Posted by: duncandrews | April 11, 2011

A life and death sermon (part 2): Despair

On Luke 7:11-17. The series so far: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7


The scene opens in verse 11, and Jesus is traveling along, with a crowd following him. Some are his close followers, his disciples; others are just hangers-on, they’re groupies – they’ve seen his miracles, heard his teaching, they reckon there might be something to him, so they’re following him to see what else he might pull off. We’re told in verse 11 that they were all heading for a village called Nain.

If you keep reading, you’ll see that as Jesus approaches Nain, with his crowd in tow, he sees a woman. This woman also has a crowd following her, but it’s a very different kind of crowd. This crowd isn’t following her because they thought she was going to do something amazing. They weren’t her groupies; they were her mourners. Her only son had died, probably that very day.

We’re also told she was a widow. She’d already had to bury her husband, and now she’s burying her son. I’ve got a family – I’m married to Miriam, and we’ve got two beautiful little kids – and my heart aches to think of this poor woman’s situation. Not only to see your spouse die early, which is heartbreaking enough, but to outlive your child. To see the one you’ve raised and loved and given life to, to see them lose their life.

And on top of that, in this society, a childless widow was right down the bottom of the social ladder. Without a family she had no-one to care for her in her old age, no income, no support. There was no Centrelink, no government pension. Her whole future was black.

Here was a woman in absolute despair.


  1. […] On luke 7:11-17. Series so far: Part 1, Part 2. […]

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