Luke 8:52

ESV And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.”
NIV Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. 'Stop wailing,' Jesus said. 'She is not dead but asleep.'
NASB Now they were all weeping and mourning for her; but He said, 'Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.'
CSB Everyone was crying and mourning for her. But he said, "Stop crying, because she is not dead but asleep."
NLT The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, 'Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.'
KJV And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.

What does Luke 8:52 mean?

A synagogue leader has asked Jesus to come and raise to life his only daughter (Luke 8:40–42, 49–51). As Jesus, Peter, James, and John enter the home, they are met with mourners, wailing and weeping and playing flutes (Matthew 9:23; Mark 5:38). These are not loving family members, distraught because a child has died. They are professional mourners hired to create an appropriate ambiance of sorrow. This was a common practice in that era, much as modern families might hire a funeral home to display the body at a wake.

Jesus deflects. "Sleeping" is a euphemism for death (1 Thessalonians 5:10). Jews believed that the spirit of a person hovered over the body for a few days and could return. Jesus frames the situation to indicate things are not as terrible as they're making it out to be.

Horribly, the mourners laugh at him because they know the girl is dead (Luke 8:53). Jesus told the girl's father to have faith, and he believes as much as he can (Luke 8:50; Matthew 9:18). The mourners, however, show their true colors. They respect neither Jesus nor the dead. It's just a job. Since Jesus intends to raise the girl from the dead they're no longer needed, so He dismisses them (Mark 5:40).

This passage may give us pause to consider our own reactions to death. Our entertainment is filled with violence to the point we can become bored of it. In some cases, death is even presented as humorous. The Bible says otherwise. God did not create humans to experience death. When Jesus returns, He will defeat every enemy that rises against Him, and "the last enemy to be destroyed is death" (1 Corinthians 15:26). Those who deal with death every day know it is an enemy. It is nothing to be mocked.
What is the Gospel?
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