Jesus is ridiculed

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The narrative returns to the concern of the ruler Jairus and his failing daughter. Messengers arrive with bad news.

Mark 5:35-40

While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue ruler’s house saying, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?” 36But Jesus, when he heard the message spoken, immediately said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.” 37He allowed no one to follow him, except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38He came to the synagogue ruler’s house, and he saw an uproar, weeping, and great wailing. 39When he had entered in, he said to them, “Why do you make an uproar and weep? The child is not dead, but is asleep.” 40They ridiculed him. But he, having put them all out, took the father of the child, her mother, and those who were with him, and went in where the child was lying.

Jairus was patient. The brief interruption by the suffering woman may have been long enough to allow messengers to reach Jairus with news that his daughter was dead.

Luke 8:49-53

While he still spoke, one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house came, saying to him, “Your daughter is dead. Don’t trouble the Teacher.” 50But Jesus hearing it, answered him, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe, and she will be healed.” 51When he came to the house, he didn’t allow anyone to enter in, except Peter, John, James, the father of the child, and her mother. 52All were weeping and mourning her, but he said, “Don’t weep. She isn’t dead, but sleeping.” 53They were ridiculing him, knowing that she was dead.

The crowds ridiculed and laughed at Jesus. The faith of Jairus was now being tested. He just witnessed the incredible faith of the suffering woman. Now he too needed to believe in Jesus's power to heal.

Matthew 9:23-24

When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players, and the crowd in noisy disorder, 24he said to them, “Make room, because the girl isn’t dead, but sleeping.” They were ridiculing him.

When Jesus said the girl was asleep, he was using figurative language. Jesus and the apostles often spoke of the dead as sleeping.1 Regarding this, C.E.W. Dorris wrote, “He did not mean, either, to deny the fact that she was dead, but to emphasize the truth that death is a sleep.”2


It was customary to hire mourners. Flute players and the crowd made a commotion (Matthew 9:23).

The only disciples to witness this healing were Peter, James, and John (Luke 8:51). These three were also with Jesus at the Transfiguration and in Gethsemane. These three men were his closest disciples.


  • Matthew 9:18-26
  • Mark 5:21-43
  • Luke 8:42-56
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  1. John 11:11-14, Acts 7:60, 1 Corinthians 15:6, 51; 1 Thessalonians 4:13
  2. Dorris, C.E.W., A Commentary on the Gospel According to Mark, Nashville, TN, Gospel Advocate Company, 1973, 134.

Scripture quotations from the World English Bible.