Luke 7:11-17

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

November 8, 2000


Tonight we’re going to look at an account of Jesus raising a person from the dead.  That reminds me of a story …


Three buddies die in a car crash and they go to heaven to an orientation.  They are all asked, “When you are in your casket and friends and family are mourning over you, what would you like to hear them say about you?”  The first man says:  “I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor of my time, and a great family man.”  The second man says: “I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher who made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow.”  The last guy replies: “I would like to hear them say LOOK!  HE’S MOVING!”

:11-17  Raising the widow’s son

: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.

went withsumporeuomai – to go or journey together; to come together, to assemble

muchpolus – many, much, large

peopleochlos – a crowd; a multitude of men who have flocked together in some place; a throng; a multitude.  Jesus has been having large crowds follow Him.  They followed Him from Capernaum.

Nain – A city about 20 miles southwest of Capernaum.  See map.

:12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out

carried outekkomizo – to carry out; a dead man for burial

deadthnesko – to die, to be dead; metaph. to be spiritually dead

In Jesus’ day, as well as is the custom in the Middle East today, they would bury a dead person quickly, the same day that they died.  I don’t know if you’ve seen some of these Palestinian funeral processions on TV, but they’re quite similar.

In ancient days, the body would be carried on a pallet or a basket and then placed in a sarcophagus.  The word “sarcophagus” means “flesh eater”, and these were holes cut into limestone rock.  Lime has the characteristic of speeding up the flesh’s decay process and usually within a month, all that is left of a body is bones.  Later the people would bury the bones.

:12  the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

onlymonogenes – single of its kind, only; used of only sons or daughters (viewed in relation to their parents)

This is the same word that is often used of Jesus, as God’s “only begotten” Son.

In a sense, there is a meeting of Two Only Begotten sons.  One is dead, the other gives life.

widowchera – a widow

In the days of Jesus, women did not work.  They could not get a job.  A widow was one of the most defenseless, helpless persons in society.  There was no state welfare.  Without a husband to take care of her, and now without her only son to take care of her, this was a hopeless woman indeed.

much peoplehikanos – sufficient; many enough, enough; sufficient in ability, i.e. meet, fit

Here at the entrance to the city, two crowds run into each other.

One crowd is following Jesus, celebrating life.
The other crowd is following a dead man, mourning death.
Warren Wiersbe writes,
“Spiritually speaking, each of us is in one of these two crowds. If you have trusted Christ, you are going to the city (Heb. 11:10, 13-16; 12:22). If you are “dead in sin,” you are already in the cemetery and under the condemnation of God (John 3:36; Eph. 2:1-3). You need to trust Jesus Christ and be raised from the dead (John 5:24; Eph. 2:4-10).”

:13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.

he had compassionsplagchnizomai – to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity)

We might translate this as “moved with compassion”, or “His heart went out” to her.  He was touched in the deepest part of His heart toward her.

weepklaio – to mourn, weep, lament.  At a typical funeral, people didn’t just quietly weep, they “wailed”.  This is the word that describes her mourning.

Jesus saw her condition and had compassion on her.  There doesn’t seem to be any indication that the woman asked Jesus to do anything.  There is no indication that anyone had requested Jesus to come.  It’s just a divine appointment of the Lord, of the Lord doing on His own what He wants to do.


Jesus cares for the hurting.

Jesus is always drawn to the ones who are hurting the most.
(Isa 57:15 KJV)  For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon writes,

A king sits with his council deliberating on high affairs of state involving the destiny of nations, when suddenly he hears the sorrowful cry of his little child who has fallen down or been frightened by a bee. He rises and runs to his relief, assuages his sorrows and relieves his fears. Is there anything unkingly here? Isn't this very natural? Does it not even elevate the monarch in your esteem? Why then do we think it dishonorable to the King of kings, our heavenly Father, to consider the small matters of his children? It is infinitely condescending, but is it not also superlatively natural that being a Father he should act as such?

But He not only has “compassion” on us, He is moved to do something about it.
He tells her not to weep.  He raises her son from the dead.

One night in 1935, Fiorello H. La Guardia, mayor of New York, showed up at a night court in the poorest ward of the city.  He dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench.  One case involved an elderly woman who was caught stealing bread to feed her grandchildren.  La Guardia said, “I’ve got to punish you.  Ten dollars or ten days in jail.”

As he spoke, he threw $10 into his hat.  He then fined everyone in the courtroom 50 cents for living in a city “where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat.”  The hat was passed around, and the woman left the courtroom with her fine paid and an additional $47.50.

:14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still.

touchedhaptomai – to fasten one’s self to, adhere to, cling to; to touch; of levitical practice of having no fellowship with heathen practices. Things not to be touched appear to be both women and certain kinds of food, so celibacy and abstinence of certain kinds of food and drink are recommended.

biersoros – an urn or receptacle for keeping the bones of the dead; the funeral couch or bier on which the Jews carried their dead forth to burial

they that barebastazo – to take up with the hands; to take up in order to carry or bear, to put upon one’s self (something) to be carried; to bear what is burdensome; to bear, to carry


Jesus is willing to touch the untouchable.

Touching something that has come into contact with a dead person would make you “unclean”.
(Lev 22:4 NIV)  …He will also be unclean if he touches something defiled by a corpse …
I heard this week of an associate pastor in Arizona, Joe Hittle, who was injured at his secular job.  This is the account by his Sr. Pastor, Rob Robinson:

Greetings brothers,

As many of you know, Joe Hittle, who is my associate pastor in Winslow, was involved in a terrible train collision on the 31st.  Joe was the engineer on the train.  I am writing to you from the hotel in Phoenix where we are staying with Joe's wife Elyse.

