Lessons Learned From… Mourners and Flute Players

Hello, friends. I have some exciting news to share today. My friend Hannah Gridley has begun a new blog, and she’s invited me to contribute once a month. We’re thrilled at this fresh opportunity to share God’s Word and expound on truths we learn from our daily walks with Jesus.

For my part, I’ll be starting a blog series called “Lessons Learned From…” This series starts right here, right now (well, technically in a minute, after this introduction). My current plan is to write a pair of articles dealing with the same section of Bible verses, taking two different perspectives. The first of the pair will appear right here on Writing to Inspire on the next-to-last Monday of each month, while the second article will arrive on Stones on Fire—Hannah’s new blog—on the first Sunday of each month.

Another way to find a full list of this blog series’ articles will be the “Lessons Learned Blog Series” tab at the top of this blog. (This tab will be developed over the next week or so, as this weekend has zoomed beyond my reach.) Each article will be added to the list as they are prepared to go live, so check back monthly for the newest articles on both blogs.

One more thing about this blog series… the theme picture will be the same for each article. The picture of the campfire goes along with the theme of the new blog, of being stones on fire for Jesus. Also, campfires are welcoming, inviting. They provide an intimate setting for sharing the thoughts that are on our hearts. That’s what I want this blog series—and both blogs—to be: articles that share our hearts with each other and help us to better discover the heart of Jesus.

Without further ado, let’s begin this new journey!

To best appreciate this article, please first read these Scripture references. If you only have time to read one, please see the account in Mark’s Gospel.

Matthew 9:18-26
Mark 5:21-43
Luke 8:40-56
What do we do when a loved one dies?

We mourn. We hold funerals and wakes. We weep and wail. In ancient days, and perhaps in some modern-day cultures, professional mourners and musicians would be hired to make sure the loved one was mourned over properly.

When synagogue leader Jairus’s daughter was dying, apparently the mourners and a few flute players began to gather. By the time Jairus, Jesus, and the disciples arrived—followed by a multitude of people—these musicians and mourners had ramped up into full-fledged grief mode, as the girl had died. Mark called it a “tumult” with wailing and weeping (Mark 5:38), and Matthew mentioned the flute players and “noisy crowd” (Matthew 9:23).

What was Jesus’s reaction to the mourners and flute players?

Jesus called out the mourners and flute players for their noise-making, their “art” of distraction from His purpose of being there. In Luke’s account, Jesus commanded the mourners to “not weep” (Luke 8:52).

After that, He asked them to believe the impossible. They had already seen that the girl was dead (mourners aren’t generally called to attendance unless death has happened or is imminent), yet Jesus defied human logic by telling them the child was “not dead, but sleeping.” By saying this, Jesus was asking them to dig deep within themselves for an ounce of faith. Would they believe that He could perform a miracle for this family as He already had with so many others? Would they choose hope over despair? Would they shift their mindset from negativity to positivity? Would they believe in the One Who had come to save souls?

What did those flute players and mourners choose to do in response to Jesus’s instructions?

“They ridiculed Him.” (Matthew 9:24; Mark 5:40; Luke 8:53)

Apparently, the mourners and flute players chose to believe only what they saw with their eyes (that the girl was dead) rather than what was yet unseen (the coming miracle that Jesus asked them to have faith for). They didn’t expect greatness but, rather, the ordinary, the normal.

What’s worse, they ridiculed (“laugh at or make fun of mockingly or contemptuously,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary) the One challenging them to seek higher expectations than what their eyes and human knowledge said was logical or even possible. Instead of meeting that challenge and rising to the occasion, they decided to make fun of the seemingly-crazy Man talking about a dead girl as if she were merely asleep.

The mourners’ and flute players’ lack of perspective, lack of faith, and their complete ignorance could have changed in that moment. They could have asked for more information. They could have at least gone silent and observed for themselves what Jesus would do. Their lives, their purpose on this earth could have been totally transformed in that split-second.

