Lord God, Let your continual pity cleanse and defend your Church, we humbly pray, and because it cannot continue in safety without your aid, always preserve and protect it by your help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1 Kings 17 : 17 - end
After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her arms and he carried him up to the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. And he cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the woman with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said. “See, your son lives.” And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”
Luke 7 : 11 - 17
Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.
SEE, YOUR SON LIVES
Two widows separated by the centuries and very different domestic circumstances lose their sons to premature death and then have them miraculously restored to life by divine power.
The widow at Zarephath lived in poverty-stricken conditions so dire that both she and her son were on the verge of starvation when Elijah, at the bidding of the Lord, became her unexpected and long term guest, who through the word of the Lord guaranteed a daily supply of flour and oil from jar and jug for as long as necessary. Together prophet and parent witnessed and experienced the faithful and plenteous provision of God whose promises do not fail.
The widow of Nain, whose domestic circumstances are not disclosed, lived in a town that according to accurate translation could justly be called “Pleasant-ville”, which suggests a village of polite community outlook and pleasing prospect over the surrounding countryside. The grieving mother, unlike the poor lady of Elijah’s knowledge, seemed to have been supported by a great many of Nain’s residents who seemed as though they would have exercised some care over her in her lonely future.
Both mothers were torn by loss. The first suspected the punitive action of the Lord, the second attracted the compassion of the Savior in a situation of tender- hearted sorrow. The widow of Zarephath was sensitive to sin that continued to linger in her conscience and arouse, to some extent, the terror of the Lord. The widow of Nain is quickly consoled by the concern of Jesus and the recovery of her deceased son to an extension of life. One lady endures trauma at the first, and the second lady, at Messiah’s touch of the bier, meets with amazed joy at the rising of her son before her tear-filled eyes.
The administration of divine mercy differs in the accounts before us, but in essence sovereign grace emerges from the same heart of a compassionate Creator and affectionately embraces two deeply wounded souls, recreating their temporal existence, and addressing varying temperaments with a vivid understanding of the Lord’s huge power to vanquish the fearful foe of human death. Elijah, his ready action and fervent prayer prove instrumental in the miracle at Zarephath, and Jesus is personally present at the sign performed at Nain.
Death invades all lives, ranks and residences, rich and poor, with absolute certainty, and no region or room can shut it out and resist its gloom. Neither penury nor pleasant places can resist the inevitable intrusion of the “grim reaper” who stalks, and eventually tracks us down over the course of our sin. There is only one deliverance from, through and beyond the painful death due to our evil and arrogant breach with God, and that is the resurrection power of the Lord granting us birth from above before death, and a safe passage through death to life in the Kingdom where death is forbidden to enter.
These two women were granted infallible faith in God’s triumph over death and his power to reverse it. It is the unique ability of the Lord of Life and the strong consolation of they who trust him. Prophet and Messiah have, respectively, announced and demonstrated the fact of risen life for the people of God. And we have vital testimony throughout the record of Holy Scripture: a) “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.” b) “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” This Visitor shows us the path of life.
From The Epistle For Today [Ephesians 3 : 13 - 21] vv20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.