Episode #91 The Widow of Nain & The Real People of the Bible – Noticing God

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From Today's Episode:

Welcome! We're in our Noticing God Series and today's topic is The Widow of Nain & The Real People of the Bible.


Luke 7:11-16

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God, what are you showing me here about who you are?

Here's the episode transcript

Hey friends, we are continuing in our series of noticing God in scripture and one of the things that I have found is a common pitfall to noticing God in scripture actually has to do with the other people whose stories are recorded here. And this problem arises when we only think of them as characters, and we only think of these accounts as stories.

I have no problem with the phrasing Bible characters. I use it myself. And the Bible is God's grand story of loving redemption. And there's a variety of literary forms that are incorporated in the Bible, and I'm not going into all of that today. But when we're talking about the stories of people who interacted with God, these were actual people. The stories that are recorded for us are for our encouragement and our instruction and for cultivating hope.

But the impact for them was not just that they were part of God's story for his holy word to be shared with believers for generations. They were part of God's story for what God wanted to do in their lives personally in that actual moment. In the way that I grew up, and I grew up in the church, I thought of Bible characters as characters used to teach me a story. I would think of them as stories that were all for me, when in reality they began as person to person ministry from the person of God to a living and breathing individual.

I'll never forget the first time that reading a Bible story became an experience I shared with Christ. And it was the first time that I saw the record of a Bible character as being the account of Jesus's ministry to a specific person. I still remember sitting there with my Bible open reading a passage of scripture that I had read countless times before this and I wept.

I cried tears of gratitude for what Jesus did for this widow. Like she was my friend, like I knew her in real life. And that happened because one, I believe God brought revelation of himself, and two, I think it happened because I slowed down to sit in her story long enough to remember that she was a real person. To consider what it would have meant for her to interact with God.

There's so many details that are left out of biblical stories. We get these small snippets into their lives, but God met them with the same heart that he meets us with in our lives today. His ministry to us is personal and intentional and timely, because God knows us intimately, because God wants to reveal himself to us.

As we grow in the awareness of the real people who interacted with God in the Bible, his character, his nature, his ministry gets highlighted and becomes more vibrant in our awareness.

And so I'm going to actually give you our question today before I read our passage of scripture. I encourage you to use this question now as I read and later in your own times of Bible reading or even just as you go throughout your day.

God, what are you showing me here about who you are?
I'll read for us from Luke 7:11-16.

“Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 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. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us!’ and ‘God has visited his people!’” (Luke 7:11-16 ESV)

In this story of the widow of Nain and how Jesus raised the widow's son, there are so many details we don't know about her. We don't even know her name. But God knew her. God met her personally. He was invested in her life. And he revealed himself to her in an unmistakable way.

I wonder what God wants to show you about how he is on display in this story. I wonder what God wants to show you about how he is on display in your life. About how God is with you too.

God, what are you showing me here about who you are?

Have a good talk.

And if you've been encouraged by this content, please share it with a friend and help them grow in their conversational relationship with God too!

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