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MARK CHAPTER FIVE
Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 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. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshiped him, 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. 8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
Gadara is a town located southeast of the south end of the Sea of Galilee. The word "Gadarenes" is a transliteration of the Greek term. The meaning of the name is rather appropriate since it means "reward at the end" which is quite fitting for the reward of the demons and as we will see the owners of the swine.
Christ was met by a man of unclean, or foul, spirit. He was possessed of demons and one can only imagine the depths of uncleanness and depravity of the poor man. As you can imagine someone living in a cemetery might be, he cannot have been a pleasant person to find waiting for you on the other side of a quiet ship ride.
What a contrast in a person:
Dwelling in the tombs: Living in the dirt filled tombs with dead people and bones. Remember the Lord Himself was buried in a cave rather than in a six-foot deep hole as many of today are buried. These men were living in dirty caves among the hewn out rock.
Could not be bound by chains: He had great strength and a strong desire to be free.
Untamable: No one could bring him under control - even with chains and ropes.
Without sleep: He was described as being active day and night.
Crying: He was a totally miserable wretch it would seem.
Cutting himself: He was somewhat self destructive, yet for the demons own sake, they must have been controlling the man so that he did not destroy their abode. The fact that they killed the swine gives understanding to what they could have done to the men.
Worshiping Christ: Yet when he saw truth he came to worship. He knew where his help would come from, somewhere in that demented mind he had hope of something better and when it came along he took advantage of the situation.The question might arise as to this clarity of mind. Just why would such a demented sort of person full of demons have clarity of hope? Was this clarity a mistake on the part of the demons or might we suspect that in the demon possessed person there was some part of the person who was conscious of what was going on. This seems to be a distinct possibility.
Consider what that would be like to have conscious realization of what is going on around and to you and not being able to control your physical being. On the other hand might the demons had a lapse of power over the man? Might the Lord have given the man a moment of sanity? Might the man have had some control over himself, though had given up to the power of the demons out of fatigue of fighting them?
It may have been the evil spirits that drove the man to his knees. Remember that in Mark 3:11 we read "And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him...."
This man, so pathetic in nature, yet Christ took time to deal with his problems. Christ has time for all sorts of people, even today, it should be an obvious application that as believers we should do no less than our supreme example of life, Christ Himself.
The man actually has some similarities to the lost person of our own age, though not as outwardly foul yet just as inwardly tormented of mind. The lost person is chained in their own way, they are crying for help yet not finding it. They are self-destructive and ready for the tomb yet some have clarity of mind to come to the feet of the Lord to worship. That was not a Calvinistic nor Armenian comment, just a general observation.
The term "see" is also translated know. The man may have known who the Lord was, whether by inner knowledge, or from hearing others talk of Him, he knew the Lord, he perceived who He was and immediately worshiped Him. All of the verbs are in the active so this was a personal set of actions that the man set out to do on his own. Well, one might assume that but there is also the possibility that the demons were still controlling his actions. In the next verse we see the demons speaking directly to the Lord.
When you combine the passages you are left with the impression that this falling down and worshiping is more of the idea that the man is driven down by the demons and they either are using this position to plead from or possibly that they know that is the position they should occupy when before the Creator of the universe. Matthew does not mention the prostration, but Luke mentions "And when he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus thou Son of the Most High God?"
The term translated "worship" is of interest. The Lexicon mentions that it comes from a word meaning to kiss or licking of the Master’s hand by a dog. I think that from this we can assume that it was the demons causing the falling down. Whether there was any knowledgeable admission on the part of the man himself it is not clear. The term came to picture one kneeling with forehead to the ground in reverence and it is always translated "worship." From our context we know it to be a general term definable by the context.We will not comment on "worship" as it is done today in most churches nor compare it to Biblical worship, which often means prostration.
It also seems that this prostration was in response to the Lord calling the demons out of the man. Luke and Mark both mention that precursor.
Just what/who is controlling this worshipfulness of the poor man? Let us consider this for a moment. Matthew may shed some light on this question when he records of the demons "What have we to do with thee, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" BEFORE THE TIME would indicate that there was some special time that the demons were awaiting. It would seem to me that they knew of their ultimate end and that they knew that it was not yet time for that end.
