38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. 39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. 41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. 43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
As I understand it there were traditionally professional mourners.
I wonder if the laughers ever believed on Him?
In the New Testament, sleeping referring to death, always refers to the body but not the soul. Notice how the soul came back into the dead body in the Old Testament. The soul is never spoken of as being asleep.
Genesis 35:18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.
1Kings 17:21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.
The soul leaves the body at death.
2Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
The body of your loved one at death does not contain their identity, their soul. What you saw at the funeral was an empty vessel, for which you had great affection because that is what you saw and touched and held. But, that person has left and gone away, either to a blessed state with the Lord God or to Hell to suffer the natural fate of those in rebellion against God.
Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
The rich man’s corpse is in the ground but he is in Hell.
As a picture of our salvation, here is a young child immediately being able to get up and follow Christ. In a different episode Lazarus has to be unbound. We were all dead in trespasses and sins, but in my case, it took sixteen years, after being saved, to be unbound, to be able to respond to Christ.
I hope I’ve shown you how these passages are pictures of salvation and faith. The last part is a type of the fact that as a new Christian the first thing we need to have done is to be fed. That is accomplished with the word of God. Without an immediate immersion in the word of God the new Christian will die on the vine. The numbers game of 1-2-3 repeat after me and then abandoning the new convert is wickedness. The first thing that a new Christian needs after being brought to life, is to be spiritually fed.