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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Mark 5

Verses 1-5

Introduction

In this chapter we see in the first section the ministry of the Lord in the presence of satan. In the second section we see how He serves in the midst of situations that show man’s utter powerlessness and misery. There we see His service in cases of incurable illness and even death, and how people who acknowledge their hopeless condition do not call upon Him in vain. We see not only His victorious power, but also the extent of the deliverance. This too is all education for servants. They may know that He is with them in the storm. They may also know that His power is beyond the power of satan, sickness and death.

These powers can also play a role in the lives of believers. If that is the case, they are impediments to serving the Lord:
1. The first, the power of satan (Mark 5:1-Proverbs :), becomes public when the unbridled power of ancient nature is given the opportunity to assert itself.
2. The second, the flow of blood (Mark 5:25-Nahum :), is the impurity that comes out of us, defiling ourselves and our surroundings.
3. The third, death (Mark 5:35-John :), is a condition in which believers sleep in such a way that to them must be called: “Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead” (Ephesians 5:14). These believers are in a state of sleep, which makes them indistinguishable from the dead.

The Gerasene Demoniac

The Lord comes with His disciples safely across the sea. The elements of nature have not been able to stop Him and those who are with Him. Now they come into the land of the Gerasenes to serve there as well.

As soon as the Lord sets foot ashore, a man from an environment that speaks of death comes to meet Him. While this man is outwardly surrounded by death, he has within him an unclean spirit that wants to bring him to death. A man could not be more wretched. The Holy Spirit gives a detailed description of the condition of the man. This is to warn us of the power of satan, of the untamed nature that is controlled by him.

All the laws that men have made are made to tame the old nature. But it can never be tamed. Not even the law of God can. Nor can we do it to ourselves (Romans 7:14-Ezra :). But the Lord Jesus can make His fiercest opponent His most devoted follower.

The man is not accidentally among the tombs, but has “his dwelling” there. He is at home there. The dead are his companions. In all his personal misery, he is also an untamable danger to others. He is not maintainable in society and therefore expelled. In this man all the power of satan becomes public. No one is able to control him, let alone set him free. He spends night and day restlessly in the tombs, while satan incites him to madness and self-chastisement.

Verses 6-14

A Demon Possessed Set Free

Then the great Deliverer appears on the scene. Without it appearing that the man has seen the Lord Jesus before, he recognizes Him from afar and runs towards Him. The man does not know Him, but the demons who dwell in him know Him. They acknowledge Him as their Superior and honor Him through the man.

The man is identified with the unclean spirit. He doesn’t say ‘do not torment us’, but “do not torment me”. Thus in the believer the Holy Spirit makes Himself one with the believer in the most intimate way. Here too the demons acknowledge through the mouth of the man that there is no connection whatsoever between them and the Lord Jesus (Mark 1:24). They can rightly say “what business do we have with each other?” when it comes to any connection with Him. In another way they indeed do have to do with Him. For He is their Judge and will condemn them and throw them into hell. They speak to Him as “Jesus” - demons never speak to Him as “Lord”! - while they acknowledge Him as “Son of the Most High God”.

To these statements comes the unclean spirit after Christ’s command to leave the man. The Lord Jesus explicitly calls him “unclean spirit”. The man will have become very filthy spiritually with all kinds of ideas, so that he will not be able to think soundly. It is therefore a great grace of Christ that He comes to the man without him calling for help. The man could not do that. This is how Christ came to us when we were in the power of the devil.

The Lord wants the unclean spirit to fully speak out and expose himself. There must be nothing left behind in man. Now it becomes clear that there are many demons in man: a legion. A Roman legion consisted of 6,000 men. Once the devil has entered someone’s life, he will take possession of that person more and more by letting as many demons as possible dwell in him.

After the Lord has asked for his name, the unclean spirit urgently implores Him not to send him and his fellow demons outside of the country. In doing so, they acknowledge His power. There appears to be a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. The possession of swine indicates disobedience on the side of God’s people, for they are unclean beasts. He who owns a herd of them does not heed God’s precepts. The demons implore Him to send them into the swine. They want to exchange the man in the tombs for a new home in the swine.

