Mark 5:21-43

The last time Mark records Jesus healing anyone from or in a Synagogue, (Mk. 3:1-6) was the man with a lame hand, and there are scant signs that he had any faith in Jesus as God to heal. It was an incident of Jesus proclaiming his power, teaching his critics to see how wrong they were abusing the law and leaving people with needs unattended.

The Faith of the Fearful Father

After Jesus had calmed a storm, a tempestuous lake and raging demon possessed men, now he calms a Father pressing urgently for help as his daughter lay at home dying. Just because we are faithful or friends of God’s children does not mean we do not become distressed with disasters which God allows us to use to help deliver those hurting which we love, Acts. 28:7-9.

~ His faith had led him to hunt Jesus down while traveling from town to town.

~ His faith had led him to fall at the feet of Jesus, showing submission to The Teacher.,

~ His faith had led him to ask Jesus to come to his house and lay his hands on his daughter.

How do you use your faith, when you are fearful and/or distressed?

The Faith of the Hemorrhaging Woman

While Jesus was traveling to try and help one person, he took time to learn who else needed his strength to heal people, his work was constant, he never worried about distractions. This story should teach us that our faith should be something that can be perceived, even when never openly proclaimed, Acts 14:8-10.

~ Her faith had led her to publicly hunt Jesus down when she was poverty-stricken and sick.

~ Her faith had led her to tell herself that if she could touch his clothes she would be healed.

~ Her faith had led her to fall down before him and tell him the whole truth.

How do you use your faith, when you are hurting and/or desperate?

In verse 28, the word “healed”, in the Greek is actually the same word for ‘saved’, so it seems Mark may be trying to motivate the reader to desire touching Jesus through this story and be saved. If we could see ourselves as desperate as this woman who had no hope but Jesus, we too, would be drawn to search for Jesus and hear his life-giving words, “your faith has made you well”. Are you spiritually healthy or spiritually sick? Sin sick souls are sentenced to suffer with Satan! Do we have Jesus Christ and his life-giving Spirit anointing us with healing?

In verse 38-40, there is no gentle Jesus, meek & mild, but rather a forceful and determined Christ taking action against the chaotic, noisy and distressed crowd, to clear the area with calm so the parents, upset by the girl’s death, could focus on attending to their daughter’s needs. Only in v41 does Jesus change in attitude to gently administer God’s power into a corpse for life renewed.

In verse 43, the stern warning of silence from Jesus is his way of trying to get the people to help him with the issue of timing his ministry to publicly draw attention to his suffering, not his powerful authority. His suffering would draw everyone to him for the life, strength and wisdom we need. The best reason for commanding silence for now is stated in John 5:41. Who does Christ really want us to honor?

Mark 5:1-20

After Jesus had established his authority over the destructive physical environment in the eyes of his closest followers by calming the storm and lake. Now he would demonstrate his authority over the destructive powers of the spiritual environment around them. This incident Jesus masters, is called by many of us, an exorcism. The strength and courage Jesus shows is remarkable, considering the fact that he is outside Israel in unfamiliar territory. As far as the four gospels record, Jesus only ventures outside of Israel during his ministry twice, but when he does, he wastes no time manifesting the power of God against the devils most destructive works. When we leave our comfort zone, how aware are we that our battle is against the spiritual forces of evil? See Ephesians 6:12

v7, Though it seems odd for a demon to invoke God’s name (“I implore you by God”) in his demands of Jesus, the parallel story in Mat. 8:29 suggests the reason: “Why have you come to torment us before the time?” There was an appointed time in which demons would face their judgment, and they seem to have viewed the arrival of Jesus on the scene as an illegitimate change in God’s plan regarding the time when their sentence would be executed. It is a pity that worldly people do not see “an appointed time” God has proclaimed and promised to come, but the demons do. Do you?

The most peculiar fact about this exorcism is the torturous way Jesus deals with the unclean spirits (Legion is a military term which Romans used to describe thousands of soldiers). Jesus had already exorcized unclean spirits many times before this encounter, but this one shows how he treats the real culprits. By contrast, he emphasizes what cost the healed man should pay, which is to preach the mercy shown to him in his hometown. Do we consider sharing our faith and story of conversion, a duty that is commanded of us, or a privilege? See Romans 1:16.

