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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Mark 5

Verses 1-20

  1. Intro: I am Legion
    1. Intro: Jesus & his disciples just went through one storm on Galilee, & then they blew right into one more…in Gadara.
      1. As we read & study this story about a demon possessed man this morning, we will approach it this way:
        1. We will affirm the biblical reality of Satan & his host. But in doing so we will refrain from promoting an unhealthy fascination our enemy.
        2. Our goal is to reveal Satan’s purpose and then demonstrate Jesus’ power over evil forces & His ability to heal the harm which they have done.
    2. Legion – 3/6000 in a Roman legion. [this army of intruders, in 1 man] I am Legion.
    1. Decapolis (vs.20) – Gk. deka(10) + polis(city).
      1. Eastern side of Galilee.
        1. Damascus, Syria (most Northern city). Amman, Jordan (most Southern). [also Jerash, Beth Shean]
      2. Picture of where they believe this took place.
      3. Now, they just survived a close drowning, I’m sure they just want to get on dry land!
        1. I bet they were scrambling to get off first...then came Legion running to meet them.
      4. No Jews in this boat would have been comfortable here, for at least 3 reasons: It was Gentile-ville, Pigs-ville, & deads-ville.
        1. Gentiles were unclean, Pigs were unclean, close contact with the dead would make you unclean.
    2. This man lost everything!
      1. His home, fellowship with family & friends, his decency, self-control, peace, purpose for living.
        1. I picture his eyes black, shifty, darting around like lightening; his face grimaced, distorted, framed w/a distressing look; his brow stuck in furrowed position; his hair unkempt, matted & mangled; his teeth brownish/orange from stains; breath that could melt a candlestick; body odor…not a stench to “high heaven”, but an aerosol from hell itself; his body naked with no dignity; nails over grown & curling like claws; arms bloody, scabbed, from self-mutilation; ankles adorning fetter anklets from previous botched attempts of chaining. His home…a cave w/a continuous smell of decomposing human corpses. No discipline, no authority, no restraint!
    3. Possession
      1. Steps/Stages: It would appear that an evil spirit seduces a man, & the man yields, & that repeatedly, until presently he becomes completely mastered by the evil spirit. In that sense he is possessed by it.
      2. His thinking is under its mastery; His emotions responds to its impulses; & his will is dominated by the demon.
      3. Everybody is going to be possessed by something or somebody.
        1. God didn’t design the human heart to be a vacuum but to be occupied by Jesus.
    4. (5) Cutting himself – Self mutilation [Self-harm (SH) deliberate self-harm (DSH) self-injury (SI)]
      1. Today - The most common way of self injury is cutting oneself, often repeatedly, with sharp objects like knives, razor blades, or sharp glass. It is estimated that 80% of self mutilators are women who are usually in their teens and early twenties.
      2. Cutting is often done to cope w/whatever is causing stress [Temp relief, from neg feelings]
        1. You might deal with it by taking a run, bike ride, go to a movie something to take your mind off your cares.
      3. Cutting is a serious issue, & can lead to a lifetime of shame & despair. It can’t be ignored. [parents eyes wide open]
      4. Several types: Experimental Cutter (no reason, just experimenting). Show-off Cutter (self explanatory); Shock Cutter (for shock value). Rebellious Cutter (to make you cry, causing misery for someone else) [Starts getting more serious] Self-Punishment Cutter (deeper in the issues, demands counseling, recovery process, i.e. Needs help w/thinking patterns behind the actions of cutting). Distraction Cutter (hard to imagine pain so great that creating more pain would take the focus off the original pain). Coping Skill Cutter (have you ever been so mad you just wanted to punch something? Anger builds up, intensity increases, & bam it happens. Cutting becomes their release of intensity!). Mental Issues Cutter (mental problems are rooted in incorrect thinking patterns). (Mark Gregston, Heartlight Ministries,
        1. Cuts on an arm uncover gashes on a soul.” (me)
        2. Obviously in our story, the demonic takes cutting, if its not extreme enough, to a whole new level of extreme. [Elijah vs. 450 Baal prophets, So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, w/knives & lances, until the blood gushed out on them]
    5. Here we have Jesus fulfilling, to the uttermost, His Purpose for coming…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. :)
    1. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1Jn.3:8
    2. Satan tried to destroy these men; but Jesus came to deliver them!
      1. I’ve come to set the captives free. He came to bring new hope. Freedom.
      2. Everyone’s life has been marred & spoiled by the Devil in some way.
        1. It’s our very desire for our Celebrate Recovery meeting on Thurs nights at 7pm. To help set free those who have gotten ensnared in life’s destructive Hurts, Habits, Hangups.
      3. What does the fate of the pigs show, about what the demons were trying to do to the man?
        1. What the demons did to the pigs is what they wants to do to all of God’s creation. His whole desire is to kill & destroy.
          1. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (then Jesus says) I have come that they may have life, & that they may have it more abundantly.Jn.10:10
      4. Note: He calls him a man (8)
        1. He didn’t look like a man; didn’t smell like a man; didn’t act like a man.
        2. What dignity He gives to one we would probably call an animal, beast, or monster (if not worse!)
        3. Sin made him anything but a man - But Jesus sees us not for what we are, but for what we can be by his power & grace! [He saw: Made in the Image of God stamped on him. He saw a set free soul. He saw an evangelist. He saw a man.]
    1. ​​​​​​​But what about the 2000 pigs committing sui-sui-suicide? - Jesus, what about P.E.T.A? (Pigs Entering Treacherous Areas) - That doesn’t seem very nice.
      1. What does this show you about the value Jesus places on the man?
      2. I guess according to Jesus, People matter more than Pigs!
        1. ​​​​​​​It’s ok that approx 3.5 million hogs are slaughtered daily worldwide for a tasty meal of bacon or pork(1.3 billion a yr.); but 2000 to restore a broken man?
      3. This doesn’t mean Jesus had a lack of concern for animals but simply the greatness Slide#16c of His concern was for people! Even this man!
        1. ​​​​​​​Also, it is convincing evidence that he really had been set free!
        2. And, it was an indication of Jesus’ power to destroy all that is evil or unclean!
      4. And as a side light, The Gadarene Swine Law says, Merely because the group is in formation does not mean that the group is on the right course.
    2. Imperfect tense pictures graphically the disappearance of pig after pig into the sea.(13)
      1. Does that mean pigs would rather be dead then demon possessed?
      2. It is encouraging to note that the demons did not know what Jesus planned to do.
      3. Do you think demons just camouflage themselves better in our society today?
    1. ​​​​​​​When those who slopped the hogs went to tell the townsfolk. What do you think was the 1st thing they told them? Legion has been healed or, “The pigs have drowned”.
      1. ​​​​​​​What does this tell you about their priorities?
        1. “The material loss out weighed the spiritual gain.”
    2. The sad part of this whole story, are the towns people who didn’t even recognize they were Slide#19b being controlled by the same Devil, just in more dignified ways. :(
      1. ​​​​​​​See, this miracle was just a little bit too expensive.
        1. Jesus was a little too dangerous to have around.
        2. He’s interfering w/Property & Profit.
        3. They preferred...Hogs over the Healer; Swine over the Savior.
    3. Imagine asking Jesus to leave you?
      1. Poem:
        Rabbi, be gone! Thy powers bring loss to us & ours.
        Our ways are not as Thine. Thou lovest men, we, swine.