Oh the things this could indicate. First that demons know the finality of their fate, that they know the progression of God’s overall program, and that they knew that this was not the time for their final fate.
Indeed Luke records "And they intreated him that he would not command them to depart into the abyss." (Luke 8:31) One translation (It is a version put out by Collins World but does not state what version it is.) mentions "into the deep" rather than "the abyss."
On the other hand they did ask Him to send them into the swine. The contrast of options would indicate that they thought He had power to send them to the place of His will. They may not have fully understood that until the cross He did not have eternal power over them. At any rate He allowed them to go into the swine.
Now I don’t know what you think of pigs, but Winston Churchill said that he liked pigs. He said - ruff quote - dogs look up to man, and cats look down with disdain upon man but pigs treat man as equals. I have to think that the swine did not appreciate the demons entering into them.
We might note that there is a close enough affinity between man and animal that demons can possess either one. I am not sure where that would go theologically but it seems to be a true statement.
Mark alone mentions that there were about two thousand swine. Whether there were that many demons or whether the pigs acted in mass we are not told.
The keepers of the swine went into town to tell of the happenings and the entire city returned to the spot to see what had happened. Matthew records that "all the city came out." There was great interest, whether due to the swine killing themselves or whether to see the freed man we are not told, but the towns-folks found the man with Christ.
The people’s reaction was not that of awe, but of fear and they asked the Lord to leave their country. There is some speculation that the towns-folks were in part Jews that owned the swine. We are not told whether this is true or not but it is a distinct possibility. This could relate nicelyto the Lord being so quick to grant the demons their request since the Jew was not to eat pork based on the Old Testament law. The very fact that Christ had arrived on this shore would indicate that He was there to reach the Jews. He was not going to the Gentiles thus Jewish swine owners might be the conclusion.
Even if the owners were Gentiles the death of the swine was just for they were raising pigs which would have been an affront to the Jews.
The man freed from the demons when he saw the Lord leaving asked to go with Him, but the Lord told him to return to his home and tell of what He had done for him. This the man did.
There are a couple of items that we are not told. Why were that many demons in one person?
What happened to the demons when the swine killed themselves? We assume that the demons were free to indwell others, indeed possibly some that came from town. There is a possibility that there is a need or strong desire for the demons to indwell people/animals by their very nature. We just are not told that much about them.
There are a couple of differences in the texts of the synoptic Gospels. Matthew uses a different term for the country "Gergesenes" and he also mentions two demoniacs. Some suggest that a recently discovered village ruin on the shore of the Lake may have been the specific of Matthew while the other two Gospels went with the area. Constable suggests simply that there were two towns a few miles apart. As to there being two demoniacs A.T. Robertson in his Harmony of the Gospels has a footnote indicating that he believed that Matthew’s pair of demoniacs is explained by the fact that one of them came to Christ as spokesman for the pair.
The Greek term used is "duo" which is translated "two" one hundred twenty two times. It is also translated "twain" and "both" but always indicating more than one. Thus it would not hold that Matthew was just speaking of the demons, for in the same phrase he says "two possessed with devils." Very clearly he mentions two men possessed of multiple demons.
There might be the possibility that there were two men but that they came to the Lord at slightly different times. Matthew just chose to lump them together, while Mark and Luke just mentioned the one that was important to their account. Indeed, we might have three accounts. Mark may have been speaking of one of the men, Luke speaking of the other and Matthew speaking of both.
Luke adds that the man wore no clothes and specifically "abode not in any house, but in the tombs."
Both Luke and Matthew leave out the portion relating to the fetters, chains and the fact that they could not hold the man in the place where Mark placed it. Luke mentions these things later in the context of the discussion between Christ and the man about the demons/name etc.
There are questions from this situation about the demons and their abilities to possess. They possessed this poor man, yet when he came to Christ they were dispatched elsewhere. They requested to be transported to the swine. Why? Especially in light of them running the swineinto the sea.
