The Native: The Shepherd King
11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow:and much people of the city was with her.
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
14 And he came and touched the bier:and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
16 And there came a fear on all:and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.
There are four words I’d like to focus on in this event in the life of Jesus. They are Nain, Widow, Not, and Rumor. The first comes from a Greek word for beauty. It says that the word is originally from a Hebrew word meaning pasture. In the definition it uses a phrase, “abode of shepherd”.
This village, located at the mountain called Little Hermon was not far from Nazareth. This lady, and her son had lived in the vicinity of the Shepherd King for an untold period of time. They spent their lives in a place known as beauty, and pasture, oblivious of the fact that He was so near.
When we look at the word widow, it’s definition appears very obvious. However, the translator added a footnote that gave a new insight to it. It explained that, metaphorically, a city stripped of its inhabitants, and it’s riches, is represented in the figure of a widow.
It’s no coincidence that to this day, when we think of Nain, we think of her. The Scripture even says that much people of the city was with her. You see it wasn’t only the Widow who needed a miracle. The city needed a Shepherd.
The problem is of course, Shepherds don’t usually live in cities. They may pass through them, but Shepherds are usually found in the fields. There were exceptions, one in particular comes to mind. It was a different city, Jerusalem by name, that had a resident Shepherd. His name was David. What Nain probably didn’t know, was that this Shepherd and that one had a lot more in common than a birthplace called Bethlehem.
The Root and The Offspring Of David didn’t wonder into this city. If you’ll excuse the pun, He flocked to it. You see, The Shepherd always goes where the sheep are hurting. He went there to quiet the cries of a Mother. I find it interesting that, not too far in the future, another Mother would need her tears wiped away. That Momma would be His own.
There is no reference of an interaction with Joseph the Carpenter after The Lord is twelve years old. While we don’t know for certain, it is highly possible that Joseph passed before Christ started His Ministry. If that’s the case, the One who returned the widow’s son to her, may have been the Son of a widow Himself.
We know that God is strategic, we know His first Miracle was at the wedding in Cana. That means, if Joseph died before that, He had to stand by His own grieving Mother and allow it to happen. We feel helpless so many times when we are powerless to change something. Can you imagine how hard it was to have the power to alter something and have to let it happen for our sakes? The timing of the start of His Ministry was no accident, it was ordained.
When the reference is to a Shepherd, I can’t help it, Psalm 23 comes to my mind. It also brings with it a problem. If the city Nain, in the Hebrew means pasture, then we have an issue. According to Psalms 23, there is rest in the pasture.
Death is in a valley, not on the side of a mountain. Like the Widow, what do you do when your mountain turns into a valley? It is then that you need someone who knows how to deal with tragedy, no matter where it happens, or what it is.
If you are already in a battle when a crisis occurs, it’s not easy, but you’re a little prepared. What do you do when one minute you’re on the mountain of victory, and the next you’re picking up the pieces of a broken future? That is when you need The One who returned Isaac safely to Abraham on Mount Moriah.
He had compassion on the Widow. He had compassion, told her to weep not, and touched the coffin. The word not there is translated “God forbid.” Need I say more? Death, you may one day part these two, but not today, and not this way! To paraphrase, The Lord Jesus was saying, “If it had happened yesterday, you may have gotten away with it. If you had tried, it may have worked. The problem is that today is the day of Salvation!”
The people carrying the dead stopped, and then He spoke. Christ didn’t come to only raise the dead, but to alter the route of those heading for the grave yard. If you’re on your way to trouble, I would advise you to stop and listen to The Master speak. He will not only save, He will prevent some battles, when we listen.
Jesus said, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” Notice that, He didn’t just say Arise. He said “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” First, He never spoke to death. Death had the young man, but the only recorded conversation between Christ and death was reported by Paul later. “O death where is thy sting?”
This tells me that death had no choice in the matter. God spoke to the soul of the young man. He returned him to his body. Whatever is holding you, has no power to keep you, once The Master releases you. That doesn’t mean we won’t fight battles, but it does mean that our victory is secured!
Second, He was saying to the young man, “You need to know who is speaking. This isn’t a hireling talking, this is The Messiah. The same One who created life, still knows how to restore it. The Lord Jesus is still powerful enough to walk into the trial that you think will bury you, and turn it into a celebration.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Last of all, is verse seventeen, and the word rumor. The amazing thing is that the Greek for rumor here, shares it’s meaning with a word found in John’s first chapter. The word rumor comes from Logos, just like in John one concerning The Word.
Too often, I’ve wondered why a battle had to happen, or why I had to face a certain trial. That was until the completion brought The Gospel to another soul. Judaea comes from Judah, which means Praise. If you’re fighting for your survival, and can’t understand why you’re facing what you are, take courage. Perhaps the tears you’re crying isn’t for you, but for someone who needs to see you still abiding in the city, even when it’s far from easy.
God wants His word to feel every heart, that is why He endured Calvary. If my trial will further The Gospel, then let us walk it with joy. Joy, not for the suffering, but for the result. The Lord wants every man and woman to know what it feels like to go from death to life. To meet their new Mother called the Church, and to rejoice in the kingdom of The Shepherd King!