Jesus Christ lived during the time when the Roman Empire ruled the world. The people of that day lived under the influence, customs, philosophies and manners of the culture they were under. The historians of that day, like our historians, documented the events that took place during that time which were recorded for others to read. There must have been multiplied dozens, if not hundreds of historical documents written about the life of Jesus beginning at that time but for sure dating from the earliest days of Christianity. Many of these writings corroborated one another and were accurate in what they reported about events in the life of Jesus in the time in which He lived. These writings are not extra-Biblical nor do they in any way dispute the life of Christ in what He said and did, but give more details surrounding the event and the setting and historical background. In doing so, these events spring to life revealing the power and majesty of Jesus Christ and His ministry in a stunning way.
When Empires fall, many of the writings and books of that time are lost or destroyed, in the plundering and burning. New empires arise and seek to eradicate the ways of the former. When Roman Catholicism came on the scene, any writings or teachings that did not support the historical doctrines and teachings of the Catholic Church were destroyed. The writings that were left were hidden and for sure anything contradicting the church was not public domain.
The Roman Empire was vast and its teachings and writings were scattered throughout the lands of occupation and not all were destroyed. Most of the historical writings and history of the events of Roman times were concentrated in Europe. You would not find them in tourist attractions or large cities, but primarily in smaller towns, libraries and cathedrals. Researchers in recent years have uncovered volumes of marvelous material depicting those times. In doing so, historical data of the life, times and ministry of Jesus Christ has surfaced shedding light on some of the events recorded in the Bible.
One of the most amazing things is that unbelieving historians reported the facts of some of the miracles of Jesus and in doing so actually showed that the miracle was even more miraculous than the simple Bible account, which was astounding in itself!
In Luke 7:11-17, we read that story of the raising of the widow’s son in Nain which produced a “fear on all” and this “rumor of him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout the region round about”. When researchers uncovered the historical account of that miracle in recent years, we see why this miracle had such a profound impact. First we will read the Biblical account and then look at it through the eyes of those that were there.
“And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him and much people.
And when he came nigh the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said unto her, Weep not.
And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying that a great Prophet is risen up among us; and, That God has visited his people.
And this rumor of him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about.
Raising someone from the dead is an impressive miracle in itself and around the world today the reports are growing of raisings from the dead in Mozambique, Mexico and other places. The culture of unbelief that we live in and the antichrist mindsets of religion try to crucify every one of these reports and even born again Christians scoff at them. The disciples of Jesus that walked with him raised the dead after they were commanded to do so and did so after He ascended and they received the Holy Spirit.
Doctrines had to be created in time to justify the powerlessness of the church and they have produced Christian atheists when it comes to God doing such supernatural things. The Jesus of yesterday is fine but not today and tomorrow. However the Bible says that “greater works than these shall ye do.” The word greater is not greater in number but greater in quality, in degree so to speak. It is related to a word that we get our word MEGA from. The works that believers are to do after the Holy Spirit came were MEGA works, bigger, larger, BEYOND even the kinds of miracles Jesus did.
It wasn’t that Jesus raised a dead man that caused such a widespread trembling and impact. It was who this man was. It was where this took place. It was who was there. Last, but not least, it was the condition of the dead man’s body itself.
On the August 29, AD 28, in the Roman military town of Nain, on the Day of Tribute being commemorated in the Roman Empire, Jesus Christ raised a Roman Military officer from the dead during the funeral procession. The man had no organs in his body when he was raised from the dead. Here is the story.
The city of Nain at that time was not a Jewish city but rather a Roman military garrison, a small city that served as the district and military headquarters of some of the 7th and 10th Roman Legions and families of the officers. Located on the Augustan Way, it was rarely visited by non-military personnel because it was an expensive toll road. Only Roman military and their families were allowed to stay in Nain. Over the years Bible scholars have been puzzled by the term, “gate of the city”, because Nain did not have a gate. The answer to this was that in Roman terminology, the military checkpoint of a city was referred to as “the gate of the city”, so this was a military checkpoint and non-military people were not allowed past the gate except if permission was granted by a high ranking Roman official.
Every year on August 29, the “Day of Augustus”, or the “Day of Tribute”, was set aside in each of the 4 regions of the Roman Empire where Roman military were stationed, namely, Africa, the East, Europe and Rome itself. Special recognition would be given to the 100th soldier killed in battle and while all others who died were cremated, he would be honored in an elaborate ceremony and burial, which symbolically honored all those who died in that region.
Each year the Day of Tribute would be at a different location and in 28AD, it was to be held in Nain under the authority of the Roman Senator Lucenius Appolonius. Somehow Jesus was invited to this event and there are reasons for this which is not the subject of this message.
