To say that Jesus is my hero, really wouldn’t go far enough! To say that he is my Lord and my God, and the One that I worship would be closer to the truth. In this post, I just want to share with you my awe and wonder at a few of the miracles of Jesus Christ, that I have just read in Mark chapter five. That’s right, in just this one chapter of the Bible He proves Himself to be master over demons, disease and death! He restores a man, a woman and a child. He is certainly Lord over their entire mind, body and spirit. In just one chapter of the Bible all of humanity is dealt with by Jesus with compassion, mercy and restoration. It is a faith-filled and faith-building chapter, to be sure. He has truly made my heart sing this morning and I hope He will cause a similar reaction in you too.
I nearly called this post, “Jesus deals with worst case scenarios!” So hold that in mind as you read this chapter. He went across a lake in a storm to find the worst case of demon-possession that could be found; on his way to raise a child from the dead, He healed a woman whose disease was incurable for the medical profession of her day. He chose His path that day not by accident but led by His Father to reveal to the world who He was.
Anyway, that being said, even if you’re not bothered by demons, you may have occasionally been afflicted by various health problems or despair, and there is nothing more certain in life than the death we all face ahead of us. So, I reckon we’re all in this boat together, to a certain extent, so let’s read this short Bible passage to see if there is any hope for you and I in the storms of life. (Read it on Bible Gateway here)
Setting the Scene – end of Chapter 4
Jesus has just told a storm at sea to “Be still!” and it happened just as He said. He has just proved to His disciples that He is God, the creator and maintainer of the world; thus causing a certain fear to develop in those men with Him in the boat. Then Mark marches right on with this action-packed chapter five, that has just blown my mind this morning!
In this chapter, we will encounter a violent, mad-man set free from his demons; we find a woman instantly healed from a lengthy, socially-isolating bleeding illness; then to top the bill, we meet a child raised from the dead! None of these things could be done by anyone but God. That is the whole point of these things being written down and preserved for us in our Bibles. As John wrote in his gospel account,
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31
Mighty Miracle Messiah Man, Jesus Christ
Jesus’ miracles were done to attest to his being the Messiah. He was proving Himself to be the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. He claimed to be the great “I Am,” to be God in the flesh or deity incarnate and to be One with the Father. His miracles were all to prove this fact to the world.
He did various classes of miracles such as those displaying his power over the natural world, such as the stilling of the storm, that I have mentioned already. Then there were the healings (blind, deaf and dumb, bleeding and skin diseases etc), there were the instances of deliverance from evil demons and lastly there were the raising back to life from the dead. He proved Himself to be Lord of all the natural world, spiritual world and of life and death itself. It is settled in my mind that He is equal to God the Father and I hope that if it is not settled in yours, that I can at least point you to going back to reading one or more gospel accounts with an open heart to seek the truth.
Demon-Possessed Man Healed
Jesus and His disciples having crossed the sea of Galilee in their boats land in Gadarenes, whereupon they are met by a fearsome man. The passage of scripture describing him is worth reading.
“And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and 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. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.”
Mark 5:2-5 (The story is also in Mth 8:28-34 & in Luke 8:26-39)
In Luke’s account we read the additional details that he “wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house,” and in Matthew’s account we read that he was “exceedingly fierce.”
This is a desperate description of what today would be termed a severe mental-health problem. He is a violent, self-harmer. A danger to himself and others. Today the psychiatrists, who deny the spiritual world, would drug him and Section him under the Mental Health Act and detain him in a Mental Institution. They may say he had Multiple Personality Disorder or some other such terminology from their growing listings of “disorders.” I recently happened to watch a video clip of some psychiatrists being asked if they had ever “cured” any of their patients, and their laughter in response to the question was quite telling, to say the least!
Basically, we may now know how to “restrain” people by using sedative drugs (or electric shocks and brain ops) instead of chains and shackles, but without the deliverance from evil spirits by Jesus (or the name of Jesus used by a true faithful follower of Him) some of these tormented people will be made worse rather than made better.
That is not to say that all mental-health issues are demonic – please don’t get me wrong here. A lot of mental and emotional anguish is due to the pain and suffering inflicted by this life. Some is just a natural reaction to difficulties we face and choices we make, without any evil spirits being involved. However, any reader of the Bible knows that such wicked, evil, demonic spirits are referred to frequently within its pages; and that the evicting of such spirits was one of the attesting works of Jesus being the Messiah.
That being said, let’s now get back to the story in Mark’s gospel and what the man did when he saw Jesus.
“When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he 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.”
For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”” Mark 5:6-8
Now it seems to me, that this running towards Jesus and worshiping Him is a good start indeed. For many would do the entire opposite. Many people run AWAY from Jesus, not towards Him. And many people speak derogatory, blasphemous words about and against Him. But not so this particular man, as recorded for us.
