They laughed…

by DanWolgemuth on January 10, 2020

“…they laughed at him” (Mark 5:40)

Humor was not the inspiration for this laughter. There was nothing funny or entertaining that ignited this reaction. This was pure skepticism. Arrogance, perhaps. And probably not entirely unwarranted.

A twelve-year-old girl. Dead.

Death picked the daughter of a prominent leader. Indiscriminately.

The mourners were out. The tears flowed. Wailing filled the air.

Then Jesus. Presumed to be naïve or foolish or overconfident. Jesus.

“Napping.” “Just resting.” “Sleeping.” Was his pronouncement.

This was not a gap in information flow, a breach in communication. He knew. The report had interrupted his travel.

The stark and painful news had highjacked the hope of Jairus, the father, the requester, the guide… on his way home.

The unplanned interruptions to the journey had exhausted the waning hours of life. She was gone. Twelve years old and lifeless.

Jesus overheard. He entered in. He extended, what must have felt like a thread of hope… “Do not fear, only believe.”

Believe what?

There had been no promises made and no commitments given. Believe what?

First, believe that Jesus wouldn’t abandon the journey. Desperate news couldn’t hijack his agenda. Jesus wasn’t about to leave Jairus. In his grief and confusion and pain… Jairus had a companion. The companion.

His hope had a pulse, because Jesus was with him. At his side. On the trail. Each step. Every dusty, difficult and gut-wrenching step.

Then commotion. Chaos. Wailing. A house, now a funeral parlor.

Then the words of Jesus. Words that seem grossly uninformed. Outrageous really. Insensitive to the family. Offensive to the mourners.

“Sleeping.”

Then laughing. Mocking. Jeering. Sneering. Anger.

Thoughtfully, Jesus dismisses the skeptics. This is not a road show. It’s a sacred moment. A cosmic moment. A tender moment.

A touch. A salutation. A word of instruction.

“Arise.”

Long before Jesus walked away from his own tomb, he flexed his death-conquering power. Long before he returned to his Father’s side, he stood by another father… with hope, in love, with power.

And in this story Jesus reminds us, he invites us… to stay the course in the face of skepticism. He illuminates the fact that transformational hope is often greeted with jeers. Maybe even jeers from our own soul.

Doubt prefers to mourn the obvious. To live with death. To cling to despair.

Then Jesus. Hope is not dead, it’s just sleeping.

A pulse. While the mourners wail. A heartbeat.

In the days of painful doubt. A companion.

In the face of mounting fear. A voice.

Arise!

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