Jesus, Kids with Special Needs, and their Parents, Part 2
Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents form a popular trio in the gospels. As parents raising children with disabilities, we can learn a great deal by studying their interactions. Today guest blogger Mark Arnold returns for part 2 of his series about Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents to help us study the story of Jesus raising the widow’s son from the dead in Nain.
What Happened in the Story
The story of Jesus raising the widow’s son is recorded in Luke 7:11-17. Jesus travelled to Nain and encountered a funeral procession for the only son of a widow has died. The sight breaks Jesus’ heart and he tells her “Don’t cry.” He approaches the dead son and commands him to get up. Life returns to the boy. He sits up and talks before Jesus reunites him with his mother. The observers are filled with awe and praise God.
How the Mom and the Crowd Acted and Reacted
Grief: The mother is filled with grief because her only son is dead. She is already a widow, she knows grief, and she is now alone.
Respect: The passage says a large crowd is with her. She must have earned the respect of her community for them to turn out in such numbers.
Confusion: The widow was a bout to bury her only son when Jesus approached her. When he told her “Don’t cry,” she must have been troubled and confused. She must have wondered what was going to happen?
Transformation: In the first miracle of his ministry, Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead. He went on to bring life back to others, but this was the first. Not only was her beloved son restored to life, but the mother’s future was transformed into a more secure and stable one.
What We Can Learn from Jesus, Kids with Special Needs, and their Parents
There are two key messages for us here. The first is that the mother, in her grief, was surrounded by her community. This should lead us to ask who is in our community. Who can we reach out to when we are facing tough times? Who will journey with us? The second message is that sometimes Jesus commands us to do something unexpected in tough times when we feel overwhelmed. Will we obey, listen, and wait to see what he does? Or will we ignore him, dismiss his words, continue in our grief and sorrow? If we do the second, we risk missing out on the good he intended to do.
Mark will be back in a few weeks with the third installment in this series about what we can learn from gospel accounts of Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents.
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By Mark Arnold
Mark Arnold is the Additional Needs Ministry Director at Urban Saints, a leading national Christian children’s and youth organization. He is co-founder of the Additional Needs Alliance, a national and international advocate for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities. Mark is a Churches for All and Living Fully Network partner, a member of the Council for Disabled Children and the European Disability Network. He writes an additional needs column for Premier Youth and Children’s Work (YCW) magazine and blogs at The Additional Needs Blogfather. He is father to James, who has autism spectrum condition, associated learning disability, and epilepsy. To find out more about how Mark’s work can help you, contact him at: email@example.com or @Mark_J_Arnold.
Part 4 of the series about Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents explains when it’s right and worthy to push back for our kids well-being.
When Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents gather, we learn how valuable our families are to the God who loves our children as they are.
The gospels tell 5 stories of Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents. Mark Arnold’s series looks at what parents today can learn by studying them.