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Chapter VII

The Widow's Son Raised from the Dead

SummaryThe Centurion's Servant Healed. The Son on the Widow of Nain Raised. John's Message and the Reply. The Greatness of John the Baptist. The Banquet at the House of a Pharisee. The Woman That Was a Sinner. The Rebuke of Simon. The Woman Saved by Faith.

1–10. A certain centurion's servant. For notes on the healing of the centurion's servant, see Matt. 8:5–13. 250

11. He went into a city. The raising of the son of the widow of Nain is only recorded by Luke. Nain. A village on the northwest slope of Little Hermon, about twenty-five miles south of Capernaum.

12. Came nigh to the gate. Like most Oriental towns it had walls and a gate. Just outside of the gate he met the funeral procession. The dead were always carried out of a Jewish city for burial. A dead man carried out. On a bier, the body covered by a cloth, but not in a coffin. The only son. Such a loss to a Jewish widow would be too great for consolation. See Jer. 6:26; Amos 8:10; Zech. 12:10.

13. Had compassion. Sorrow or need always touched his loving heart. Weep not. How often he has dried up the fountains of sorrow!

14. Touched the bier. As a signal to stop. There was an authority in not only the words but the acts of the Lord which compelled obedience. Arise. This is the first time he spoke these words to the dead. It must have been to his disciples and the multitude a moment of suspense and wonder.

15. Sat up. As the daughter of Jairus, and Lazarus, so the widow's son at once obeyed, arose and spoke. The Lord finished his work by taking him by the hand and presenting him to his mother. Language is too feeble to express her joy.

16, 17. Came a fear. A sense of awe. That a great prophet. Not even the apostles had yet confessed him as the Christ. Throughout all Judaea. The story seems even to have reached John in prison, east of the Dead Sea.

18–33. The disciples of John. For notes on John's message, Christ's reply, and discourses about John, see Matt. 11:2–19. 251 252

36. One of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. This anointing is a different one from that recorded in Matt. 26:7, and elsewhere. The breach between Jesus and the Pharisees was not yet so great as to prevent intercourse. Jesus accepted invitations of Pharisee and publican alike, with the like purpose of instruction in righteousness. “We must imagine the guests arriving; Simon receiving them with all courtesy, and embracing each in turn; slaves ready to wash the dust of the road from their sandaled feet, and to pour sweet olive oil over their heads to soften the parched skin. See Gen. 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; Ru 3:3; 1Sa 25:41; Psalm 23:5; 141:5; Eccl. 9:8; Dan. 10:3; Amos 6:6; Matt. 6:17. But there is one of the guests thus not treated. He is but a poor man, invited as an act of condescending patronage. No kiss is offered him; no slave waits upon him; of course a mechanic cannot need the luxuries others are accustomed to.”

37. A woman … a sinner. Evidently an outcast woman. When she knew. She had them heard before of his compassion and tender mercy. She had learned to believe that there was mercy even for her, for whom earth had no mercy. Brought. How could she enter into the banquet chamber? Kitto says: “There were always many people hanging about the court and the outer parts of the guest chamber, which was wholly open in front. A door is a great hindrance to admission into a room, and where that does not exist people easily slip in.”

38. Stood at his feet behind him. The Jews reclined at table, leaning upon the left elbow, with the feet stretched out behind. With tears. Heart-broken, with a sense of sin and a hope of mercy, her tears fell upon his feet.

39. When the Pharisee … saw it. He wondered that Jesus did not spurn her. He spake within himself. The Pharisee mentally put the Lord into this dilemma—either he does not know the true character of this woman, in which case he lacks discernment of spirits which pertains to every true prophet, or, if he knows it, and yet endures her touch, he is lacking in that holiness which is also the mark of a prophet of God.

40–43. Jesus answering. To the unspoken thought. Five hundred pence. About seventy dollars. Fifty pence. About seven dollars. Had nothing to pay. The small debtor was as 253helpless as the other. We are all insolvent. Forgave. Forgiveness is the only hope of sinners. To whom he forgave most. There is a peculiar gratitude which the restored wanderer realizes, to which the one who has grown up in rectitude must be a stranger. Both may love with all the heart, yet their love will not possess precisely the same characteristics.

44–46. I entered into thine house. How strong the contrast between the indifference of the Pharisees and the earnestness of the penitent! He withheld water; she gave precious tears, “the blood of her heart,” says Augustine. He gave no kiss to his cheek; she covered his feet with kisses. He grudged even a drop of oil; she broke the box of rare ointment for her Lord. He treated him with despite as an underling; she adored him as a prince. The water for the feet, the kiss and the oil for the head were ordinary Oriental courtesies.

47–50. Wherefore I say unto thee. This woman, a great sinner, shows that she is forgiven by her great love. Her faith in Jesus led her to trust for forgiveness. Thy sins are forgiven. The fact which her trust led her to believe and which filled her soul with love is now announced. Thy faith hath saved thee. Her faith brought her to the feet of Christ, a contrite and weeping sinner. Go in peace. All her tokens of penitence and affection could not, even in the eyes of sinful men, wash away the stain of her life, but the grace of Christ led her to true peace, as her abiding condition.—Schaff. 253

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