“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise.’ And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.” (Luke 7:13-15)
Jesus healed many when He walked the earth as a man. He healed people as a demonstration of His power and call but also out of compassion and love. Such compassion was the motivation for raising the young man from death here at Nain. He felt this great and deep compassion for this widow who had lost her only son. He was deeply moved by her sorrow.
Throughout the Scriptures the Lord extended compassion to widows and commands His people to do the same. This is because in ancient times poor widows were usually dependent on their children for their livelihood. Consequently those widows who had young children or were childless were in a sad state because they had to earn their living by begging or depending on the charity of their neighbors. They were at the bottom of the social and economic scale. They did not have Social Security or government supplied support to rely on as we do today.
The early Church followed Jesus’ example and extended compassion and charity to widows and orphans, people who had no other resources. Such charity was one reason people were drawn to the church. Indigent people experienced the love of Christ through His people all without governmental oversight of assistance. And their charity formed the basis of all modern charitable institutions. The church is still called to minister to all those who are considered outcasts relegated to the lowest levels of society, not just the poor or widows, but to all those abandoned by the rest of society.