Don’t laugh!

While Jesus was still speaking to the woman, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”

36 But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

37 Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. 39 He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”

40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. 43 Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat. – Mark 5:35-43

Gulls & a Boat | Galveston, Texas | August 2020

“Don’t laugh! Don’t laugh…don’t laugh…” I would do that to our sons when they were little. It worked every time. They couldn’t keep a straight face even in the face of their anger, frustration, or disappointment with me. They didn’t want to laugh, but my command to silence them worked wonders. They would inevitably laugh. It was a good moment. 

It seems quite clear, however, that the people who laugh at Jesus are laughing in derision. They are expressing supreme disbelief in his grasp of the situation, and rejecting any idea that he would be able to raise this 12-year-old from the dead. She’s dead. They know it. Don’t be silly, Jesus, saying she’s asleep. Ha ha!

But the joke is on the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Satan delights in death. He is happy when people die. He is very willing for people to stay dead. This little girl? Let her stay dead. Only problem with all that is Jesus is the Author and Lord of life. Only God determines who lives and who dies. Only God determines the boundaries of life and times of death and life. 

So laugh on Satan. Sneer. Bare your teeth. Hiss and threaten. Laugh at Jesus while you may. You’ll have time to do that for these moments. And there will also come a time when you laugh for three days straight. But that laughter will come to an end. Your laughter will be turned to tears. Your joy into despair, Satan. You might foolishly express your continued disregard for Jesus. You may object. But you will not win.

I don’t imagine that the mourners who laughed at Jesus were intending to ridicule Jesus. I don’t think they wanted the girl to stay dead. I suspect they simply didn’t imagine that Jesus really knew what he was talking about. Or that he could actually reverse the course of death. 

But he could. And he did. The girl was asleep insofar as he was concerned. And so he took her by the hand and raised her up. Jesus is concerned about life, death, sleep and waking. Don’t laugh at his words or promises. Believe!

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