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ch. 5:1-20   ch. 5:21-43


The Healing Of A Demon-possessed Man (ch.5:1-20)


In verse 1 Mark says that Jesus and some of His followers crossed the lake to the “region of the Gerasenes”.  There were two cities across the lake, Gadara and Gerasa.  Gerasa would have been better known to the Gentiles and that is why Mark uses the word “Gerasenes”.  Matthew and Luke use “Gadarenes” which was connected with the city of Gadara .


Mark records in verse 2 that once they got off the boat a man with a demon approached them.  Luke concurs with Mark, but Matthew says that there were two demon-possessed men.  Some see this as a discrepancy but that isn’t necessarily the case. Many reasons could be given for this difference.


The demon-possessed man, or men, lived among the tombs.  These tombs were cut into the mountain-side and were probably abandoned and would have been seen as unclean by the Jews.  It could well be that there were many demon-possessed people living in these tombs.  


In verses 4 through 6 we see the strength that the demon gave this man.  There had been attempts by some to chain this man up so he would not be a danger to himself or others, but he always broke lose from the chains.  This shows you what a demon can do to a person.  Demons have strength being that of a human.  The man would often cut himself. 


In verses 6 and 7 we see that the demons saw and recognized Jesus as He approached.  The demon shouted out, “what do you want with me Jesus, the Son of the Most High God?   Swear to God that you will not torture me”.  Once again we note that demons know exactly who Jesus is - the Son of the Most High God.  Another thing we note is that the demon expects to be tortured by Jesus in some way.  To me this suggests that demons know that at some point in time, they will be punished and tortured by God for their rebellion.


In verse 8 we see Jesus telling the evil spirit to come out of the man.  Jesus asked the name of this demon.  The demon answered by saying that his name was Legion for they were many.  This suggests that the man had many demons and the demon now speaking to Jesus was their leader. 


This verse has been a key verse for many in the Deliverance Ministry Movement in the last few decades.  Why Jesus asked this demon his name is unknown to me, but we don’t have many accounts of Jesus asking demons for their names.  Normally He just casts them out and goes on His way.  Many Deliverance teachers use this verse to support their thinking that before casting out a demon you should first talk to the demon and ask for his name. But using one verse to support this position is poor hermeneutics.


In verses 10 to 14 we see the demons asking Jesus to let them go into a heard of pigs.  It’s often thought that demons prefer a body to live in.  If they can’t live in a human body then maybe a pig’s body might do.  Jesus allows them to enter the heard of pigs but they didn’t stay in the pigs long. When they entered the pigs the pigs went out of their minds and ran off a cliff and drowned in the lake. It goes to show you the destructive nature of demons.  They’d rather destroy a place to live rather than stay in it peacefully.


The question is always asked, “why did Jesus grant the demons request knowing that they’d destroy these pigs and some farmers way of living.  Most scholars, not all, believe that the owner of these pigs was Jewish because of the location this took place in.  If the owner was indeed a Jew, owning and raising pigs would have not been lawful according to the Law of Moses, therefore Jesus would not have had any problem destroying these pigs. Remember, He had to uphold the Law.  


In verses 13 and 14 we note that the owner of the pigs went into town and broadcasted what had happen to such an extent that a great crowd came out into the fields to see the man once possessed by the demons sitting dressed and in his right mind.  Luke tells us that he used to run around naked.  Everyone was full of fear.  Seeing Jesus cast out demons is one things, but seeing Him allowing demons to enter a herd of pigs resulting in their destruction is another thing altogether.  You can understand this fear.  You might wonder what Jesus will do next.


In verse 17 we see the people of this area “plead with Jesus to leave the area”.  This is interesting.  In all other places the crowds wanted Jesus to stay.  They experienced His healings and wanted more.  But here since the miracle Jesus performed had negative effects on the owner’s income, they didn’t want Jesus to hang around in case He does something else like this. 


We see that in verses 18 to 20 that the man wanted to come with Jesus.  We assume he wanted to be a close disciple of Jesus, but Jesus wasn’t willing for him to come with Him.  He told the man to go home and tell all he knew what the Lord had done for him.  The man did just that. 


It thus appears that Jesus called those He wanted to be with Him.  It is Jesus’ choice who’d be His close followers.  It’s not up to us.  This is still true.  The calling of God upon people’s lives are from Jesus, and not from us.   I think too often people have invented their own calling and claimed it to be from Jesus.



A Dead Girl And A Sick Woman  (ch. 5:21-43)


In verse 21 we see that Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee again and went back to Capernaum , and once again a large crowd gathered by the sea shore.


