Gospel of Mark Chapter Five Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
Audio Sermon – Mark 5
This chapter is divided into two distinct parts and the first involves a possessed man, also seen in Matthew 8:28-34 and Luke 8:26-39. Matthew recalled TWO such men, which may mean he wrote of a similar but separate incident. God will often present something more than once to us until we get the point. However many men there were in this place called “Gadarenes,” can you imagine how the disciples felt as this “man with an unclean spirit,” walked out of the “tombs” (a graveyard) and strode toward them (Verses 1-2). They were terrified! In Verses 3-4 we get a closer look at this man “who had his dwelling among the tombs” and was unnaturally strong. As they would learn, “no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.”
The mention in Verse 5 that he was constantly “crying out and cutting himself with stones” is interesting in the light of a current habit found among people, called “cutting.” Those who feel emotional hurt sometimes hurt themselves physically, with the idea that a greater pain might mask their grief and loneliness. And note the man’s response in Verse 6 – “he ran and worshiped Him,” which sounds wonderful, except in Verse 7 the man also “cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.’” The man was crying out, but so were the demons in him.
Jesus was saying to the man in Verse 8, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” and then in Verses 9-10, He asked him, “What is your name?” The man answered, “My name is Legion; for we are many,” and begged Jesus to not send them out into nothingness. A “large herd of swine” is seen in Verse 11 and in Verse 12 “the demons begged Him, saying, ‘Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.’” Jesus gave permission as seen in Verse 13. Note that even the demons, the creatures of the enemy, must obey the Lord Jesus Christ.
The unclean spirits entered the herd of about 2000 pigs, who then “ran violently down the steep place into the sea and drowned.” The swine-herders nearby were astonished as they saw it. Their response, as seen in Verse 14, was to RUN and tell everybody what had happened. People came running from a nearby city and the surrounding countryside. In Verse 15, we find their purpose in all of this: “They came to Jesus(and also)saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind.” They should have been pleased but “they were afraid.” They satisfied their curiosity as people do, by listening to “those who saw it(who) told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine.” And Verse 17 is truly sad: They “began to plead with(Jesus) to depart from their region.”
People typically do not want God anymore than they did, but our Lord will allow circumstances, blessings and problems into our lives that will reveal our need of Him. The demon-possessed man now wanted what we all need: As Jesus “got into the boat(Verse 18), he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.” In Verse 19 Jesus surprisingly “did not permit him, but said, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.’” The man sighed in Verse 20, but this grateful man then “departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.” This man had been delivered from something so horrible than it’s hard to imagine. But it did happen and many problems in this world stem from people who are just as possessed as this man. He was delivered. Keep on praying because this miracle of deliverance can happen today. Our Lord is good and He is God.
Jesus’ second act of deliverance in this chapter also includes a third, starting in Verse 21, after “Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side (and)a great multitude gathered to Him… by the sea.” Human need will drive us to the Lord, and in Verses 22-23, “one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.’” Even though many of the religious leaders rejected Jesus, others saw their need and came to Him. “So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him” (Verse 24).
And now, in Verse 25, we see His second miracle of deliverance, as “a certain woman(who)had a flow of blood for twelve years” came toward Him. As the account continues in Verse 26, we see that she “had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather (she)grew worse.” No doubt she later spoke to the disciples, probably Peter, who vividly remembered this incident and what she told him. Verses 27-28 records her thoughts: “When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, ‘If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.’”
It’s important to note her emotional state in the light of Leviticus 19:25 – “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her customary impurity, or if it runs beyond the usual time of impurity, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her customary impurity. She shall be unclean.” For 12-years she had been excluded from the synagogue and from what is called “polite society.” She was treated like a leper. No one would touch her. She felt rejected by God; she was lonely and afraid. But now she had the courage, the desperation, the faith, to “touch(the)clothes” of Jesus, knowing she would be healed.
Try to grasp her emotional state in Verse 29 – “Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.” She was healed! And she knew it. And Verse 30 gives us a clue, a look at Jesus, the Son of God who had become a man. Jesus knew “that power(from the Holy Spirit) had gone out of Him,”but did not know who had received it. He turned to the crowd and shouted, “Who touched My clothes?” In Verse 31, His disciples were surprised and said, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” He continued to look around in Verse 32, but in Verse 33, “the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth." And He said to her in Verse 34, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Prayerfully go to the Lord who loves you.
In Verses 35-39, we find that the little girl mentioned earlier had died. “While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?’” - Look to the Lord even when all seems lost, for Jesus now “said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not be afraid; only believe.’ And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them,‘Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.’” Our God is the God of miracles. He is Victor, even over death.
Note in Verses 40-43 that “they ridiculed Him.” He told them to leave the house and then took the parents of the child and His disciples to the girl. “He took the child by the hand, and said to her(in Aramaic), ‘Talitha, cumi,’ which is: ‘Little girl… arise.’ Immediately this 12-year old girl “arose and walked.” …They were overcome and amazed. Interestingly He “commanded them strictly that no one should know it.” and told them to feed her. She was delivered, she was alive.
Lord, our greatest need is to have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God. We are sorry to have rejected You, Lord, and we trust in You now. In Jesus Name. Amen.