        Oh, get you hence, Omnipotence, & take this fool of Thine!
        ​​​​​​​His soul? What care we for his lost soul?

        What good to us that thou hast made him ​​​​​​​whole, Since we have lost our swine?
        And Christ went sadly. He had wrought for them a sign

        Of Love, & hope, & tenderness divine; They wanted - swine!
        Christ stands w/o our door & gently knocks;

        But if our gold, or swine, the entrance blocks,
        He forces no man’s hold – He will depart,
        And leave us to the meanness of our heart. (Sidlow Baxter, Awake My Heart, pg.77.)​​​​​​​
    1. ​​​​​​​Here we have the 1st Missionary to the Gentiles! (not Paul)
    2. Salvation is a miracle. It changes lives. This man was sitting & clothed in his right mind.
      1. ​​​​​​​Maybe an important note for some, He saved him 1st before He did anything about his clothes. [so often we want the outside dealt with 1st]
        1. Clothed & in his right mind...The Lord changes our very nature! A completely new nature.
        2. Salvation is a heart experience. It is an inside job! (Jerry Vines, Exploring the Gospels Mark, pg.89)
        3. It changes lives. It also controls lives. He was now under he control of Jesus.
    3. Prayer Requests: Interesting, Jesus answered the requests from the demons & the unbelievers…but not the new convert!
      1. Demons asked, Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.
      2. The Town folk, began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
      3. New Convert begged Him that he might be with Him. (& he was turned down!)
    4. (19) Now that he’s Set Free! Can you imagine him walking into town? Up his street. Right up to his families door.
      1. (people crying) “Here comes Legion again!” & then…“Mother, I’m home!” (Ahhhhhhh!)
    5. For the 1st time Jesus tells someone to go & tell others about His healing.
      1. Have you made your salvation public?
      2. All true testimony is testimony to Jesus Christ, as he stands on trial before the world. Not...A thinly disguised self-advertisement. [a testimony to what Jesus has done]
    6. In the purpose of God, the whole treacherous trip across Galilee had been for this 1 man!
    7. Jesus had to leave, but the man remained & bore faithful witness to the grace & power of Jesus Christ!
      1. He actually paved the way for Jesus to minister there later. Mark 7:31
    8. Started with I am he could say, I am Legend.