The body of the dead officer who had been chosen to represent his fallen companions was taken and 30 days before the actual ceremony and from his body were taken the brain, spinal cord, heart, lungs, tongue, eyes and liver. These organs are dried in the sun for 20 days and then placed in a bronze container in a vinegar/honey/myrrh/salt solution. This container would be carried by the Roman Senator at the head of the processional. After the organs were removed, the officers’ body was drained of its’ blood and a vinegar/honey solution was pumped into the body and filled the places where the organs were removed. The body was then immersed and soaked in a spiced/salt solutions and finally in a scented oil and wine solution. That was after it was washed in vinegar. The body stayed that way until the night before the ceremony and then it was dressed in ceremonial military apparel and placed on a gold, silver and brass inlaid cedar bier upon which he would be carried bt the emperors guard to the district seat of Scythopolis, 12-15 miles southeast of Nain and buried outside the city in a carved marble sarcophagus.
There were certain rules to be followed during the procession on the Day of Tribute. It was the most solemn event of the empire. No one was allowed to speak during the processional. Once it started, the processional could not stop for ANY reason. No one was allowed to touch the bier. This was Caesar’s Processional of Honor and to violate any of the above commands was if someone defiled, attacked or molested Caesar himself and that person who did so would be put to death immediately, no matter who it was. Many people stayed away from this event just in case they accidentally did something that was not allowed.
Jesus Christ was raised in the classrooms of the Roman Empire in which he lived and he knew all about the Day of Tribute. As the procession began earlier that day and made its way through Nain, Jesus Christ was approaching Nain by invitation and arrived a bit late just as the bier was passing the “gate of the city”. The “eye hath not seen and the ear hath not heard” was about to take place.
As he came to the checkpoint He saw the widow weeping. Jesus knew that this widow would only be supported for a few months financially, and lived only a few months at the compound and then she would be on her own. Her husband was dead, her only son, a military officer was dead and as Jesus looked upon her, He was overcome by compassion. He placed his life on the line to do what He did next and He also knew all the implications of an act of the freedom of His fathers love that day.
After telling the woman not to cry, he touched the bier, stopped the procession and spoke to the dead corpse. He knew the man had no blood, no organs, and no tongue. The man arose and began to talk! In an instant, the young man was restored to life. The blood was re-created, a new heart, lungs, liver, spinal cord, eyes and brain! In front of a crowd that was almost 99% Roman, Jesus Christ raised the widow’s son from the dead on the Day of Tribute! He had no organs in his body.
The implications of Jesus doing this are many. Remember, how this would appear to the Jews. Rome was their enemy and Jesus raised the enemy, a military man at that on the day celebrating and honoring those fighting for the Roman Empire who the Jews lived under. Rome itself would fear to know that a man possessed this power, a Jew at that. Maybe there would be a revolt. Or what about those who were to protect the honor of Caesar who allowed the laws to be broken doing nothing about it. This miracle was so profound it stirred the regions round about.
Amazing story isn’t it? Is it true? We sing that song, “How great is our God, Come sing with me, How great is our God” and truly He is. This miracle was a WONDER and the hour has come for a display of awe inspiring wonders of God to burst forth in the earth. In the Book of Acts, 1:1, Luke wrote of “all that Jesus began both to do and teach”. Notice the word “began”. That is why He said “GREATER WORKS SHALL YOU DO”.
More stunning, more powerful, more incredible signs, wonders and miracles through a worldwide body of believers wherever they are positioned in society, in their sphere of influence they are placed and the locality they are in. Accessing the realm of heaven through the Holy Spirit by faith, being available as they live in intimacy with God and see what the Father is doing, these lovers of God know they are walking open heavens, the Lord’s Christ, and a gateway of His world invading this world demonstrating His glory.
This miracle took place outside the walls of the church, in front of unbelievers and we are living in an hour where God is renewing the minds of His people and unveiling the true identity and assignment of His body and the glory of God is beginning to to be seen as they Arisse and Shine Now, realizing who they are because of who HE IS. Our God deserves a WITNESS, a declaration of His power, outrageous outbreaks of His compassion and love, Calvary love, underserved releases of His might to fallen, broken and undeserving mankind. What a wonder He is!
Father, this just sounds like you, it is just your personality and You are so incredible, so astonishing, so creative and we just are so in love with You. You are so beyond the physical and earthly limitations that we allow to confine you, so break out Lord, in our lives, all over the planet, just break out everywhere and put yourself on display to and through us. We worship you and believe as never before because there is no god like you and we want to make you known as Jesus did and we will not give in to this antichrist mindset that resists the supernatural, downplays the miracles of your love, relegates them to a long time ago or a time way up ahead and only for a chose few. Shake us God, I mean shake us. We choose to be acquainted with Your heart and passion and out of beholding your Face, establish the greatness and majesty of your person to this world.