In verse 22 a man named Jairus came to Jesus. He was a synagogue ruler.  This means that he was an elder at the local synagogue.  These elders would look after the affairs of the synagogue.  They weren’t priests. 


Jairus “pleaded earnestly” with Jesus to come to his house and lay hands on his dying daughter.  It is clear that this elder believed in the healing power that Jesus had.  Did he believe that Jesus was the Messiah?  That we don’t know.  Many people believed that Jesus had power to heal, but did not understand Him to be their Messiah.


The Greek word “sozo” is the word that is translated as heal in this verse.  “Sozo” simply means to save, and is one of the more common Greek words translated as heal or save.  “Sozo” can be used in many ways, to save from illness, or to save from sin, or save from danger, and so on.  We can view healing as a salvation of such.  We are saved from an illness and its effects on our lives, and this is what this elder was asking Jesus to do for his dying daughter.


So Jesus went to the elder’s house but on the way was met by a woman who had bleeding problems for 12 years.  Just what kind of bleeding this woman had would only be a guess.  The text does not say, and maybe for good reason.  This woman had been attended by several doctors over the years and she spent a lot of money trying to be helped by them, but nothing they did helped her.  She got worse. 


This woman also believed that Jesus could make her better.  She didn’t even think that it was important to ask Jesus for healing.  All she thought she needed to do was to touch Jesus’ clothes.  Just by touching His clothes she’d be saved from her bleeding.


Such bleeding would have made her unclean according to the Law of Moses.  Maybe for this reason she didn’t want to approach Jesus since she was unclean.  So she simply touched his clothes and as she did, she felt some power go through her body. 


Jesus felt the power leave His body and asked, “who touched me”?  Did Jesus really have to ask who touched Him?  My guess is that He knew who touched Him.  The crowd pressed in on Him on all sides so normally speaking you or I would not have known who touched us, but this was Jesus and He knew such things.


It could well be that Jesus wanted this woman to step forward and not be shy. 


In verse 33 as Jesus was looking for the woman she came to Him and fell at His feet in fear. This fear might have been based on the fact that she was unclean and felt that Jesus might not have appreciated her touching Him.  It might also be based on the fact that she had great reverence for Jesus. 


In verse 34 Jesus told the lady “to go in peace” because “her faith had saved her from her suffering”.  This is what the Greek word “sozo” is all about when used in this context.  When Jesus touches our lives, we are saved from that which we suffer from, whether it be sin or sickness.


Now in case you forgot where Jesus was actually going before He was interrupted by this woman, He was going to heal a dying girl.  You might wonder why Jesus got side tracked, but Jesus is never under a great compulsion to do something that others want Him to do, even if it is a serious illness as this was.  So in verse 35 someone came to the elder and to Jesus saying that the sick girl had died, so there’s no use in bothering Jesus any longer.  This must have made the elder’s heart sink to his feet.  His daughter had died.  “What if Jesus hadn’t have stopped to heal this lady”, he might have thought. 


But Jesus never felt constrained by time limits.  He told the elder not to worry and proceeded  to the elder’s house.


We see in verse 37 that by the time Jesus got to the elder’s house He had dismissed the crowd. He only had
Peter, James and John with Him.  This is one of 3 instances that is recorded that suggests that Jesus had an inner circle of disciples that included these 3 men. The transfiguration and the time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane were the other 2 times. 


The idea that Jesus only took 3 men with Him might suggest that if anyone questioned what Jesus did, He’d have the 3 witnesses that the Law of Moses required to prove something as being true. 


When they got to the house everyone was crying and extremely sad over the fact that this little girl had  died. 


In verse 39 Jesus expressed His dismay over the fact that everyone was so sad.  He told them that the girl was only asleep.  They laughed at Him, but they didn’t understand that for Jesus, and for God, that there is no difference between death and sleep.  Death is only a physical thing and God lives outside the realm of this temporal  body we live in.  Physical death is only that which brings us into the next faze of existence.


In verse 40 Jesus takes Peter, James and John, along with the girl’s mother and father into the room where the dead girl was. He said, “talitha koum”.   This is Aramaic for “little girl, I say unto you, get up”.  Aramaic is an old Gentile language that is very similar to Hebrew.


The chapter ends with the sick girl being healed and Jesus telling the parents not to say anything about what had happened and to feed the little girl.  Well, I’m quite sure that everyone found out what had happened the first time the little girl left her home and all the neighbors saw her.


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