Verses 21-43

  1. DESPERATE FAITH (21-24)
    1. Last week we had one crowd that was relieved to see Jesus leave. This next group was waiting for Him to welcome Him.
      1. Especially 2 people: Jairus & an anonymous woman.
        1. One an important synagogue officer; the other an anonymous “nobody”.
      2. Both were about to lose something: Jairus was about to lose a daughter who had given him 12 years of happiness. The woman was about to lose an affliction that had brought her 12 years of sorrow.
    2. It wasn’t easy for Jairus to come to Jesus.
      1. He definitely would have gotten flack from both the religious leaders & the other synagogue leaders.
      2. His position meant he was in charge of the services. Choosing one to pray, another to read the Scripture selections.
      3. He was most likely present in the synagogue when the man with the withered hand was healed.
    3. (24) So Jesus went with him - Watch, as Jesus leads Jairus on a walk of faith.
      1. Jairus means whom God enlightens. [watch the dimmer switch slowly rise]
    4. You can almost hear Jairus saying, “my 7th grader is dying, my only daughter, but the healer had agreed to come with me…its all good…well, except for the crowds/traffic!”
      1. A multitude thronged him…& now an interruption, a delay. This can’t be good!
      2. Should I remind Him, I was 1st? Maybe not. Just don’t let her die God.
      3. Have you had a tragedy in your life like this, where one of your kids were seriously hurt, or deathly sick?
        1. I bet you would’ve done anything to save/heal your child?
        2. I bet you’ve verbalized to the Lord, Me Lord, but not my child!
          1. ​​​​​​​Then you understand fully that parental love!
          2. As tough as a man you can find, he will melt like butter if his child is sick. (Stoic Russian officer asking Jeff & I for prayer for his daughter)
    5. Jairus, an officer of the synagogue, was no doubt wealthy…but now comes one completely bankrupt.
  2. FINGERS OF FAITH (25-34)
    1. ​​​​​​​HER PRESSURES
      1. Physically – most likely a chronic menstrual disorder. Which is a difficult condition for any woman of any era. (Max Lucado, Book of Mark, pg.47.)
      2. Emotionally – It would have sapped her strength day after day.
      3. Mentally - It was apparently incurable. She was at the end of her ropes.
      4. Sexually – she could not touch her husband according to Levitical law.
      5. Maternally – she could not have children.
      6. Domestically – anything she touched was considered unclean. No washing dishes, no sweeping floors.
      7. Financially – She spent all that she had(26).
        1. Dr. Luke seems to protect his profession by stating in his account she had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, Lk.8:43 [i.e. an incurable disease]
      8. Societally – She defiled everyone she touched.
        1. According to Lev.15:25-27 she was unclean.
      9. Spiritually – This barred her from worship in the Temple.
    2. This is a great picture of what sin does for you.
      1. It is a terrible disease. It is terminal. It is a tremendous drain. It takes away our life blood. Sin never gives, only takes. It never adds life, only diminishes it.
      2. Sin always takes you farther then you want to go; It will keep you longer then you want to stay; It will cost you more than you want to spend.
      3. Or as Samson learned at the end of his life, Sin will find you, blind you, bind you, & grind you. [Jdg16:21 So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes(blind)… he was bound with bronze chains(bind) & forced to grind grain in the prison(grind)]
    4. She could have used a number of excuses to stay away from Jesus. [Listen, u might be using these]
      1. I’m not important enough to ask Jesus for help.
      2. He’s busy going with this Jairus man, I won’t bother him.
      3. Nothing else I’ve tried has worked, why try again?
      4. It wasn’t right coming to Him as last resort.
        1. How many have put off a decision for Christ because “it wouldn’t be fare to come now… when all else has failed.” Wait, He loves that!
        2. Desperation is commonly the prelude to Grace!
    5. She laid all these aside & came by faith to Jesus!
    6. HER FAITH: It was weak, timid, & perhaps even superstitious.
    7. (28) If only I touch his clothes –
      1. Maybe from 3:10 For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him.
    8. (29) Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up – Not just the surface, but its very fountain/source.
      1. Same w/sin in our life! Jesus doesn’t only deal w/the particular sins in our life, but most importantly the very fountain head of sin…in our heart!
    9. (30-33) Who touched my clothes? - Why does he ask this?
      1. Here was a faith-touch that reached Him, right through His clothes.