The Lord allows the demons to go into the swine. Unclean spirits go into unclean beasts. By the demons going into the swine it is clearly shown that the dwelling of demons in humans is as certain and real as it is terrible. Their urge for destruction also becomes clear here. If the demons are capable of killing two thousand swine, how terrible the man must have been. How fortunate that the Lord Jesus appears in his life and sets him free!

The swine keepers haven’t been able to protect the herd from this outbreak. Powerless and anxious, they will have watched the behavior and demise of the swine. Instead of bowing down to the power of Christ, they flee to the city to tell there, and also in the fields, what happened. The people who hear it want to see it for themselves. They come to see what has happened.

Verses 15-20

Set Free and Sent Out

When we read of the people of that region that “they came to Jesus,” it seems a wonderful deed. Unfortunately, they did not come to honor Him. When they come to Him, they see the man they have so often wanted to shackle and subdue, sitting with Him in complete peace. He is no longer naked and frightening, but clothed and in his right mind. He has changed both externally and internally. He is as it were clothed with “the garments of salvation” (Isaiah 61:10) and he knows the Son of God with his understanding (1 John 5:20). This is the man who has had the legion of demons.

Instead of praising the grace of the Lord for this deliverance, the people of that area become afraid. They fear Him Who is able to destroy the captivity of the devil (1 John 3:8). They fear Christ and His grace more than the devil and his works!

When they have seen that, they are going to testify again about what they have seen. Again they will tell their story about this miraculous deliverance. They also tell about the swine. The effect of the story of the witnesses is not that people acknowledge Christ as Savior. He is for them someone who has destroyed their livelihood. Such a person they are better off without. Alas, they consider the demons and the swine to be more pleasant company than the Son of God. This is a new work of satan in the hearts of men. The Lord is going away. He does not force Himself on someone.

The healed man does not only feel at ease with the Lord Jesus (Mark 5:18), but all his love goes out to Him. He longs to follow Him wherever He goes. However understandable and good the man’s desire may be, the Lord does not allow him to stay with Him. That is because He has another commission for him. He wants the man to go to his family to testify of his deliverance, allowing him to function normally again.

The Lord Jesus also wants the man to tell of the beneficence that He has shown His mercy on him. He does not only perform acts of power, but also shows His mercy. He performs acts of power from a heart full of compassion. He wants that where men know us well, we should testify of what He has done to us.

The man obeys immediately. It takes no effort for him to fulfill the commission. It is wonderful to read that he preaches “all that Jesus had done to him”, even though the Lord had told him to report what “the Lord” had done to him. For the man, ‘the Lord’, that is, ‘Yahweh’, is the Same as ‘Jesus’. So it is. It may be easier for us to speak about God than about the humiliated Jesus, but God is concerned with the glory of the Lord Jesus and that should be our concern as well.

Verses 21-24

An Official of the Synagogue Comes to the Lord

The Lord Jesus goes aboard again and crosses over again to the other side. There a great crowd gathers again. Out of the crowd comes a man who is looking for Him. When he discovers Him, he falls down at His feet. The man lying there at the Lord’s feet is not one of the common people. He is an official of the synagogue. Mark says his name is Jairus.

Jairus has a prominent religious function, but he does not belong to the group of leaders who hate the Lord. He is, just like Nicodemus (John 3:1-Exodus :), an exception. He is in great distress. If there is still salvation, he knows, it is only with Christ. He makes an urgent appeal to Him for his little daughter. His words show his faith in the power of the Lord.

In spite of the good surroundings, the synagogue, in which the girl grew up, she died. There are many young people who grow up in a Christian family under the Word of God, but who still have no life from God. At first they did go with the church, but as they grew older the interest in the things of the Lord disappeared. What a blessing it is then to have a father like this girl.

Without saying a word the Lord Jesus goes with him. He is followed and surrounded by a large crowd that gives him little freedom of movement. He doesn’t get a wide passage from the crowd that seems to feel that something special is going to happen again. Because of their pressure, they prevent a quick trip to the girl who is in such a bad condition.

