The Last Laugh

JairusgirlSometimes life laughs in your face.

Sometimes people do too.

Take a risk, attempt something unusual, break from the status quo, express something out of the ordinary and you will inevitably become the butt of scorning laughter.

Jesus did.

Resurrection Sunday causes us to realize the power He held over death. But He had clearly demonstrated it before when he brought people back to life.

  • The Widow of Nain gets her son back…restoring future.
  • Mary and Martha get their brother Lazarus back…reversing despair.
  • Jairus’ gets his daughter back…renewing hope.

It is this last one in particular that is difficult.

Jairus, a religious ruler but apparently good man, hunted Jesus down in desperation. His 12-year-old daughter was ill to the point of dying. He had heard that people who got near the Galilean Healer were made well. So he found Jesus. He threw himself at the Master’s feet and begged for the healing of his daughter.

What father wouldn’t?

Jesus was touched and quite willingly went with the desperate father to see the dying girl. On the way Jairus got word…the girl was dead. It seemed so final that his friends simply said, “Don’t bother the teacher anymore”.

Hope had left the building.

But Jesus went anyway…because He has never been afraid of hopeless situations.

He arrived at the house to the painful sounds of family and friends mourning the death of the girl. It’s what he says next that makes him the object of abusive laughter.

“Why are you crying? She isn’t dead, she’s asleep.”

Mark records the response: “so they started making fun of him”. The old King James said: “They laughed him to scorn.” The Greek word is harsh. It means derisive laughter.

Why did they laugh at Jesus? Because “they knew she was dead”.

To Jesus raising her up was no more difficult than waking her up. He lived in overarching eternity now. But to those mourners, now was all they had.

Jesus was confronting their accepted assessment of the situation. Rather than open the door of possibility that something else, something bigger, something eternal could be happening—they simply laughed at Jesus.

Just a side note: it is never a good idea to laugh at Jesus!

He put all the mourners out and with utter simplicity commanded breath into the little girl’s lifeless body. She lived.

He told her parents to feed her—in other words, get things back to normal—and then headed out with the living girl in hand to confront the laughing crowd.

Awkward!

Jesus is always a challenge to what we “know” to be true. He simply wants us to learn how to believe Him above the obvious, normal and accepted realities.

When we do, we see entirely new and undiscovered horizons. When we don’t, we face the uncomfortable times when He is proven right and we are left sucking wind.

When death gives way to life, Jesus gets the last laugh.

 

(Thoughts from Mark 5:21-43.)

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