But all they thought to do was laugh and mock and make fun of Jesus and His higher calling. In their ignorance, they became bullies.

For this negative behavior, the flute players and mourners received negative consequences. Jesus “put them all outside” the house (Mark 5:40). They were sent away from where the miracle of resurrection was about to occur, which means they missed the opportunity to witness Jesus’s working with the power of His Father. The mourners and flute players forfeited the blessing of being direct eyewitnesses to a miracle that left those in attendance of the spectacular event in “great amazement” (Mark 5:42 nkj), “astonish[ment]” (Luke 8:56 nkj), and “utterly astounded” (Mark 5:43 hcsb). The mourners and flute players gave up the right, because of their poor behavior and bad choices, to experience firsthand the absolute awe that is a firstfruit of seeing Jesus work miracles in the power of Almighty God.

Even deeper than that, they missed out on the precious and intimate fellowship Jesus had called them to when He offered for them to be quiet so they could see what He would do next, how He would awaken this girl they knew to be dead. The mourners and flute players had received an invitation, as we all do, to come close and learn more personal knowledge of this amazing Son of Man who became our sacrificial Lamb. Yet, they turned down the offer. By ridiculing Him, they rejected Him. They turned away from His offer of grace and forgiveness for causing a scene, increasing the girl’s parents’ grief, and their own unbelief.

On an eternal scale, their choice to ridicule and the consequences that included missing out on Jesus’s presence and work are devastating and greatly heartbreaking. I mourn for them, for what their bad choices cost them.

However, I don’t want to stop at only feeling sorry for them. I actually want to learn from them, because repeating history here may cost more than a missed miracle—it may cost my soul.

How may we choose a better path than ridiculing Jesus and His higher calling?

Lessons Learned

* Rather than creating distress or distractions for others, we may be silent and observe those who have more knowledge or understand a larger picture than we currently see for ourselves.
* Instead of making fun of or mocking those who choose to believe the impossible, we may opt to embrace the hope and faith they exhibit.
* Rather than become bullies, we may become encouragers.
* Instead of missing out on the experience of a lifetime, we may come close and be eyewitnesses to the incredible miracles God still works around us each day, and we may accept the invitation to a more intimate fellowship with Jesus.

How may you apply one of these lessons to your daily life this week?

The next article in this blog series will be on Stones on Fire on March 3, 2019.
In February, we’re reading about characters who are writers!


8 thoughts on “Lessons Learned From… Mourners and Flute Players

  1. I'm looking forward to more posts in this series. 🙂 I was really encouraged by this one, because the issue of having faith/believing God's Word and in a miracle has been on my mind lately. What stuck out to me is that the mourners' lack of faith didn't cause Jesus to go back on His Word. It wasn't like other passages in the Bible, where He didn't perform miracles because no one believed. Jesus told Jairus that He would heal his daughter, and He did. I'm glad, for Jairus' sake, that Jesus chose to heal the girl despite the mourners' unbelief.I can only imagine what Jairus (who had so much faith in the beginning of the story) thought when he heard of his daughter's death. He believed in Jesus' power; but did he think the girl would die before Jesus could heal her? From an onlooker's perspective–maybe even the mourners' perspectives–Jairus' faith wasn't enough. But Jesus called Jairus to have faith even at the point where everything went wrong. (\”Don't be afraid; only believe.\” Those are such simple words, but so powerful) I kind of feel like I'm at that everything-just-went-wrong part in my situation, so it's encouraging to know Jairus went through the same thing–and had the hope of Jesus' promise to heal her. Anyway, thanks for posting this! I'd love to read Hannah's blog, too, so is it possible for you to add a 'follow by email' option on the sidebar?CutePolarBear

  2. CutePolarBear, thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words. I pray you find courage and increased faith in Jesus through your own situation. May He uplift your spirit and guide your every step.Thank you for the suggestion for Stones on Fire. We've added that \”follow by e-mail\” feature.Blessings!

  3. Andrea and Hannah,May the Lord bless you for your devotion to sharing His love and teachings with others.

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