Originally Posted by State
In today Catholic mass's reading, which I heard at my wife's local Catholic parish, such an insertion may be found in Mark 5:40. USCCB - NAB - Mark 5
Jesus shows up at a important guy's house, says the dead/dying child is merely sleeping. Here's where it gets interesting. The crowd ridicules him. Yet, somehow he is able then to do three things: 1) dismiss the crowd while they show contempt to him; 2) gain admittance to the dead child's room (Whose parents would allow a man to do that that they had no confidence in?); and 3) heal him or her.
Of the options I think #3 is the most likely. The others don't fit the narrative, esp. being treated with ridicule when he has already raised large crowds to hear his charismatic preaching and has performed miracles.
The motivation of the Pauline redactors of the Christian testaments is clear: to marginalize Judaism, from which Christianity was originally part of Judaism and gradually grew into being an off-shoot. Finally, it became a separate religion, most clearly with St. Paul, the pseudo Jew.
The bit just above the synagogue-official's-daughter story is also interesting, and both sort of coalesce in a way around the Markan "messianic secret" theme. Mark's Jesus is pretty reticent; he basically tells the heal-ee in the above bit that she healed herself through a placebo effect and, the author of Mark tells us, Jesus isn't even aware he's healed her until she tells him. Further he asserts that the dead girl isn't "really" dead. Here, Jesus is not trying to astound anybody, by Mark's account. The boy just can't help it. He's concerned with keeping his messianic mission secret, and although healing is common at the time, shows a good deal of humility about this ability.
But read the segue to the official's daughter story. Sure the Pauline flavor is there, if you are reading with Hyam Macoby's spectacles, right? But there is a good story here.
Jairus is the one asking Jesus to come and do the magic thing - he has sought him out, and when he sees what happens to the 12-year ebola case, he evidently springs into action. People from his house -- relatives or friends, one must conclude -- say "oh stop bugging Jesus, she died anyway." And they proceed to Jairus' house.
So the picture painted here is that one of those bloody Pharisees has a dying daughter, and like any good parent, he lets that override his damnable Jewishness, and asks for Jesus' help. Also bear in mind they are still in Galilee, I believe; it's the Jerusalem authorities and crowds that really get mean.
So we have Mr. Pharisee-in-extremis (Saducees, remember, did not establish or have contact with synagogues, being of the opinion that the Temple only was of any importance as a house of worship.)
And even he
seeks out Jesus. Now it must be noted that miracle-working was something that was done fairly commonly in the Greek bible. We can make the "miracle-working" a black box; for the faithful, it is a miracle. For the skeptic, it is medicine. Regardless, Jesus was doing something that made sick people all better, and he was noted as one of many at that time and place who could do so.
So the Pharisee seeking him out is not an admission of Messiahship, but it does show that like anybody, local Jews accorded Jesus respect as one who could work miracles; In fact, when someone says "you do miracles by the power of demons," he answers, "by what power do your sons do miracles?" So it's clear he's a known miracle-doer. In the context of this story, there are already crowds pressing him for healing.
So there's our sitzimleben,
and it remains to us to answer your questions. First, I do think that it is likely the father let Jesus in the house. There is a commotion, but it is people in mourning (weeping, etc.) The earlier crowd has not been allowed to follow him.
Can he get through the "crowd" then? Yes. It is a commotion of mourners, not a throng of 10,000. Did the father allow him in? Yes. In fact, he sought him out.
But to your point: the mourners ridicule him. I do not know the customs of the day, and it would seem very difficult to reconstruct. The situation we are trying to discern is this:
- The girl's father has gone out and seen the local miracle-worker, decides he's a pretty good one, and brings him back hoping he will heal the sick girl.
- Between the time he leaves and the time he returns with Jesus, the girl "dies," and a commotion of weeping has materialized. So he arrives not long after the moment of "death," but long enough that people have gathered there.
- The father returns with Jesus, and here is where my credulity is strained: He has with him a fairly well-known healer, in a context where these healers are not unknown.
And the family/friends do what...? They ridicule this healer the father has returned with.
This seems strange. Even if I didn't say "Eh, it's worth a shot," I certainly can't see ridiculing the healer guy. Mourning and wailing aside, even if I were peeved that someone was bringing around a charlatan (assuming that attitude was out there too,) I would go off on the father who brings him there, and probably not right there or then. Who knows what cultural difference over 2000 years have developed. It does strike me as a very odd way to react to a man who very well may help you, and who has been brought in for that purpose.
Would I fold this into an otherwise much clearer anti-Jewish gloss? I'd be tempted to, given the weirdness of the reaction of the mourners. It does, however, seem like an odd moment to break off one's mourning and take a moment out to ridicule a healer, thereby dishonoring the man of the house (and a local synagogue official, no less.)
It's also a sort of "he even healed those ingrate Pharisees' families, the ingrates" statement, read in retrospect from the rough time of Mark's writing (the 60s CE.)
And yes, it's quite in keeping with the common theme of hostile crowds associated with Pharisaic Judaism of the day.