The next thing that I noticed is that when Jesus asks his name, it seems that the demons reply to the question by telling Him that there are so very many demons within this particular man.
“Then He asked him, “What is your name?”
And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.” Mark 5:9-10
NB – the man’s name wasn’t “Legion” – I have heard supposed Bible teachers come out with such things! The demons were just using the term to describe their numbers or their own perceived strength. It appears that the demon(s) were communicating with Jesus through the man.
Now for some reason, Jesus appears to listen to the pleas of these demons to not send them out of the country (or into the abyss as Luke wrote) and instead instructs them to come out of the man and go into a large herd of nearby pigs. Whereupon the pigs went crazy and “ran violently down the steep place into the lake, and drowned.” Then the frightened pig keepers went and spread the story around, so that many others came to see what had taken place.
I have heard it taught, that since for the Jews pigs were not considered clean animals for food consumption then this was not only a chastisement on such an “industry” taking place at all, but it also acted as the advertisement for others from the city to come and see the wonder of what became of this notorious man when he encountered Jesus.
So now we find this man, “sitting at the feet of Jesus and clothed and in his right mind.” Hallelujah! What a wonderful miracle. The man now wants to be with Jesus all the time. He is so grateful for his freedom from the horrific torment that he has suffered under for a long time.
“And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “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.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marvelled.” Mark 5:18-20
Contrast this man’s personal response to that of the people of the Gadarenes, pig-keeping region.
“Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.” Luke 8:37
Anyway, the man went home, where he had friends who remembered him and shared his joy. He was no longer a tormented outcast but could once again live a normal and useful life, always a living witness to the power and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I need to take us into my book by Bryan W Sheldon, called, “The Miracles of the Messiah.” Here we learn some nuances and depth of meaning that my non-Jewish, modern-day eyes had been unaware of. He tells us that;
“The Jews (of Jesus’ time) differentiated between an unclean spirit and an evil spirit; “evil spirit” being the general term for the demon whilst “unclean spirit” was more particular the description of a demon spirit that found its element amongst the tombs or other equally “unclean places.” For instance, there are “necromancers” who visit burial places to be “better inspired” by the unclean spirits there. Similarly, they understood those with the spirit of python, or the prophesying spirit to be of the same kind. Here then is the significance of this recorded exorcism, that it demonstrated the power of the Messiah over Satan, especially Satan seen as the Serpent and an unclean spirit, who had the power of death and produced in humans the fear of death.”
NB: “…that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14-15
“It is clear that the grip of Satan on the population would have to be broken before Israel could be free to accept (or reject) Jesus as their Messiah. The ministry of exorcism, conducted by the Messiah and His disciples, was essential to accomplish this.
By the end of the day, he that was possessed by demons had been healed, and the devilish tormentors confessing as they were dismissed: “You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Most High God.” This being an indicator that demons were compelled to acknowledge the deity of Jesus as well as His Messianic office. These victories over demons were consequent upon the successful stand taken by Jesus in the wilderness, from which He had returned “in the power of the Spirit”.
NB – Some of the newer Bible versions do not make the language distinction regarding the types of evil demon spirits, so this kind of in-depth study wouldn’t be possible with some of those versions.
Now let’s move onto the stories of the woman and the child.
Bleeding Woman Healed
In Mark 5 verses 25-34 we meet the lady who had a bleeding illnesses for twelve years and who had her finances bled dry by the medics of her day! And to add insult to injury, they had actually made her health worse! How many in our day and age can attest to the same trials, I wonder?
“Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 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.”” Mark 5:25-28
Anyway, this dear lady, when she heard that Jesus was in her locality, she sought Him out. Due to the Jewish teachings on the ritual, religious uncleanness of any bleeding health issues, she didn’t want people to know that she was going to reach out and touch this famous rabbi. (Read Leviticus 15:25-30 at Bible Gateway on such issues of bleeding).
Yet in spite of those Laws, in her desperate need and in faith she touched his garment in the midst of the crowd, hoping to go unnoticed, and was instantly healed of her malady. Then shock, horror, gasp!!! – Jesus and the crowd stop in their tracks as He asks, “Who touched My clothes?” Now afraid, she tells the truth on her knees before Him and His response is just beautiful.
“And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”” Mark 5:34
Anyway, the woman went home now publicly affirmed, where she had friends who shared her joy. She was no longer an outcast but could once again live a normal and useful life, always a living witness to the power and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. No more doctors and medical treatments to leach away all her time and money! Such peace and joy.
We can certainly learn from this lady’s faith. We too, can still go to the Lord in humility and ask for His touch to heal and change our lives. Although Jesus appeared to be on His way to help another, He still had time for this humble, faith-filled, unwell, religiously and socially-excluded lady. And He still has time for you and I. And if our faith is feeling a little small and weak, we can always be like the man in Mark chapter nine, where it is recorded;
“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”” Mark 9:23-24
Death Defeated for a Little Girl
In Mark 5:21-24 & 35-43 we are told about a synagogue ruler called Jairus, whose only daughter is gravely ill. Here we meet a father with great and touching faith in Jesus. And bear in mind, that this was a ruler of a synagogue! We often lump all such people together with the Pharisees and think that they ALL rejected Christ as their Messiah – but that certainly wasn’t the case in this narrative.
