In our study of Mark chapter five, we will look at three miracles and how Jesus did them to demonstrate His complete divine authority. We will see how Jesus has been given authority over spiritual things as well as physical, even death.
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They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.
Gerasa and Gedara were cities to the southeast between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. They were a part of what was known as the Decapolis (ten cities) and this area was on the east side of the Jordan River. Gad (one of the twelve tribes) had chosen the wrong side of the Jordan when God had given His people the promised land.
When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him.
Jesus was met by a demon-possessed man when He got out of the boat. In chapter four, He had demonstrated His authority over the earth (nature) when He calmed the storm on the sea. Now, we are introduced to a man that was used to living among the dead. This would have been considered an unclean place by the Jews and yet this man lived there.
This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
We see that this man displayed superhuman strength as he would break the chains that were used to bind him. That is a good reminder of the fact that, just because power is demonstrated, it does not mean that it is of God. This is the same thing that happened in the days before the flood as people like this were "the heroes of old, men of renown" (see Genesis 6). We also see two characteristics of a man that is possessed by demons. The first is the fact that he is restless as we see with this man and the fact that he cried out night and day. This restlessness (lack of peace) is not of God. The second characteristic that we see is an attempt to hurt himself and we are reminded that the devil's purpose is to kill and destroy.
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, 'What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!' For Jesus had said to him, 'Come out of this man, you evil spirit!'
This man ran to Jesus and worshiped as he fell to his knees and even tried to speak but the demon took over his voice. In this, we once again see Satan trying to imitate the things of God as, in this case, he is imitating the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Then Jesus asked him, 'What is your name?' 'My name is Legion,' he replied, 'for we are many.' And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs were feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, 'Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.' He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
It seems kind of weird but Jesus has a conversation with the demons that were inside the man. Imagine what was going through the minds of the disciples as they stood there and listened. We notice that they had to ask for permission to do anything and it is a reminder of Jesus' authority over all the spiritual realms as well as nature.
Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
Those that witnessed this ran to spread the news of what had happened and the people gathered to see if it was true.
Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man - and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
Once again, we see that the people were looking for physical healing but wanted no part of the spiritual.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, 'Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.' So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
Here, we see the effects of being saved. First, we see that the man did not want to be left behind as he wanted to go and be near Jesus. It is the same with us today in that, when we truly come to Christ, there will be a desire to go and walk with him. Next, we see that Jesus told him to go and tell his family and others about what had been done for him. That is what we call a testimony and the man went and did so out of gratitude for what Jesus had done for him. He willing obeyed what Jesus told him to do. Finally, we see that God was glorified and those that heard about what He had done were amazed. There are many, today, that want to take what God is doing and use it for their own glory but that is not the purpose of the miracle or telling others about it.
When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet, and pleaded earnestly with him, 'My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.'
We must remember that the religious leaders had opposed Jesus but, now, here comes one of them to see Jesus. Once again, the people were focused on the physical healing as Jairus wanted Jesus to keep her from dying.
So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
In this, Jesus demonstrates love for your enemy as the religious leaders opposed Him but He still went with the man to help his daughter.
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
In this crowd was a woman who was suffering from a physical problem. She had been suffering for twelve years and we are reminded that the number twelve is associated with divine authority throughout the Bible. The doctors couldn't help so she came to Jesus out of desperation.
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, 'If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.' Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
Out of faith, the woman simply touched Jesus' cloak and was healed. We notice that there was no big "healing service" or some other scheduled event but simply a woman coming to Jesus by faith. It did not take another person to do something for her or a donation or anything else but faith.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, 'Who touched my clothes?' 'You see the people crowding against you,' his disciples answered, 'and yet you can ask, "Who touched me?"'
When Jesus asked who had touched Him, the disciples did not understand how He knew that one person had when He was in a crowd. They did not understand the power of a touch of faith. It was the faith of the woman that set her touch apart from the rest of the crowd and it is that same faith in Jesus Christ that sets us apart from the rest of the world.
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, 'Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'
In this miracle, we see that Jesus not only had authority in the spiritual realm but also in the physical realm. The doctors had tried to free her and she had given all that she had but it was only her touch of faith that could provide the cure. In this, we see that the power of God is unleashed when we step out in faith just as the woman had done.
While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus the synagogue ruler. 'Your daughter is dead,' they said. 'Why bother the teacher any more?' Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, 'Don't be afraid; just believe.'
Now, Jairus finds out that his daughter has already died so the men had given up hope. Meanwhile, Jesus simply encouraged him to have the same touch of faith that the woman had demonstrated. Have people given up on you? Have you given up hope for someone else? If so, the words that Jesus shared with Jairus are for you as well. If we trust in Him and understand that He has complete authority, then, it is not too late.
He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.
Why did Jesus only allow these three to follow Him to the house? We can assume that He wanted them to see and learn more about His authority. When they arrived there was great mourning as it seems that we all cry a little more for the children that pass away.
He went in and said to them, 'Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.' But they laughed at him.
Jesus often taught by asking questions and, here, we see the method again. They laughed at Him when He said that she was sleeping because they did not realize that His authority even extends to life and death. Its not over until Jesus says its over.
After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, 'Talitha koum!' (which means, 'Little girl, I say to you, get up!').
Jesus sent all of the mourners outside and went to the little girl. We notice that Jesus did not put on a big show but simply ordered death to depart and the girl to get up. God is using many signs and wonders in these last days but we must remember that the display of God's power is not to be a big show. That is not how Jesus worked and it is not what He wants from us.
Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.
This third miracle displays Jesus' complete authority as He can even reverse the effects of death. When we realize this fact, we can walk in confidence as we know that Jesus has control of all of our days. We also notice that the girl was twelve years old and we might ask ourselves what the significance of this is. We noticed that Jesus called her a little girl and not a woman and, in Matthew 19:14, He said that the kingdom belonged to them. This is what is commonly called the age of accountability and answers the question of where do little children go who could not confess the name of Jesus.
He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Jesus was already being swamped by crowds looking for physical healing so we can only imagine what the crowds would have been like if this miracle was announced. Jesus knew what would happen and so He told them to keep it to themselves. We also see that Jesus told them to feed her and are reminded of the fact that Jesus gives life but tells us to take care of it. When we are given new life through Him, He expects us to feed ourselves too so that we will be healthy. This speaks of taking care of our physical body until He calls us home as well as taking care of our spiritual health by feeding on God's Word.