Jesus and the Critics: Mark 5:35-43

Focus Passage: Mark 5:35-43 (NLT)

35 While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”

36 But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

37 Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. 39 He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”

40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. 43 Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.

Read Mark 5:35-43 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Right before Jesus resurrects Jairus’ daughter, we read about a startling reaction the crowd of mourners gives to Jesus following a profound statement. Jesus wanted to stretch how people viewed death, but instead, we read a completely different response. After Jesus tells those present that the girl is not dead but simply asleep, Mark tells us, “The crowd laughed at him.” (v. 40a)

Jesus was being serious, but the crowd didn’t believe Him. They laughed at Him instead.

But Jesus didn’t worry Himself with what others thought. He simply sent them away and then focused on helping those who He came to help.

Mark tells us that this was not the first crowd Jesus stopped in this event. Just a few verses earlier, after telling Jairus to have faith, Mark tells us that Jesus, “stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James).” (v. 37)

And after the crowd in Jairus’ home laughs at Him, we read, “But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying.” (v. 40b)

Jesus had sent everyone away except for three disciples and the two parents. Jesus didn’t need a crowd full of pessimists and mourners present. He needed only a minimum number of believers present for this miracle. This miracle was to foreshadow His own resurrection, but the crowds present – and even many of the disciples had closed minds towards what Jesus was really capable of.

But Jesus didn’t worry Himself with what others thought about Him. He simply sent them away before focusing on helping those who He came to help.

Jesus serves as a role model for each of us. The more we focus on helping people, the more people will take notice, and many people won’t understand. Even the act of helping others will bring critics our way. But Jesus’ example is ignoring the critics’ words, sending them away, and helping those He came to help. When we face people who are critical of what we are doing, ignoring them may be the best option. Ignoring them frees us up to focus on helping those we came to help.

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