And they laughed at him.
And they laughed at him, knowing she was dead. (Luke 8:53)
One time, a leader of the synagogue named Jairus came to Jesus and asked him to come and help his 12-year-old daughter who was very sick. As Jesus was on his way to the house, someone came and told them not to bother for the child was dead. Jesus pressed on anyway, telling Jairus, “Do not fear.”
When they arrived, everyone was weeping and wailing for the little girl, but Jesus told them, “Do not weep. She is not dead but sleeping.” And that is when they laughed at him. They laughed at him.
When I read this passage, that line jumped off the page at me. It seems so out of place in the midst of this story. It made me wonder why Luke would include it in the story at all. There must be a reason. They LAUGHED at him! They went from weeping over their loss to laughing at this stranger who seemed to think he knew more than they did. Why did they laugh?
Was it a nervous laugh? A dismissive laugh? A derisive laugh, as if the crowd thought, “Who do you think you are to tell us dead from alive?”
I don’t know. I don’t know why they laughed. But it does make me reflect on my own response to loss and struggle. Can I believe that healing is possible? Can I believe that new life can sprout up out of death? Can I believe that in Jesus Christ, death is not the final word but instead believe that there is something more, something greater, even beyond death? Or will I just laugh, nervously, dismissively, derisively in the face of such hope?
Jesus ignored their laughter, took the child by the hand and said, “Get up.” And she got up. Today, I pray God may give me the power to believe in what seems impossible, and that all my laughter may be the laughter of the pure joy of believing!