God’s Word for You
Luke 7:11 Shunem and Nain
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, February 12, 2018
Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son
11 Soon afterward Jesus went on his way to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd were traveling with him.
The eastern part of lower Galilee is a rolling plain of alternating hills and valleys oriented in such a way that winds traveling between suddenly descend upon the Sea of Galilee, creating unexpected storms (Luke 8:23). Just west of the southern end of the Sea of Galilee is the hill under which Nazareth lies (Luke 4:29). Further south is Mount Gilboa, where King Saul died (1 Samuel 31:1-6). Between are two other high places, Mount Tabor closer to Nazareth, where Deborah and Barak won a great victory (Judges 4:12-16), and the Hill of Moreh, just north of Gilboa. In the Old Testament, the Hill of Moreh was one of the places where God appeared to Abram to give him the promise of the Savior (Genesis 12:6-7). It was also the location of one of the most remarkable miracles of the Old Testament.
It was there on Moreh, in the village of Shunem, that the prophet Elisha met a wealthy but childless couple. Because of their faith, they made up a private room for Elisha on the roof of their home in Shunem, a place where he was always welcome to stay as he made his rounds throughout Galilee and the northern tribes of Israel (2 Kings 4:8-10). The husband was an old man, but the wife was still young, so Elisha prophesied that within a year, she would have a son—and she did. While he was still young, the boy cried to his father, “My head! My head!” They carried him to his mother, who held him in her lap until he died. Then she had a donkey saddled, and went and found the prophet, who came and went into the room where the dead child had been laid. The story is told in full in 2 Kings 4:8-37. Elisha went in and through him the Lord raised the boy from the dead. And Elisha gave him back to his mother.
This miracle was part of a string of miracles performed through Elisha for the people of Galilee. Many of those miracles foreshadowed the miracles of Jesus, each one displaying the glory of God. Once, Elisha changed some reeking, stinking food (“There is death in the pot!” the young men cried) into wholesome stew (2 Kings 4:37-41)—foreshadowing Christ changing ordinary water into excellent wine (John 2:9). Another time, Elisha was enabled by God to feed a hundred men with twenty small barley loaves (2 Kings 4:42-44)—foreshadowing Christ feeding five thousand with five loaves and two small fish (Luke 9:16). Elisha also healed a man with leprosy, parted the Jordan River, and did other things. But raising a dead person was on the most famous miracles of the Old Testament, especially here in the land of Galilee and on the hill on which it was done. By the time of the New Testament, the village of Shunem had all but disappeared, and yet the people remembered the miracle that had happened here. And here on the very same hill, another village had sprung up over time. It was here that Jesus now made his way, with his disciples and a crowd following—to the village called Nain.
Pastor Timothy Smith
To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.