Mark 5:1 ¶ And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
Mark 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
Mark 5:3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
Mark 5:4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
Mark 5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
Mark continues the flow of the narrative from the last chapter…
When they reached the other side of the sea, they made shore in the country of the Gadarenes, Gentile territory. As soon as Jesus stepped on shore, a man with an unclean spirit that lived in the tombs nearby was there to meet Him. This man had supernatural strength because of the demons that indwelt him. Not even chains could hold him; he easily broke free from them. Neither could he be tamed by anyone. He always stayed in the mountains and tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones.
Luke’s account adds that the man had been in this condition for a long time and that he wore no clothes.
Luke 8:27 “And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.”
The effect of Satan and his forces always results in evil to the person they possess. In scripture, they are almost always depicted as having no self-control.
Guzik made an interesting observation: “Demons also attack men because they hate the image of God in man, so they attack that image by debasing man and making him grotesque - just as they did to this man in the country of the Gadarenes.”
Mark 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
Mark 5:7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
Mark 5:8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
Mark 5:9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
Mark 5:10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
When the man saw Jesus from afar, he ran and prostrated himself (from the Greek) before Him. Then he cried out with a loud voice (my paraphrase), “What do you want from me, Jesus, Son of the most high God? I urge you in God’s name not to torment me.” Obviously, it was the unclean spirit speaking through the man.
Jesus told the unclean spirit to come out of the man after asking him his name. The spirit answered that his name was Legion because there were many of them. The spirit begged Jesus not to send them out of the country.
This is pretty amazing. We learn from this account that demonic spirits can take possession of a person in great numbers. I’m sure that explains in part the great strength this man possessed.
Luke gives us a bit more detail.
Luke 8:31 “And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.”
The demons begged Jesus not to send them into “the deep” because they recognized His authority as the “Son of the most high God.” Their request also indicates that they recognized that there is a place in which they fear being confined. The Greek for “the deep” is the word abussos, a reference to the bottomless pit. This is the same word for the same place from which the demon locusts of Revelation 9 emerge and in which the devil is bound for 1000 years during the Messiah’s kingdom.
Revelation 9:1–3 “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.”
Revelation 20:1–3 “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
Mark 5:11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
Mark 5:12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
Mark 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
Mark 5:14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
Mark tells us that there was a large herd of pigs feeding on the nearby mountains. The devils actually begged Jesus to send them into the pigs. Jesus agreed to that. When they took possession of the pigs, the whole herd (numbering about 2000) ran madly down the mountainside and off a cliff into the sea.
That really didn’t make sense to me. Why would they ask to go into the pigs and then kill them? I guess they used the pigs just to get away from Jesus and then destroyed them just so they could escape to take advantage of others in that country since they specifically didn’t want to be sent out of that country.
The men taking care of the pigs quickly left to spread the news all around. The people who heard the story then went to see the situation for themselves.
The New Bible Commentary made an interesting observation as to why Jesus granted the request of the demons: “We may guess that the entry of the demons into the pigs was necessary, especially in a Gentile area, so that both the man and everybody else might see that the forces of evil had truly left the man.”
Mark 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
Mark 5:16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.
Mark 5:17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
When the people came to Jesus, they saw the man that had been possessed by the legion of devils sitting calmly, clothed and in his right mind. Instead of being happy for him and thankful that he was no longer a menace, they were afraid. They had been told what had happened, but it’s like they didn’t believe it until they saw the man for themselves. They began to implore Jesus to leave.
Mark 5:18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
Mark 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
Mark 5:20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
Decapolis = a ten-city region in that part of Syria
Jesus left to get back on the ship, and the formerly possessed man begged to be allowed to go with Him. The LORD didn’t allow it. He told the man to go home to his friends and tell them the great things He had done for him, the kindness He had shown him. The man didn’t argue. He left and immediately began to go throughout the Decapolis telling everyone about all Jesus had done for him. All those who heard his testimony admired him in wonder.
Every sinner saved by grace should be sharing the good news of Jesus with others as passionately as this man. We should be so thankful that we can’t wait to share the good news with others.
I truly believe we will see this man in heaven. I don’t know what the LORD was able to teach him during their time together, but he certainly evidenced submission and obedience to Jesus according to the revelation he had been given.