Verses 25-29

A Woman Healed of the Flow of Her Blood

The slowing down which the Lord experienced on the way to Jairus’ daughter even becomes a delay. He is stopped by a woman in great distress who, in her misery, knows no one else who can offer a solution but He. For twelve years she has had a flow of blood. She is unclean as long as the little girl is old. She feels life slowly flowing away from her. By herself, like the little girl, she is incapable of changing her condition.

In the little girl we can see a picture of Israel that is temporarily set aside. Although the Lord has come for Israel as a whole, His attention goes first to the few in the people who call upon Him. We see this in the woman who comes to Him.

The woman has already tried everything to find healing. It has cost her everything, but without result. No, all the attempts to stop the ailment have only made it worse. This is how it is with a man who lives without God and sees that this life does not satisfy. He tries everything to make his life livable. He spends all his money on it. But the emptiness remains and only gets bigger after every attempt. Only when the Lord Jesus comes into his life is it possible to live the true life.

Just like Jairus, there is nothing left for the woman but to go to Christ. But unlike Jairus, she does not dare to come openly to Him. She therefore approaches Him as inconspicuously as possible from behind and touches His garment.

The woman has so much faith in Him that she believes that even a touch of His garments will heal her from her affliction. This speaks of a faith that sees in Him the unique Man. Why should His garments have more strength than other people’s garments? Because He wears them. His garments speak of His outer revelation. As a Man He has always done only the will of God. No other man has ever done that.

His garments speak of the perfection of His life, a life that has never known or done anything of sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22). There is no sin in him (1 John 3:5), no sinful nature. For He is “that Holy Thing” Who was born (Luke 1:35). That makes Him the unique Man He is now in heaven, still is, and will remain forever.

The touch of faith is not without results. The woman receives according to her faith. As soon as she has touched Him, she notices that the flowing of blood stops.

Verses 30-34

The Woman Sent Away in Peace

This deed of healing is not a deed that costs the Lord nothing. As with any healing, in healing this affliction He feels the pain of the disease (Matthew 8:17). He notices that power has gone forth from Him. Of course, He also knows who has touched Him. However, He asks for it because He wants the woman to make herself known. Otherwise she would live on with a stolen blessing, as it were.

The disciples still understand little of their Master. They think they have to point out to Him a self-evident matter. In their eyes it is not logical to ask such a question. However, they do not understand that He knows every person who touches Him, whether accidentally or consciously. He also knows that among all these people only this woman has touched Him because she believes in Him.

He knows all those people who profess to be connected with Him and are recorded in church records as members of this or that denomination. He also knows all those people who preach about Him. They are all people who have some connection with Him. He knows among all those people also those who really believe in Him.

The Lord does not respond to the well-intentioned but so misplaced comments of His disciples. All His attention goes to the woman “who had done this”, who has accomplished this act of faith. He searches especially for her. His interest is always in those who seek Him in their need. He wants not only to heal them, but also to give them His peace.

Because the woman has, as it were, stolen the blessing, she must come forward. The Lord wants her to receive His blessing as a free, complete gift in a personal and open encounter with Him. With fear and trembling, she tells “Him the whole truth”. The Lord Jesus confirms His blessing by assuring her of being made well, peace and healing. He thereby puts His seal, as it were, on her faith.

He is the Son of God Who has life in Himself (John 5:26). Faith therein reveals its power by touching Him. Externally He is in the midst of Israel, but only faith enjoys the blessing because it has a sense of its own need and of His glory. Where man’s need is brought into connection with His glory, the consequence is that the need disappears and His glory becomes radiantly visible.

Verses 35-43

The Daughter of Jairus Healed

The interruption with the woman who had a flowing of blood is also called ‘a miracle in a miracle’. After all, it is a miracle that the Lord performs, while for another need an appeal has been made to Him and He is on His way. After the miracle of the woman’s healing, there is the little daughter of Jairus to whom He is on His way. During the delay, the little daughter has died. Now the case seems completely hopeless.

