No-one beyond hope

A synagogue official came to Jesus to petition for the healing of his daughter who was dying. On the way to the official’s house, a messenger came to tell the official that his daughter had died and that Jesus was no longer needed.

Jesus proceeded to the official’s house while telling the official not to be afraid but to believe.

Upon reaching the house, Jesus tells those assembled to stop weeping because the girl has not died. Their response was laughter.

They laughed at him, because they knew she was dead.

Luke 8:53 (CSB)

(c) Can Stock Photo / devon

We have to keep in mind that in that culture, people knew what death looked like. People did not die in hospitals or nursing homes. The did not have professional morticians to prepare the body and make all the arrangements. People of that place and time witnessed death on a regular basis.

The girl was dead . . . for a brief amount of time.

Anyone familiar with the story knows that Jesus did heal the girl and gave orders for her to be given food. Presumably, she was hungry after her battle with whatever caused her complaint.

Like the messenger who gave the news to the official, we can too often assume that certain situations or certain people are beyond the ability to change or be changed. We can give up, doubting that there is any hope for that person or situation.

Like the people attending the family, we might even laugh at those who act as if change for the better is still possible.

But Jesus is the wild card that makes everything possible. The point (or at least one point) of this story is that no-one is beyond hope. No-one should be written off as no longer able to be changed. No-one.

The challenge is to remember that if God can soften my heart of stone so that his gospel is understood and accepted, then God can do the same for anyone else, no matter how much of a mess they’ve made of things.