The Gospel of Luke 7:11-16—The Raising of the Widow’s Son from the Dead.
In Luke’s Gospel, the miracle of raising a man from the dead in the city of Nain immediately follows the miracle of the healing of the centurion’s servant in Capernaum. Nain was a town six (6) miles southeast of Nazareth. Jesus’ disciples were with him along with a great crowd of people that followed them. Luke immediately tells of the situation in a few words — the person who had died was the only son of the widow and he was her only support. At that time, women did depend on the men of their family to support them; there were few other acceptable ways for women in the ancient world to support themselves, especially elderly ones. The death of the widow’s son left her alone and desolate in the world. The Lord understood this and felt love for her and compassion for her circumstances telling her not to weep.
When Jesus Christ raised the son, he used a very short and simple statement, “Young man, I say to you arise”. He did not make long laborious prayers to raise the child as did Elisha who raised a boy from the dead in 2Kings 4:19-35. The use of this short and simple phrase (in the Greek it is only 4 words), it becomes evident to those witnessing the miracle that Jesus was the one who had complete and sovereign authority over life and death. This reality took the crowds by surprise and they became afraid. Recognizing Jesus’ Divinity through this miracle, they glorified God.
There are three resurrections from the dead that are told in the New Testament besides Jesus’ own Resurrection — they are this Gospel reading, Luke 7:11-16; the Gospel reading of Luke 8:41-56 about Jairus’ daughter; and, the Gospel reading from John 11:1-44 about Lazarus. Most biblical scholars believe that the resurrectional stories are told in the New Testament by Luke and John not only as a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ’s own Resurrection, but also to teach the people of Jesus’ Divinity and that He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, in particular, the prophet Ezekiel’s works about the Savior, Ezk 37:1-14; “…. that the graves would be opened and the dead will raise”.
References: The Gospel of Luke, Good News for the Poor, Lawrence R. Farley, Conciliar Press; New Testament, Luke and Acts, Paul Nadim Tarazi, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press; KJV.