“And behold, 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.”” Mark 5:22-23
This story gets interrupted by the woman’s healing, outlined above. The twist in this tale of Jairus is that whilst he is waiting for Jesus to make his way to his child, it transpires that she actually died. And then Jesus tells the child’s father,
“Do not be afraid; only believe.”
After being ridiculed by a group of noisy mourners at their house for saying, “The child is not dead, but sleeping,” he takes both parents, along with Peter, James and John, into the room with the dead twelve-year-old girl. Perhaps He only takes those with faith in Him, for resurrection that He is about to do (or maybe it’s just a small room?).
Jesus took hold of her hand and simply said, “Little girl, I say to you arise,” whereupon to the amazement of all, she did just that. And very practically, He told the parents to give her something to eat.
The ultimate miracle of life given back to a dead body was proof that He was the Messiah, that He is the Word of God, and He is God in the flesh. No one other than God is able to truly give life back to a dead body like this. And to think, He did this for a ruler of a synagogue as a witness to them all of who He was.
And so this little family, Jairus and his wife and only child, are no longer suffering illness, death and bereavement, but instead once more they can live their lives, always a living witness to the power and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such amazement and peace and joy would surely be theirs that day.
NB: Touching a dead body made a person unclean under Jewish Law. (Read Leviticus 21:1-4 & Numbers 19:11-22 on Bible Gateway). I have noticed that Jesus was breaking lots of Jewish Laws on this particular day. Levitical Laws regarding being unclean if you came into contact with dead bodies, graves and a person who was bleeding. I have often noticed that Jesus did such things and they didn’t make Him unclean in the slightest.
To those present, who knew that the girl was dead and was now alive again, there was no escaping these facts for them. They would each have to decide for themselves, who this man Jesus was. Would they love Him or hate Him? Would they accept that He fulfilled all the prophecies in the Old Testament pertaining to the Messiah or would they deny the evidence before their very eyes?
Just a thought:- I have noticed the the woman’s bleeding condition is referred to as having been ongoing for 12 years, and also that the girl was 12 years old. There is something about the number 12 in the Bible, but not sure if there is a connection here or not? If you have any thoughts, let me know in the comments below.
I want to quote again from my book by Bryan W Sheldon, called “The Miracles of the Messiah.”
“Raising the dead was the most startling of all His miracles. To give sight to the blind was wonderful, to loosen the limbs of the paralyzed extraordinary, to cleanse a leper was amazing, to provide hearing for the deaf and speech for the dumb was remarkable, to give clarity of thought to the lunatic was astonishing, but when He raised the dead He did all these things at once. To give life to a corpse was simply astounding! The corpse is blind, deaf, dumb, paralyzed, numb, unclean, and without thought in its head, all combined. In giving the essence of life He provides all these things at one time.”
The ultimate Messianic proof miracle then! Life from death. This was a foretaste of the hope of all true born-again followers of Jesus Christ whose future is everlasting life with Jesus and the Father.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:13
Faith in these Few Followed by Fury From Family
And yet, astounding though these three miracles were, we find in the very next chapter six of Mark’s account, quite a different reaction from the people who knew Him from His youth. We are told that when Jesus went to “his own country,” to teach in the synagogue there, that although the people were astonished at His wisdom and mighty works, they were also “OFFENDED at Him!” Jesus Himself, “marvelled because of their unbelief,” and couldn’t do any mighty works amongst them because of this. He said,
“A prophet is not without honour except in his own country,
among his own relatives,
and in his own house.”
I have written this post in the hope that you will NOT be amongst those who are offended by Jesus, but instead will be amongst those who “believe and have life in his name.” My hope is that you will be able to join with “doubting Thomas” who having finally seen the risen Lord Jesus,
“…said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Do not be unbelieving, but believing. Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:27-29
I rejoice therefore, in the fresh discoveries that I noticed today about this wonderful chapter of the Bible. I rejoice in how the faith of these three very different people (a man, a woman and a child) met with the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring about their freedom, healing and life from death experiences. I rejoice that the Lord Jesus has such power and authority over our minds, our bodies, and our spirit. I rejoice in my increasing understanding that the Lord was completing the work that the Father had sent Him to do; to demonstrate that He was The Messiah, Saviour, Lord and King, for ALL who are willing to repent of their sins and humbly ask for His forgiveness and mercy. I rejoice greatly in the fact that,
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
And so, let us all feast on such faith-building facts in order to fan into flames our own faith in the Father’s faithfulness.
Many blessings to you all
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