“But they laughed at him.”
This was the reaction of the crowd who were crying and wailing over the death of Jairus’s daughter when Jesus said, “The child is not dead but asleep.” (Mark 5:21-43) Jesus proved the mockers wrong when he raised the little girl to life. Mark reports that their mocking turned to astonishment.
When reflecting on the mocking of Jesus we often think of his trial and crucifixion when the Roman soldiers put a crown of thorns on his head, a staff in his hand and knelt before him saying, “Hail King of the Jews.” (Mt. 27:29) But the mocking started from the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry when the devil began his temptations of Jesus with the words, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” The devil was mocking Jesus and his being the son of God soon after Jesus heard the words from his Father, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Mt. 3:17)
Even Jesus predicted his mocking to the disciples when he said, “They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him.” (Mt. 27:29)
We who follow Jesus are not exempt from being mocked for our faith. Once in a gathering of several employees where I worked including one of our senior executives, I happened to mention that I was involved with an organization with the name of Christians in Commerce, whose mission was to encourage people to live out their faith in their work. The senior executive started laughing and saying that Christians in Commerce was an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. All of my fellow employees started laughing as well, taking joy in my discomfort and piling on with similar mocking statements.
What was interesting was that when I was later with this executive with no one else present, he would ask me all kinds of questions about Christians in Commerce, the Bible and God. This happened several times. While he may have not realized it, he was searching for God. We had worked together at various times along our respective career paths, so we had a good and credible relationship with one another, and were able to have meaningful conversations.
Proverbs 9:7 says, “Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult.” Jesus did not respond to people who mocked him. He let his works be his response. After his arrest, he did not respond to his accusers and mockers; he let God respond for him with his resurrection.
So, how should we respond when we are mocked for our Christian faith?
First, we should stop and ask the Lord what he wants us to do. There may be circumstances where we have the opportunity to clarify a misunderstanding. Then again, he may want us to trust in him and say nothing, like Jesus — letting God act then or at a later date. For me with this executive, I was given an opportunity to speak about all kinds of things with respect to Christians in Commerce and my faith at later date.