Jesus reunited mothers and children

Posted May 16, 2018

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Daily Scripture

Luke 7:11-17

11 A little later Jesus went to a city called Nain. His disciples and a great crowd traveled with him. 12 As he approached the city gate, a dead man was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. 13 When he saw her, the Lord had compassion for her and said, “Don’t cry.” 14 He stepped forward and touched the stretcher on which the dead man was being carried. Those carrying him stood still. Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, get up.” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

16 Awestruck, everyone praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17 This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding region.

Luke 8:51

51 When he came to the house, he didn’t allow anyone to enter with him except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother.

Reflection Questions

“To lose a child is among the most painful of human experiences…. [As] the woman Jesus encountered in Nain… walked with her community in sorrow, Jesus had compassion for her. When he told her not to cry (7:13), he was not chastising her emotion but extending comfort and preparing her for the resurrection to come.”* Again, in chapter 8, Luke said as Jesus raised a dead child, he made sure the child’s mother as well as her father were present.

  • In Jesus' day, losing an only son was a terrible disaster for a widow. Under Jewish law, only through a male relative did she have legal standing to own property or sustain herself. Jesus saved the widow in Nain from emotional loss, but also from likely poverty and marginalization. What has Jesus saved you from? In what ways does a sense of his loving power at work with and through you give you strength and comfort for each day?
  • Luke recorded the response of those who saw Jesus' action: “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said [cf. 1 Kings 17:21-23; 2 Kings 4:32-36]. “God has come to help his people.” In what ways was their reaction accurate, and a first step toward accepting Jesus' lordship over their own lives? In what ways did it fall short of fully understanding the reach and significance of Jesus' ministry?


Lord Jesus, you said one aspect of your earthly life was to give us a preview of your eternal kingdom. How I look forward to the day when you will restore all lost children to their mothers’ loving arms, as you did in these stories! Amen.

* Ginger Gaines-Cirelli, “Portrait” note on “Widow from Nain” in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Common English Bible, 2016, p. 1300.

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Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden is Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality, teaching at several seminaries. Teaching is her calling, and she looks forward to every day with students. Her latest book (Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness, Abingdon Press, 2017) traces ancient mindfulness practice for Christians today.

In thinking about what Jesus would say on Mother’s Day, I think about Jesus’ own mother, Mary. I wonder if Jesus had her in mind as he reunited this mother and son in Luke 7.

As Protestants, we don’t often give much attention to Mary as the mother of God. Yet Mary calls us to the power of mothering that exists within us all, whether we are mothers or not.  Mary’s way of mothering sets a pattern for discipleship as she walks toward the unknown, her pregnant body itself a challenge to the values and expectations of her culture. She is both a lowly creature and the bearer of God’s life into the world.

What if one way we framed our daily discipleship is to think of ourselves as mothers of God, as carrying God’s love and birthing it into the world?

We hear such an invitation in this quote attributed to the 12th Century Christian Meister Eckhart:

We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly, but does not take place within myself? And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of Man is begotten in us.

I long to be full of grace, carrying God’s Love and birthing it into the world in this time and culture. May we all be mothers of God.

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