If you had seen your pantry miraculously sustained through a severe drought, would that not have been proof enough that God lives and cares for you? The widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17 had witnessed just that for many days (see verses 14-16). But then tragedy struck. Her only son died. She questioned Elijah the prophet; “Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?”
Interesting how quickly she recognized that she was a sinner when faced with tragedy. But don’t we do the same? Something bad happens in our lives and we immediately think, “What did I do to deserve this?” Perhaps it is only when bad things happen that we face up to the fact that we are sinners. Otherwise, we blithely go on our way ignorant of how offensive our sin is to God.
But God had a bigger purpose in mind when He allowed the widow’s son’s sickness to become “so serious that there was no breath left in him.” (see verse 17) God used Elijah to reveal Himself in a greater way to this poor woman. Taking the dead boy to his room and laying him on his own bed, Elijah cries out to God, “O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” I don’t know about you, but I hear sheer desperation in Elijah’s words. “O Lord my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.”
God heard his prayer and the child revived! Then Elijah “brought him down from the upper room…and gave him to his mother.” (See verse 23)
Here is what I find so fascinating about this story. “Then the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.'” (see verse 24—emphasis mine) It wasn’t the miraculous supply of flour and oil that proved it, it was a resurrection.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave was the final proof that He was who He claimed to be—the Son of God with power to forgive sins and grant eternal life to all who believe. Without it all His other miracles counted for nothing. No wonder that the New Testament writers gave such careful attention to the resurrection accounts and that the Apostles preached a resurrected Lord. “To you [the Jews that Peter was preaching to] first, God having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” This is the message of Easter!