The messengers think it is no longer necessary to bother Him. There’s nothing to be done about it now. Satan always comes with these kinds of messages. He wants to feed unbelief with a feeling of hopelessness. But every delay gives Him the opportunity to show His glory (cf. John 11:4-Joshua :; John 11:14-Ezra :). We never bother Him with our need that is unsolvable for us. On the contrary, He is eager to provide for such need. It is a work He loves to do.

He does not listen to the messengers’ comments. He deliberately does not listen to them. Such remarks testify of unbelief. Instead, He has a word of encouragement for the official of the synagogue: “Do not be afraid, only believe.” This word has been a great encouragement to countless believers throughout the ages.

When He hears the need, there is first an encouragement. We also see this in the other two cases of resurrection that He has performed. There, too, He has spoken a word of comfort to the bereaved (Luke 7:13; John 11:23). This shows that the revelation of His power is always accompanied by a revelation of His love and affection.

The Lord goes along to the house of Jairus, but does not allow anyone to follow Him except three of His disciples. They are permitted to be there when He raises the girl. They become witnesses to this miracle because He deems it necessary for them in view of their further service to Him. Thus He has special events for each of His own in preparation for or encouragement in the service for Him that others have no part in. This is not because those others are less important, but because He has other preparations or encouragement for them that are special to them.

When He and His disciples come into the house of the official of the synagogue, He observes how people express themselves in feelings of mourning. He sees the commotion and hears the loud weeping and wailing. This is what is left for man when death has come in. Death puts an end to all illusions and strikes a painful hole in the life of the immediate surroundings.

The Lord enters the scene of mourning and rebukes those who make commotion and weep. In His presence such expressions can disappear. May we not then be sad and weep at the death of a loved one? Yes, the Lord Jesus Himself also wept at the tomb of His beloved friend Lazarus (John 11:35). But these are people who look upon death blindly, without regard for Him. They think there is nothing more to be done while He is present. For Him, death is a sleep from which He can awaken someone.

When they hear His words, their grief immediately turns to mockery. He drives them all out. People with such a mentality cannot be present at the miracle of the girl’s resurrection. He allows only the father and mother and His three disciples to enter with Him into the room where the girl lies.

Without further preparation, He takes the hand of the child and speaks words of life. His word is power. Just as He created heaven and earth through His word (Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3), so here He speaks with authority His word through which life returns. Also with the revival of the young man from Naïn and the resurrection of Lazarus, the command to come out of the dead sounds. This command will also be heard when He comes to take the believers to Himself (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

The words “talitha kum” are the untranslated Aramaic words that the Lord speaks literally on this occasion. The whole New Testament is inspired by the Holy Spirit in the Greek language. That is why it is special that He lets Mark express the Aramaic words here, by the way with the translation.

Even more striking is that we hear three more times an Aramaic pronunciation from the Lord which is also only mentioned by Mark: “Ephphatha!” (Mark 7:34), “Abba!” (Mark 14:36) and “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani” (Mark 15:34), each time with the translation. These are pronouncements that must have made a special impression on the writer. Mark did not belong to the circle of the twelve apostles, but there are strong indications that he recorded his Gospel from the mouth of Peter. From the end of Peter’s first letter it appears that there was a close connection between Mark and Peter. Peter calls him “my son Mark” (1 Peter 5:13).

The result is not delayed. The power of death gives way and lets her go whom he had made his prey. In the presence of the living God, death cannot endure. The girl, who is as old as the time that the woman had the flow of blood suffered from her affliction (Mark 5:25), stands up and walks. She is able to walk and live for the glory of God.

The Lord does not want this miracle to be widely recorded. He does not seek honor for Himself and does not want to attract attention through His miracles. But He is full of care for the girl and wants her to be fed. That is how He arranges the aftercare that He lets others do.

Someone who has been given new life must then receive good spiritual food in order to be able to live for the glory of God and serve Him. There is also a result with the two other resurrections:
1. The young man from Naïn begins to speak (Luke 7:15), which points to the witnessing.
2. Lazarus begins a walk in newness of life marked by worship (John 11:44; John 12:2).

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Mark 5". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/mark-5.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.