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  • Writer's pictureWil Librizzi

Devotional: Profesional Mourners

Professional Mourners

He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.”40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, He took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Mark 5:37-41

Jesus is called to the scene of a tragic and heart wrenching event. Note how the Savior responds to the situation; there are lessons to behold. First, it is intriguing to observe that Jesus chooses three men to enter the home with him. This subtle move may not be particularly noteworthy, until we consider this act from a relational perspective. For, as we look deeper it becomes clear that in choosing three, he was in fact, not choosing nine. Did you get that? Jesus did not choose Nathaniel, Matthew, or Thomas, and so on. He chooses Peter, James, and John. We are not sure why He chooses those three or even why He did not choose all nine. Perhaps the walk- away message is that God has a will and a destination for all of us, and that is His choosing and not ours. So, in some cases, we are part of the three, and in some cases we are part of the nine. But in every case it is His doing and His will. When we submit to His choosing, we put our trust in His will and plan for each event in our lives.

The second significant act in this scenario deals with the “mourners” who are dismissed by Jesus. At times, the spiritual act is to dismiss those not part of the miracle of God. These were actually professional mourners, called in to be with those who have significant loss. Their role was to provide an atmosphere of comfort and mourning. While their craft had temporary impact, it lacked the power to transform or change since they were not personally invested in the loss but were paid to be there. When it comes to impact, passion and investment will always separate the casual observers from the difference makers.

The natural will always becomes agitated by the supernatural. So what did Jesus do? “He put them all out” so that not one of these professional mourners remained in the room. This “theater of mourning” lacked the empowerment to change the situation for those suffering. And, in fact, created an unwanted distraction from the miracle that was about to take place. These professional mourners may provide a mental and emotional massage; but when their lack of true empathy is confronted, their response is to laugh at the very transformation of heaven and the resurrection from the dead, all while in the presence of God.

Jesus recognizes the poignant need for privacy in a time of pain. He dismisses the theater of false empathy and selects three of His disciples to witness the miracle of resurrection. False empathy has no room in the life of the Spirit- filled believer. He calls us to be the few who have divine power and heartfelt compassion. Yes, we must be empathetic. To feel the pain of those around us. But we must move beyond the “natural” empathy of the powerless masses. No, the call is to be both empathetic mourners who are engaged in heaven to such a degree that the dead are raised and the lost are found.

Father, in Jesus name, I ask that I would be both empathetic and energized by the Spirit of God. The world around me is hurting. Daily I come across those areas of death, that require both a caring heart and an empowered prayer. I believe you still raise dead situations. So, today, I ask that you would lead me to areas of death, so that I might be a means, and extension of you, to bring about resurrection life.

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