11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
16 They were all filled with awe and 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 country.
His closest companions and a large crowd of fans surrounded Jesus. They are heading into the town of Nain. At the gate, they encounter another crowd heading to the tombs. With a double-sized crowd, Jesus notices one person-- the crying mother.
Maybe it’s that same thing that we have felt when we saw a grieving parent at the funeral home. There can be hundreds present, but one stands out to the Lord.
There may be times when you are the one suffering in the crowd. Though surrounded by others who share your grief or sympathize, no one fully feels what you are feeling—except Jesus.
Jesus saw the widow who had experienced so much loss. Her husband was long-gone and now her only son had died, too. She faces destitution with no one left to provide for her. The loves of her life are gone. Jesus notices.
She is crying in deep sorrow and Jesus approaches her with the shocking words, “Do not cry.” Can we even understand Jesus when he requests such a thing? How can she not cry? She has every right and reason to cry.
In this instance, Jesus disregards the five stages of grief from Kubler-Ross. He does not make room for two or more years of working through the loss.
Only Jesus can tell a person to stop crying, knowing what he will do next. He walks over to the dead man’s body and touches him.
To add shock and awe to the insensitive-sounding ‘do not cry’, he touches a dead body making him ceremonially unclean. Jesus does a dirty thing, which religious people would find inexcusable. He touches the dead.
But, it is not unclean for his healing touch brings resurrection life to the man and he awakens from the dead. It is not unclean to touch a living man. Now the ‘do not cry’ makes perfect sense.