      2. You’ve heard of Dine-n-Dash, well this was a failed attempt at Heal-n-Dash.
        1. Oh, what a contact that was made between a believing sufferer & an Almighty Savior. When her dilemma met His dedication, a miracle occurred.
    10. 3 reasons Jesus asked Who touched my clothes?
      1. For her sake – He wanted to be more than a “healer” to her. He wanted to be her savior & friend.
        1. He wanted her to look into His face; feel His tenderness; & hear His loving words. [She’d never have heard vs.34]
        2. She became the only woman to receive the endearing title of daughter from his lips!
      2. For those around her sake – He helped her to share her testimony & thus glorify the Lord.
      3. For Jairus’ sake – He needed all the encouragement he could get.
        1. I wonder, how many attend church every week & yet fail to touch the hem of Jesus garment by faith for spiritual blessing?
    11. (33) Note, both found their answers at the feet of Jesus. (vs.22,33)
    12. (34) It is one thing to throng Him, & quite another to trust Him!
      1. Augustine said, “Flesh presses, faith touches!”
    13. This woman represents all of humanity. We are all ill. We have spent all our resources. We’ve tried all of the worlds remedies. We must not fear our faith is too weak, too immature, nor too ignorant. We must fear only 1 thing…that we let Him pass w/o reaching out & touching Him.
  3. JOURNEY OF FAITH (35-43)
    1. ​​​​​​​Jairus was doubtless becoming more anxious & disturbed w/every passing moment that ticked by.
      1. This must have felt like being in the back of an ambulance, & then slowing down because of heavy traffic…then, complete grid lock.
    2. (35) Then those words came…those he so greatly feared, The teacher doesn’t care about your daughter. If he did he would have hurried!
      1. ​​​​​​​Remember the old cube camera flashes? - This must have been like one of those going off in his face. But then a quick reversal like in wrestling! (36)
      2. 1st he had to trust for a a resurrection!
        1. Jarius’ faith walk continues...straight uphill.
        2. Now the stage was set for Jesus to perform His 1st resurrection.
    3. (36) Jesus heard – or more accurately ignored (or refuses to hear).
    4. It was the Lord’s Words that made all the difference:
      1. A Word of Faith – Go on believing (36)
      2. A Word of Hope – The child is not dead, but sleeping (39)
      3. A Word of Love & Power – Little girl, I say to you arise (41)
        1. Unbelief laughs at God’s word, but faith lays hold of it & experiences the power of God.
        2. That’s where we find strength & encouragement in daily bible reading, where He encourages us w/scriptures like these.
    5. (41) Took the child by her hand – Jesus touching a dead body?
      1. We notice Jesus wasn’t defiled by either of the ladies.
      2. And you will not defile my Lord if you bring Him all your sin.
      3. This is the glory of Grace - Instead of contaminating Christ by her touch, power went out of Him & cured her.
    6. Talitha Cumi – Damsel, arise. [very tender words]
      1. Possibly the very words her mother would say to her to awaken her in the morning.
      2. Maybe not the typical words used to awaken a Jr. Higher today. [or maybe it should be]
      3. Here’s a beautiful blend of human tenderness & divine power.
      4. Also note the 1st thing she saw was Jesus face, then her parents, then 3 enraptured apostles.
        1. This is a great proto-resurrection for all believers. [Jesus face, & the rest of the church]
    7. She not only came back to life but also was healed of her sickness, as we see she was able to walk(42) & eat(43).
    8. Something should be given her to eat – Note, divine miracles never replace common sense human care.
    9. Lessons learned:
    10. God doesn’t always rescue His people from danger or heal every affliction…but it does mean that He holds the ultimate authority & that we need never fear.
      1. In this case he had compassion on the parents & brought her back from heaven. Maybe in your case Jesus had compassion on your child instead & didn’t make her come back to this world?
    11. No situation in your life is so desperate that Jesus cannot work.
      1. Disease, delays, & even death are under His control.
      2. No matter how depressing your situation may appear…“Do not be afraid; only believe!”
    12. You might say, It’s too hot in my incubator. Jesus says, No, it’s the perfect temp. You might say, my environment is out of control. Jesus says, I have all under control. You might say, spiritual growth & development hurts. Jesus says, Yes it does.
    13. Reach out today & touch Jesus. - Reach out & trust Jesus.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Mark 5". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.