to Nain. This dear widow was one that the Father gave to the Son in eternity past. This is one dear soul for whom Jesus would shed His precious blood to save. Jesus loved this helpless widow woman, and He was come to show her His love.
What was in Nain? One of the children of the King, who is now praising Him before the throne of His glory. What is in Ashland, Kentucky?
3. Why did Jesus raise this widow’s son from the dead?
First, it wasn’t because she asked Him to raise her son from the dead, because she didn’t. We don’t know that she even prayed for such a miracle, though she may have. But God wasn’t working many such miracles before the outset of Jesus’ ministry, so it wasn’t likely that she would have expected such a miracle from God. Even if she had heard of Jesus, she apparently hadn’t sent for Him. I’m sure that His visit was totally unexpected by this widow woman.
Jesus did this wonderful work out of His own loving kindness and tender mercies. He did it because it is His nature to do good. It is His nature to condescend to help His people in time of need. Like the song goes “its just like Jesus to roll the clouds away… its just like His great love.” He raised this young man because the Bible said that He had compassion on her. We come to expect compassion out of Jesus, because its just like His nature!
Jesus also raised this young man because it was His sovereign prerogative to do so. Jesus raised him from the dead because it was His good pleasure to do so. No doubt there were other funerals in the land that day, as other days. But Jesus chose to break up this funeral because He willed to do so.
Jesus raised this man from the dead because it was His sovereign plan to do so. You see, Jesus had a divine appointment to be in Nain on that exact day and time? It wasn’t by accident that Jesus arrived at the gate of Nain in time to meet the funeral bier!
Finally, Jesus raised this man from the dead because it gave glory to God His Father. This miracle testified of God’s presence and power that was in Him (vs. 16-18). It gave witness that God had visited His people, and that Messiah had come.
4. How did Jesus raise this man from the dead?
Was it instrumental with the widow woman’s faith, or perhaps the dead man’s faith? No! This is one instance where faith did not precede the miraculous power of God. Likewise the new birth is not by the dead sinner’s faith.
1) First, as we already have seen, by His sovereign will and purpose, Jesus went to where the dead man was. The dead person obviously cannot go to Jesus. In like manner, the dead sinner can’t go to Jesus, but He must go to them.
2) Secondly, Jesus touched the bier (which was an open coffin). There is a very real sense in which Jesus touches the dead sinner in salvation. It is a spiritual touch, which heals the spirit and soul in the new birth. It is in very fact a new spiritual birth inside of a person. Experimentally it is like a light turned on in the mind, that enlightens the understanding to receive the things of the Spirit of God. Once I was blind, but now I see. Once I was spiritually dead, now I’m alive to spiritual things. And its nothing short of the touch of Jesus, who came to our spiritual bier.
3) Thirdly, Jesus spoke the word, and told the young man to “Arise.” In salvation lost sinners must hear the voice of Jesus calling them by the Gospel. It is the Gospel that gives rise to faith and spiritual consciousness. The touch of Jesus is regeneration, whereas response by faith in the Gospel is conversion. Bear in mind, one doesn’t exist without the other. Like a coin that has two sides, one doesn’t exist without the other. Likewise are regeneration and conversion; one doesn’t exist without the other.
So then in salvation, Jesus comes to where the lost elect sinner is and touches them in regeneration, and gives them repentance and faith in the Gospel, whereby we believe to the saving of the soul.
What insignificant town are you from this morning?
Has Jesus visited your town?
Has He come there for the sovereign purpose of saving your soul?
Has He touched you and spoken the Gospel to you?
Has He given you new birth, and faith in His work on the cross of Calvary for your sins?
Have you risen in faith, believing that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and rose again the third day to forgive you of all your sins, and give you eternal life?
Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved right now!