On Wednesday morning, the doctor told us that they did not expect Joe to make it.  Now, 5 days later, He has  a dramatically improved, removing the need for surgery or other measures.  Every day, there has been between 20 and 30 people in the waiting room, praying, singing, worshiping and loving the Lord and Joe.

People in both Holbrook and Winslow have been drawn closer to the Lord and each other.  There have been  several relationships renewed and restored as a result of Joe's accident, and many of the people that Joe has witnessed to over the years, have been drawn closer to the Lord.

We understand that Calvary's from around the world have been praying for Joe and his family.  Elsie, my wife and I will be staying with Joe and his wife Elyse, here at the hospital in Phoenix  for the next 3 or 4 weeks, until we get a firm word that Joe is going to be alright.

The doctor told us that Joe will be in a medically induced coma for at least 3 to 4 weeks, to give his body time to heal.  Joe broke his scapula, right arm, as well as a bone in his face.  He as 2nd degree burns on his left arm and hand, as well as his entire head.  His worst injury is to his lungs, which are burned down to the 2nd lobe, (the bottom of both lungs.)

Indications are that although Joe survived the initial collision, he went back into the fiery inferno to get his partner out, who was trapped inside.  It is assumed that Joe was burned, as he attempted to rescue his partner, not in the actual collision.  In seeking to rescue the other man, he burned his lungs so severely, that they did not expect him to survive initially.

Now, just 5 days later, it is probable that Joe will survive, after a long period of healing and rehabilitation.

What an amazing story.  Joe was willing to go into the fire, to “touch the untouchable”.

:14  And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.

young manneaniskos – a young man, youth; used of a young attendant or servant

I saylego – to say, to speak

ariseegeiro – to arouse, cause to rise; to arouse from sleep, to awake; to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life; to cause to rise from a seat or bed etc. The verb is an aorist imperative.

A dead person does not cease to exist.  Death is defined Biblically as the separation of the person’s spirit from their body.  Jesus has the ability of calling a person’s spirit back to their body.

Note:  Jesus addresses the dead man.

When Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, He spoke to the little dead girl:

(Mark 5:41 KJV)  And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.

When Jesus raised Lazarus, He spoke to Lazarus:

(John 11:43 KJV)  And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

If you notice, in each case, Jesus specifically talks to the dead individual, addressing them specifically (“damsel”, “young man”, “Lazarus”).  It has been suggested that if Jesus had simply said, “Arise!”, that the graves of the world would have been emptied.  Interesting concept.

:15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.

sat upanakathizo – to raise one’s self and sit upright, to sit up, erect

deadnekros – properly; one that has breathed his last, lifeless; deceased, departed, one whose soul is in heaven or hell; destitute of life, without life, inanimate

to speaklaleo – to utter a voice or emit a sound; to speak; to use the tongue or the faculty of speech; to utter articulate sounds; to talk.

This was no trick.  Dead men don’t speak.  Dead men tell no tales.

he delivereddidomi – to give; to give something to someone.  There’s a sense of tenderness here, as Jesus hands this young man 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

camelambano – to take; to take upon one’s self; to receive (what is given), to gain, get, obtain, to get back

fearphobos – fear, dread, terror

Why fear?

1.  If you’ve ever been to a funeral, just take a moment to think what would happen if the person laying in the casket suddenly sat up and began to speak.  Everyone would freak!
2.  This has happened because JESUS has spoken to the dead body.  He must be someone incredible!!!
That same Jesus is with us tonight.

glorifieddoxazo – to think, suppose, be of opinion; to praise, extol, magnify, celebrate; to honour, do honour to, hold in honour; to make glorious, adorn with lustre, clothe with splendour

is risenegeiro – to arouse, cause to rise; to arouse from sleep, to awake; to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life; to cause to appear, bring before the public

This is the same word that Jesus used to command the dead man to come back to life (vs.14).


Who do you bring glory to?

Jesus followed His own teaching about how to perform good works:
(Mat 5:16 KJV)  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Jesus did this in such a way that the people brought glory to God.  It would have been okay if they gave glory to Jesus, but it seems that their glorifying was aimed at God the Father.
I know that I certainly don’t feel like I’ve got this lesson down yet.  When I sense that God is using me in a situation, I still keep looking for that pat on the back, or for people to say something to me about how wonderful I am.
But there’s something in me that is longing for the day when I’ll be hearing people say, “Oh, the Lord is sooooo wonderful!!”

:16  and, That God hath visited his people.

hath visitedepiskeptomai – to look upon or after, to inspect, examine with the eyes; in order to see how he is, i.e. to visit, go to see one; the poor and afflicted, the sick; to look upon in order to help or to benefit; to look after, have care for, provide for: of God; to look (about) for, look out (one to choose, employ, etc.)

Back in Luke 1, at the birth of John the Baptist, John’s father, Zacharias, used these same words, which the people are seeing fulfilled:

(Luke 1:67-68 KJV)  And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, {68} Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,


God is with us.

This is what Jesus is all about.
(Isa 7:14 KJV)  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
(Isa 9:6 KJV)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
(Mat 1:21-23 KJV)  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. {22} Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, {23} Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Jesus came to bring us to the Father.  He came to bring “God into our midst”.
He took away our sins on the cross, and now has made it possible for us to have a daily, constant relationship with God.

:17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

went forthexerchomai – to go or come forth of

rumourlogos – word; of speech; a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea; what someone has said; anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative

Judaea – the name for the area of Southern Israel, about 50 miles to the south of Nain.

region round aboutperichoros – lying round about, neighbouring; the region round about

Word got around concerning this miracle, not just in the northern Galilee, but even throughout the whole southern part, Judaea.