February 23, 2017: Laughing at Jesus

Morning: Matthew 9:14-26; Noon: Leviticus 26-27, Numbers 1:1-4:20; Evening: Psalm 35:1-11

Laughter is a gift from heaven. Jesus makes a promise to those who mourn that in due time they shall receive the gift of laughter (Luke 6:21). Laughter is a blessing, a fortune, and a joy to share with one another. The devil, therefore, hates laughter. He turns this blessing into a cold steel blade that pierces hearts and cuts people down.

An example of this is found when Jesus returns to His own city and meets the ruler’s daughter who had just died. When He enters the room the customary lamentations had already begun. There was weeping and wailing according to Mark. Matthew identifies flute players and a noisy crowd. The Chronicles writer notes that after the days when Jeremiah and all the singing men and women lamented for Josiah’s passing, it became a custom in Israel to do so (2 Chr. 35:25). There was no doubt this little girl had died. But despite what the large crowds had thought, Jesus said she was “sleeping.” Obviously, this was a figure of speech. Nevertheless, our witnesses testify that the crowds ridiculed Jesus. This word translated “ridicule,” is derived from the same root word, gelao, “laugh.” They laughed at Jesus. Nevertheless, when the crowd was put outside, Jesus took the little girl by the hand and she rose from the dead.

The thought of laughing at our Lord sends chills down my back. I would never want to be guilty of such a transgression, but I have to wonder, “Do people still laugh at Jesus?” It is much more subtle than the account before us here, but people are still laughing at Jesus. They laugh at Jesus when they laugh at His disciples who bring a message of repentance to turn from sexual immorality, drunkenness, and vain and unauthorized religious activity. They laugh at Jesus when His disciples bring good news of healing in broken marriages, families, political anarchy, and economic troubles. “Jesus can’t help us,” they chuckle, “What could Jesus possibly do?” They laugh at Jesus more than ever before, but our Lord shows Himself true more than ever before now too. Hopefully, we will not be found laughing at Jesus, for it is He who will truly have the last laugh in the last day (Psa. 2:4)!

Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep! (Luke 6:25).

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