Mark 5:21 ¶ And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.
Mark 5:22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,
Mark 5:23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
Mark 5:24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
When Jesus reached the other side of the sea, many people were waiting for Him on the shore. Among them was one of the rulers of the synagogue named Jairus. When he saw Jesus, he fell at His feet. Though this man occupied a position that one would think positioned him as an enemy of Jesus, his need took precedence over worrying about what those who were over him would think. He told Jesus that his little daughter was dying and begged Him to come and lay hands on her and heal her. Jesus didn’t hesitate. He went with the man, and a crowd of people followed Him.
Mark 5:25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
Mark 5:26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
Mark 5:27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
Mark 5:28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
Mark 5:29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
In the crowd was a woman that had suffered a continual discharge of blood for 12 years. She had endured many different kinds of treatments by many doctors. She spent all the money she had, yet she was worse and not better. Adding to her physical suffering, this woman suffered socially because her condition made her unclean and anyone having contact her would be made unclean. I’m sure she suffered from being a social pariah.
When she heard that Jesus was coming, she was determined to get close enough to Him to touch His robe. She just knew that if she could but touch His robe, she would be healed. As soon as she touched His robe, she could tell by what she felt in her body that she had been healed.
Mark 5:30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
Mark 5:31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
Mark 5:32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
Mark 5:33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
Mark 5:34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
Jesus immediately knew that miraculous power (from the Greek) had gone out from Him. He turned around and asked who had touched His clothes. His disciples couldn’t believe He would ask that question with such a large throng of people surrounding Him. Jesus was not deterred; He looked around to identify who had touched Him—not a normal touch, a touch of faith. The woman, though afraid and trembling, came and fell down before Him and confessed the whole story. Jesus was satisfied. He comforted the woman and told her that it was her faith that had healed her. He then told her to depart in peace; she would no longer suffer from that disease.
I think there are many false teachers around today that take advantage of people by sending out things like prayer hankies for a donation. Though the woman was healed when she touched Jesus clothes, she wasn’t healed by the touch; she was healed because of her faith.
The Greek for the word “peace” references not only deliverance from her disease, but also in her relationship with Jesus.
There are so many times that I think about the way Jesus answered her, as He did so many others—Thy faith hath made thee whole. One of the hardest truths in scripture for me to understand stems from that statement and other prayer promises. It is based on these truths that I know that I need to grow a great deal more in my faith. I truly believe Jesus can do anything, but I have a hard time believing that He will do anything. I am sure the key is connected to asking in accordance with His will, always the qualifying statement in my prayers.
Mark 5:35 ¶ While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?
Mark 5:36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
Mark 5:37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.
While Jesus was speaking to the woman, a messenger came from Jairus’ home, telling him that his daughter was dead so there was no need to bother Jesus. Jesus head what the messenger said and immediately told Jairus not to be afraid, but to believe. He continued walking towards the home, only allowing Jairus, Peter, James and John to go with Him.
Mark 5:38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
Mark 5:39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.
Mark 5:40 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.
Mark 5:41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.
Mark 5:42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.
Mark 5:43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
When they got to the house, everything was in an uproar with much weeping and wailing. Jesus asked them why they were making so much fuss since the child was only sleeping; she was not dead. The people laughed at Jesus mockingly. He then put everyone out of the house and took the father and mother and the three disciples with Him into the room where the little girl was lying. Jesus took the child by the hand and told her to arise. She immediately got up and walked. Then we are told that she was 12 years old. Those with Him were totally amazed. Jesus then told them all not to talk about what they had witnessed; then He told them to get the child something to eat.
Again, Luke tells us a little bit more.
Luke 8:54–55 “And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.”
I think it is important to note that Luke is inspired to point out that her spirit returned to her, affirming that she was dead. Our spirits are the eternal essence of our being, the part that leaves our body at death. It is the spirit that is immediately in the presence of the LORD when the Christian dies. Our glorified body, the body fit for heaven, will be ours at the rapture. I am hoping to be part of those that are “alive and remain” that are transformed in the twinkling of an eye.
2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:51–52 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
I liked Guzik’s observations at the end of this chapter:
In all this we see how the work of Jesus is different, yet the same among each individual. If Jesus can touch each need this personally, He can touch our needs the same way.