“And entering in, He said to them, ‘Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.” (Mark 5:39)
As demonstrated in this wonderful story, we humans mark a great difference in death and being asleep, while Jesus considers them pretty much the same thing. We often long for sleep but fear death. Jesus was content with both. What Jesus saw in common between the two states was the result.
When we take a nap or lie down for our sleep period we expect to wake up. In a few minutes or hours, we will be alive again and things will go on as before. Sleep from our point of view is temporary while death is much more permanent. To Jesus, death was just as temporary as natural sleep. When he faced death it was not the loss of life he feared but the loss of relationship with God. He had already informed his disciples that he would not stay asleep but would awake after three days.
Falling asleep is an interesting occurrence. One second you have consciousness and the next you don’t. No one can mark the exact moment sleep occurs. You are awake and then you aren’t. Once asleep the world goes on without your observance or knowledge. When you wake up you have to fit in where you are not where you were.
Sleep might last a few minutes or a few hours or even a few days or weeks. Recently, I went to sleep in a wheelchair and woke up on a gurney. I was not aware of falling asleep and I had no idea what happened while I was out other than what I was told. I did not know how long I was asleep or what was done to me while I slept. I work up on a gurney but just as easily could have awakened on a cloud headed for heaven. It would have been the same experience as far as the sleep was concerned.
If the cloud had been my destiny those of you still around on planet earth would have said I was dead but Jesus would have said, “Why make a commotion and weep? The man is not dead he is just sleeping.” I think Jesus is trying to tell us we have no real reason to fear death if we fall asleep in him. He will not let us stay in a ‘comma’ but will wake us up when he is ready for us to join him. Until then we will sleep while he watches over us.
When I work up I was happy to see Grace standing by my side. I would like to think I would have been even more happy to see Jesus there.
Task for Today: Make sure you belong to Jesus so that if you fall asleep you will be with him. And don’t worry, you will wake up.