We find Jesus with a crowd of followers entering the town of Nain, and they are met by a funeral procession that is leaving town. At the city gates, a mother is weeping and pained by the loss of her only son. Many mourning parents who have shed the same tears as this mother testify that nothing compares to the devastation of losing a child. But we are quickly told that this is not the only loss she has endured. Her son’s death was preceded by that of her husband. Coupled with the lost is the socio-economic setting where women encounter gender inequality in property ownership, job opportunities, and access to resources. When the funeral procession ends, the crowd will depart, and she will have to return to the agony of another empty chair at the dinner table. She will have to face the reality of having no food to feed herself. How will this woman care for herself and any remaining members in her family? The reality of widows in the ancient world is life-threatening at worst, helpless most of the time. It is made very clear that the widow will now have no means of economic support: both her husband and her only son are dead. The woman is bereft not only of a son, but of any means to sustain her own life.
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