JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More travels to Nain, where his compassion for a grieving widowA widow is a woman whose spouse has died, often plunging her into poverty and putting her in a vulnerable position in society. Jesus, in his concern for the poor, regards widows with compassion and concern. More leads him to return her only son to life.
Many aspects of this story direct readers’ attention to the widow. Without a husband or any sons, she likely faces a dangerous and vulnerable future, because in her culture women usually relied upon male relatives for their social and economic well-being. In restoring her son, Jesus not only soothes her grief, he also restores her chances of surviving within society. There is no indication that the miracle has anything to do with anyone’s faith; Jesus is motivated simply by compassion for a widow facing a future of jeopardy.
LukeThe "beloved physician" and companion of Paul More clearly crafts this episode to resemble the story of ElijahA miracle working Israelite prophet who opposed worship of Baal. More and the widow in Zarephath in 1 Kings 17:8-24. Elijah prays to God for this widow’s dead son to return to life, while Jesus effects the miracle in Nain on his own. Both miracle stories conclude with the statement, “He [the miracle-worker] gave him [the son] to his mother.” These similarities are not lost on the crowd that witnesses Jesus’ miracle outside of Nain’s city gateGates are openings in walls or fences for entrance and departure. In the Bible (as in Ruth and the prophets) the city gate was a commercial center where business and social transactions took place. In Amos the gate is the location of the law court... More, as people proclaim Jesus to be a “great prophet” in 7:16. Their statement is not wrong, for Luke often emphasizes Jesus’ similarities to the prophets in Israel’s history. In Acts 3:22, PeterThe disciple who denied Jesus during his trial but later became a leader in proclaiming Jesus More even identifies Jesus as the “prophet like Moses” spoken about in Deuteronomy 18:15.