Luke tells us about a characteristic of unclean spirits; they do not like water, Luke 11:24. So why would Jesus permit a huge number of unclean spirits to go into pigs, if he knew they would be forced to run into a lake and drown? Because they asked for it and deserved to wander in discontent. The price of many pigs’ pain and the loss of the farmer’s income was worth the lesson in punishing the unclean spirits. How the public reacted to the healed man’s liberty and salvation was entirely up to the people of Decapolis, afterall, they could rely on the well known fact of the healed man’s testimony to help them gain the community’s help in rebuilding the pig farm. This could be one reason Jesus insisted on saying “no” to the healed man’s request to follow Jesus into Israel. The healed man would of course bless others with the work of God’s message for salvation, and also make the community aware of the pig farmer’s need for help. The people of the Decapolis are an interesting community; The Decapolis refers to a group of towns (originally consisting of ten; the Greek name literally means “ten towns”). Their unity came from their Greek culture and stories, which set them apart from surrounding areas. So it was possible for news to travel faster amongst them, than most other towns. There is no mention of the people being angry at the loss of the pig herd, but rather the community feared Jesus in the same way the disciples feared Jesus when he stilled the storm & lake, Mk. 4:41. Christians today need this kind of fear of God, it would certainly help us in praising Him as we should and promote the spread of his good news. 

v20, Mark ends the story with a subtle but significant point.  The man could not separate what God had done, from the one (JESUS) through whom God had done it. This man was called to be a witness of God’s goodness through Jesus at home!

Mark 4:21-41

v21-25, Most Jewish homes were lit with oil lamps. This was both beneficial and at the same time dangerous, as oil needed a safe & stable place to burn. So we see Jesus putting an emphasis on providing a basis for the light to shine effectively and safely. A lampstand is essential for safety and to help the light shine effectively. But the idea of judgment was on Christ’s mind, as he wanted his followers to recognize that if they treated the light of God with carelessness and apathy, then they would be judged. The very nature of this light needed care, and if they judged it unnecessary, neglecting it, they would get burnt! Just as we treat electricity with respect, so 1st century people had to treat oil lamps with respect. Jesus is the light of the world, and if people don’t pay close attention and learn the purpose of why he is teaching, they will suffer the consequences. Do not misuse the light of the world, use it efficiently! This parable is similar to Luke 8:16-18.

This parable is found only in Mark 4:26-29 and shows a complete picture of the coming of God’s kingdom: (1) sowing; (2) growth; (3) harvest. Some understand the parable as a reference to evangelism, but it does not seem to be the central idea. If you contrast it to the parable of the sower which emphasizes the quality of the different soils, this parable emphasizes the power of the seed to cause growth (with the clear implication that the mysterious growth of the kingdom is accomplished by God), without human understanding or observation.

v30-34, Jesus wanted us to have a clear understanding of the Kingdom of God, so most of his parables make comparisons to help us relate to the rule or domain of God’s Kingdom. Christ would become the King of kings, as the Kingdom of God entered the entire globe, and would not simply be represented by Israel any longer. So humankind needs to know it’s nature, values and purpose so that people of many different ways of life enter it, and grow in God’s domain with Christ ruling in their hearts. What do you believe is represented in his phrase, “so that the wild birds can nest in it’s shade?” A good way to see this from the past and into the future is to read Psalm 91:1-6 alongside Revelation 21:22-22:3. Keeping in mind that many christian soldiers die on the battlefield and many christian nurses die from contagions. While at the sametime, kings bring their glory into the New Jerusalem and the leaves of the tree of life in this city bring healing to the nations. How can we make sense of this? By looking at the benefits of God’s faithfulness in Christ in this life with all it’s perils. There is a reason why the western world has moved on from covid restrictions in September 2022, and China still suffers over 21 million people locked down! The kingdom of heaven grows like a mustard seed bush and the wild birds nest in it’s shade! The world benefits from God’s compassionate rule. Christians with this insight into Christ’s Kingdom are best at seeing the silver lining around any storm cloud that punishes our world. Hindus, Muslims, atheists and even Jews do not see His blessings like Christians do.

v35-41 “Peace, Be Still” is not a whispered request Christ makes to the wind and sea, but rather a command! See Mk. 9:25 & Luke 4:39. His authority overwhelms his disciples, amazing them. One day you and I will see his authority open the heavens and raise the dead on Judgment Day. Comfort and encourage each other with these words, 1st Thessalonians 4:14-18.