HE GAVE ME BACK MY SON (Lk.7: 11-16)
I was a widow and lived in Nain. It was a pleasant and delightful hamlet. It was located on a small hill and compared with the blessed Mount Hermon – the Mountain of the Gods. There was something mysterious and secret about that huge mountain. Especially it’s early dew contained magical powers of growth. Our small mountain was equally blessed with dew that watered our vegetation and fruit trees. We also had groves of olives and fig trees watered by a spring. While my husband was alive, we had it good. But when he was taken from us in his prime, things changed drastically. My husband owed no property. And without collateral, no man would marry me. But as long as my son was healthy and able, we did manage to meet all our needs. One unexpected day, death took my son and left me in shock. What had I done wrong to be punished so harshly? For this was the way people believed.
Well, I had some friends who comforted me. Some tried to be helpful, but were clumsy at it. There were some that should have stayed away from me and some that should have kept silent. I noticed, that those who had never experienced any losses had the most to say. Those who had similar tragedies to mine said very little. No matter what any one said, no one could replace my losses of husband and son. There was nothing more horrifying in Israel then to be left childless. With my son being dead, my husband’s name and my family name were now extinct. I had nothing to show for my labors and no hope for the future. And there was no system or support group in our time that provided for widows. Under the great Kings of Israel, women who lost their husbands in wars could become distant wives of the kings or at least be supported from the king’s treasury. But now, our men died at the hands of Herod or Rome without compensation. That is what I faced when my son was being carried out of town and down the hill to our cemetery.
We were leaving our town gate and a large crowd followed us. My son was more popular than I realized. Just as we were going down the hill in the direction of our cemetery, another group of people met us. At first, I thought they may have been some friends of my son from another town that had come to bid farewell. But before I had any other thoughts, their leader headed towards me and said to me very compassionately, “Do not cry.” The Man was a total Stranger. Yet, I felt that I had known Him all my life. There was something very gracious and tender about Him. I felt that He understood my situation. But I hardly imagined what He could do. What was taking place in the next few minutes stunned us. Nothing like that had ever happened in Israel. We had heard that the Prophet Elijah would come back and raise the dead. Someone muttered, “It is Elijah.” The man in His long seamless robe said nothing. Instead, He touched the casket of my son and everyone stopped as if they were frozen. We were all stunned at what was happening before our eyes.
Then, this miracle Man commanded that my son get up. He said to him, “Young man, I am telling you, get up!” We gazed in amazement when my son began to raise himself up and began to speak. Then He lifted him out of the coffin and handed my son over to me. He did it without saying a word. He did not have to. What He did said it all. He was a man of superhuman action. Even without inquiring who He was, the people of my town began to praise and thank God for this Prophet. We all saw in Him a man of God in our midst. In Him, God had come to help us. And I, of all people, was found worthy of being a beneficiary. When He gave me back my son, I disposed of all the wrong guilt feelings I had. I knew then that God had a special reason why my son had to die and be brought back from the dead. Because of what happened to my son and me, many of my people began to believe that this Man was the Messiah of Israel. Later, the members of His group informed us that His name was Jesus and that it meant Savior. What was so overwhelming was that God had chosen one of our own people.
The return of my son from his slumber changed our world. We became celebrities. People from all over went out of their way to go through Nain just to meet us. They had never met any one that had returned from the other world. They wanted to know how it felt to be dead and how he could hear Jesus’ voice? They wanted to know what neither my son nor I knew. We all wanted to know, but for some reason my son had no memory of what took place while he lay in the coffin and waited for burial. For one reason or another, Jesus restored my faith in God’s promises. He gave us another chance to be counted in this world. Our God is a God of miracles. What a day we had!