Laughing at Jesus, Jairus a ruler of the Synagogue and His Daughter

There was a thought sent to me just this week in reference to a specific statement in Luke 8:54, where in the New King James Version says, “But He [Christ] put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.”

The statement was, “Peter, James & John all got thrown out of Jairus’ house for laughing at Christ because he said “she only sleeps”. That had to hurt both Him and them.”  Of course, the heavy hearts of the Savior and the 3 disciples would indeed be paramount to an appreciation of the passage.

What a great thought, given the wording of the gospel of Luke in this translation.  It is imperative that we put ourselves in the shoes of primary characters in various passages of scripture so we might insight into how they felt.  This is especially true when it comes to Christ, in spite of our finite understanding of how he might feel in a given situation.

A word of gratitude goes out to the author of the thought who is doing exactly what should be done.  Thank you to the WBChurch family for continuing to express questions and thoughts about passages they are studying.

When first read, the statement did give pause, albeit a sensitive observation.  Wait, was there a time when the disciples were so dismissive that Christ ordered their exit from the work of a miracle?  How does that fit with the other miracles and their stated purpose to validate the message and the messenger?  What would be the lesson learned under that situation?  Lastly, if all were asked to leave the room [3 apostles and the parents], who was left to be commanded to give her something to eat in vs. 55?

Let’s see if answers can be found for those questions.

First, is there clarity that can be found in the other gospels’ account of this event?

  • Matthew 9:18-26 has the same account, but a little less details.  The Apostles and the parents are not mentioned here, other than when the news of the girl’s death was first reported to Christ.  Vs. 23 does give insight to the scene upon arriving at the house of Jairus when it says, “…Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, [vs. 24] He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.  And they laughed him to scorn. [vs. 25] But when the people were put forth…”  Here the wording seems to clearly indicate the scorning for Christ’s statements was done by the minstrels and people making noise and were; therefore, the ones “put forth.”  So here, it does not seem to indicate the laughing was being done by the Apostles or parents.
  • Mark 5:21-43  is yet another instance of this narrative.  Here again we have the account of arriving at Jairus’ house [this does say that Peter, James, and John came with Christ] and finding a “…tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.”  Again, no mention of the Apostles or the parents specifically being a part of this “tumult.”  Here he said to the “tumult,” “Why make you this ado, and weep?”  They laughed, he put them all out, took the father and the mother of the damsel and those that were with him [the 3 Apostles] into the house, took her by the hand and said, “Talitha cumi.”  Here specifically, we see that the Apostles actually went in with him, after the scorning, after all the others were “put out.”

So what is happening in Luke 8 when it seems to suggest the Apostles were culpable for the scorning offense and removed from the room?

A quick look at other translations besides the King James and New King James seems to have left out that phrase in vs. 54.  Of course, vs. 51 indicates he excluded the multitude that was at the house carrying on, but does say clearly that he took the Apostles in with him.  In the New King James Version there is a superscript note “NU” that is found with the phrase in question in vs. 54.  According to the New King James Version translaters, “These variations from the traditional text generally represent the Alexandrian or Egyptian type of text…”  They explain that the more authoritative manuscripts we now have access to [specifically the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament and the United Bible Societies’ third edition, NU] have the text without that phrase inserted.

So, of all the 3 gospel accounts in all the translations, the only place where the wording seems to implicate the Apostles in the chiding of Christ’s statement and being removed from the room is the King James based translations and their limited manuscripts.  All the other accounts seem to make it clear that the Apostles were brought in to witness the miracle and not implicated in the ridicule of Christ.

So, if they were not, then what answers do we have to the questions above?

  1. The disciples don’t seem to have been involved in being dismissive
  2. The Apostles once again witnessed the authority and power of Christ, even over death itself [along with the parents]
  3. The Apostles and the parents were in the room when Christ asked for someone to get her something to eat
  4. The lesson?
    • Don’t limit or doubt what Christ said He will do for you.
    • Always remember that Christ is in control, even when things seem hopeless
    • Christ has power and authority over life and death
    • Christ is compassionate
    • Christ is worth trusting
    • When life is at its worst, always go to Christ
    • Christ will always reach out to you when you come to Him
    • Christ always keeps His promises

I hope this helps shed some light on this passage in Luke 8.  Thanks to the WBChurch member who reached out with this observation.  May we all continue to reach out to the Lord through the reading and studying of His Word.

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One Response to “Laughing at Jesus, Jairus a ruler of the Synagogue and His Daughter”

  1. misterglennw Says:

    This is excellent! I hope questions keep pouring in!! Thank you!!

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