Tuesday, March 7, 2023 – Luke 8:40-56

But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. Luke 8:53 

You can tell what someone truly believes based on the way they behave and react in a tough situation. Luke Chapter 8 is definitely evidence of that.  

There are a lot of characters in the Bible, but the one we often do not think about is the crowd. Jesus attracted many of them. Sometimes they got in the way. Sometimes they helped him make the point. In Luke 8, the crowd does the latter. They help us contrast the polar ends of the spectrum when it comes to the impact faith has on us when we are in a desperate situation. At the beginning of today’s section, we meet Jairus, a synagogue leader whose daughter is dying.  

We know he’s desperate. When he meets Jesus, the text tells us he falls at His feet. Just verses later we meet a woman who has suffered from constant bleeding for years. Just like Jairus, she does what she can to get near Jesus and experience the redemption he offers. It is the confident insistence that God can make a difference. 

There are times though when believing is hard. When perhaps life has crushed one’s ability to hope in a better future or to simply buy into the idea that the God of the universe is for us and not against us. In these moments help seems preposterous, and all humanity can do is laugh nervously. 

The laughter reveals a lot. There is no confidence in Jesus' ability to conquer death here. There’s no respect for him or his teaching. The first two characters we meet revere God because of his power. The crowd sees him as a lame duck.  

In the end, the goodness of God wins out and Jairus gets his daughter back while the woman is reinstated into her community. I’m guessing there are smiles all around. The crowd on the other hand has gone from laughter to anything ranging from awe and wonder to skepticism or anger. Whatever their response, they are not laughing now. 

Questions for reflection: 

  1. Ever been desperate for God’s help? How did you approach him? 
  2. What doubts do you have about God and his love for you? (Hint: we all have moments when it is hard to believe he will provide.) 
  3. What can you do to stay focused on who God is and what he has done for you and not find yourself in a season where you may be tempted to laugh at him?