Very early the next morning, just as the sun is beginning to peek over the horizon, a cry pierces the silence of the sleeping town of Nain. Inside of one house, a mother has been awake all night, sitting on her son’s bed, holding him, rocking, singing, softly crying, praying desperately for the Lord to heal him. But as the first rays of the morning sun start to illuminate the room, the last breath of life slips away from the boy. His mother lets out an agonized cry as she feels her only son leave her. She is a widow, and now childless as well. Hearing her lament, her neighbors awaken with a start and quickly come to her. Gently but firmly they take control of the situation. The boy must be prepared for burial before the sun reaches its hottest and highest point. The women wash his body, trim his hair and nails, and apply ointments and spices, then wrap him in burial cloths. One woman goes to the home of the rabbi, to inform him of the impending funeral. The rabbi dresses and begins the process of gathering the townspeople for the funeral procession. Some of the men of the town make a bier to carry the boy’s body out of the town to the burial caves. The boy’s anguished mother watches the flurry of activity as though through a cloud, paralyzed with grief. She barely notices the women who dress her for the funeral.
With all preparations made, the boy is gently placed onto the bier, and 4 men lift it onto their shoulders. The whole town has come together for the funeral procession, and all the men take turns carrying the boy, who was loved by everyone. His distraught mother stumbles limply by her boy’s side, dazed. There is no money to pay for hired mourners, but there is no need with all the heartfelt mourning of the townspeople. As the procession nears the gates of the little town, it slows. Some people are walking towards them, maybe relatives from out of town? No, they are strangers. They see the funeral procession and stop, talking amongst themselves. Someone comes forward, out of the group. He walks up to the procession, sees the weeping mother and the small wrapped body of her son. His eyes are full of compassion. He takes the woman’s hands, looks into her eyes, and says, “Woman, don’t cry.”
Don’t cry? Her son, her only hope in this life, is gone! The people in the procession begin to murmur about the ridiculousness of this stranger. But something in the Man’s voice…she turns her face towards His and watches as He looks at her son and says in a commanding voice, “Son, I tell you, arise!” Now it seems as if time has slowed down. She turns to her son, not daring to hope. But wait – did his finger just move, or was that a trick of the sunlight? No, he’s sitting up now! She throws her arms around him and furiously works to remove the burial wrapping. “Oh, my son! You’ve come back to me!” she sobs in stunned relief. All eyes, widened in shock, are fixed upon the boy and his mother. The boy, wrapped in his mother’s embrace, looks up at the Man who called him back to her and says, “Praised be the Son of God, the Messiah, the Great I AM! Thank You, My Lord, for returning hope to my mother.” Jesus leans over and whispers to the boy and his mother, something meant just for them that nobody else can hear. Then He turns and walks back to His disciples, who have been waiting for Him outside the gates of the town. The people of the town, disoriented, realize that there is no more need for a funeral, and they begin to gather into small groups here and there, exclaiming over the events they have just witnessed. “It is a miracle!” “Did the boy call Him the Messiah? Do you suppose He really could be?” “Who else could He be? The boy was definitely dead, I helped dress him for burial myself.” “Messiah! Here!” “See how his face is glowing? Just like in the stories about Moses, when he came down the mountain after talking to the Lord!” And the news began to be spread throughout the surrounding area.