Mourning to Mocking
“The crowd flipped from mourning to mocking.”
Mark, in our essay for week 21, used just 7 words to challenge me to the umpteenth degree.
The reason that I was challenged and troubled is the context. It broke my heart!
Mark 5:38-40a, “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.”
Here you have this absolutely horrific situation. A young girl, just 12 years old, has passed away. Everyone is emotional, everyone is hurting, everyone is questioning. This is a place where doubt rapidly grows like bacteria.
In a lot of ways I don’t know if I blame them. It’s hard to fathom the position all of these people are put into. Then the one thing that could actually make a difference shows up, yet there is so much doubt that it flips the conversation from mourning to mocking.
Mark 5:40a. “The crowd laughed at him.”
Imagine that. Put yourself in that position. At this point it had to be no secret of what Jesus was capable of. The scriptures talk about how there is a throng of people, a mass mob following Jesus. There’s a reason that Jairus went to Jesus. They knew what he was capable of!
But they didn’t believe in what he was capable of.
They might have heard the stories. They might have even seen it happen in front of them. At this point they had to have been looking for a miracle, anything to make the situation better. Then it appears that she is dead and they give up hope.
Jesus was the one thing that could change death to life. His showing up should have been a thing celebrated with anticipation of what he would do next. BUT they laughed at him!
This is where the troubling challenge came in.
We, as people, have a horrible habit of mourning, desiring, praying for, asking for, looking for the thing that will change the situation in our lives….. Then when Jesus comes in and intervenes… We laugh. We laugh at the challenge, we laugh at the impossibility, we laugh at the work, we laugh at the idea.
Simply said… We are so afraid of what faces us on the other side of Jesus that we turn our mourning into mocking.
It’s troubling isn’t it? We might not know the plans, I am sure that Jairus didn’t expect for Jesus to say that she is just asleep, but our mentality should lead us down a path of trust not a path of fear. The fear exists because we want to put the trust in ourselves – specifically – what we know and what we have experienced. Trusting Jesus is anything but that. That’s a journey into the unknown impossible. You have no idea how far Jesus can take your situation.
So what do we do? What’s the difference between mocking and mediating?
It goes back to what Jesus told Jairus is verse 36, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Belief. We live in a country that would generally say that they believe in God and what he can do. But is that part of our life? Is that part of our soul? Is that part of every single thought and action? Chances are no.
The social dynamics in this story fascinate me. Let’s go down a momentary rabbit hole. Remember – Jairus is one of the synagogue leaders. Think of him as someone who is on staff at a church. CHANCES are that many of the people that he would be connected to and are at this gathering of mourners are family members and “church” goers. Which then means that these people come from the Jewish culture. Which then means they believe that a messiah is coming to save them, change them, etc. NOW think about it.. This means they believed…. But once they saw Jesus they didn’t BELIEVE. They didn’t see him as the Messiah or a miracle worker. Which then leads them to mocking the very thing that could change the situation.
Not that different from common culture these days though right? We “believe” in Jesus, go to church, have church friends. But when Jesus comes into your life to intervene, call, or push you to something, do you BELIEVE? I hope you do, but many of us don’t because of the fear of what life will look like if we do.
The difference between the mocking and the mediating is a true belief in the power of Jesus.
Interestingly enough – while so many didn’t believe – guess who did? Jairus and his family. I know this because while Jesus kicked everyone out guess who stayed? The people of belief: the girls immediate family and Peter, James, and John.
Out of belief here’s what happens as a reminder.
Mark 5:40b- 42, “After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.”
They were astonished by what Jesus had done. He did more than they could imagine.
The same thing can happen to us. In some form, right now, Jesus is intervening in your life.
He might be saying to believe in the healing miracle.
He might be saying to believe that you can do what he calls you to.
He might be saying to serve in an area that scares you.
He might be saying to give in a generous way that you never have.
He might be saying that he wants to triple the size of your ministry.
At this moment it may be easy to stop and laugh at Jesus because it seems impossible. But it’s not impossible. In fact, with Jesus it’s more than possible. So don’t laugh, don’t mock, don’t have false belief. Believe!!!
That belief will lead to you being astonished by what Jesus can do.