What can we learn from this situation? There is a desire if not need of the demons to be within a living being. There is a tendency for them to make the being/animal act unnaturally. They seem to take joy, if they can have joy, in making the possessed miserable. Why keep the man alive, yet destroy the swine?
Perhaps someone with time can come up with some answers to these and other questions. I am to assume that there is a desire to indwell, or perhaps need. It has crossed my mind that the demon that has no one/thing to indwell is cast into the pit with the rest of their brethren, but I find no Biblical reference that would indicate this other than this possible proof text. If this is true why would they request to go into the swine, then destroy their abode so quickly? Their question to Christ about casting them before the time would indicate that they probably continued on after the swine.
In relation to the cutting of himself with stones, this may have been a side effect of his possession in that he was running and tearing around the graveyard that was full of grave stones hewn from a nearby quarry and the edges may have been sharp. He may have just been running into and hiding behind these stones.
1. Let us consider whether there were one or two demoniacs. Umm, since Matthew said there were two we should go with two and find explanation for why Mark only mentioned one.
Jameison, Fausett and Brown suggest "Though there be no discrepancy between these two statements--more than between two witnesses, one of whom testifies to something done by one person, while the other affirms that there were two--it is difficult to see how the principal details here given could apply to more than one case."
Another commentator mentioned that there were two, but that one came on behalf of both. A spokesman if you will. Mark simply reported on the spokesman and Matthew mentioned the total situation.
It could be assumed that two men met Christ at different times but that Mark only mentioned one of the meetings. Both could have described the conversation with the same one and the conversation with the other was very limited or just not recorded since there would have been duplication in the narrative.
2. Consider the reactions of people to the demoniacs. I’d guess that someone living near the graveyard was on the phone to the police constantly asking that they go out and quiet this disruptive man. The apostles may have reacted negatively to the man approaching their Lord, or they may have had compassion upon him, as did the Lord. Other people in the area may have had compassion toward the man but we are not really told.
The point being, how do you react to the undesirables of your own time. When you drive by the panhandler with his hand out wanting money? Do you have compassion? Do you have contempt? Well if you are smart compassion probably is not appropriate since the guy with the cardboard sign may well be taking in more money than you are at your job.
Having shot down my own application, what about the disabled person in the store that is slowing your activities. There are many in our society that needs our compassion and caring thoughts, if not actions.
On the other hand there is a responsibility upon the person that is in need. They should do all they can to mend their own problems before leaning on society. The woman with the illness had done all that she could with the doctors and had spent all that she had but was still willing to move forward to touch the Lord’s garment. The demoniacs came to the Lord for assistance.
Many are the disasters in our country of late and it has been of great interest to see the differences in the way people react to their disaster and trying circumstances. Some sit on their Red Cross provided chairs in the warm Red Cross provided shelter eating their Red Cross provided food waiting for mother government to come give them the cash to remedy their problems, while others in other parts of the country are in the middle of cleaning up the mess with no thought to mother government.
Recently in Washington and Oregon there was localized flooding. The people were cleaning upbefore the water was gone but one of the illustrious governors reportedly called FEMA and said to get out here and get us some help and to bring their checkbook with them. Many of the families had cleaned up and repaired before the FEMA trailers even showed up.
There is no reason the states couldn’t give the assistance needed, but why do that when you can call on mother government and then spend your state funds on all the fluffy feel good projects that they can find.
Folks take responsibility for yourselves. Do all that you can and if there is still need turn to those that can assist. Americans are for the most part, in total despair if they don’t have six Televisions, four stereos, three bedrooms over their true need and two cars in the three-car garage. People, we are so blessed in this country but we do not have to have everything equal - that is communism and we are supposed to think that form of government undesirable because it does not work.
This woman did all that she could and then some to better her situation; we ought to be doing the same for ourselves as believers.
Yes, have compassion, but be sure it is well placed with those that have real needs. There are many churches that are inundated with requests for assistance. It is difficult to determine just how to respond with so many lazy devious people in the country.
Many churches have developed "Deacon fund" policies to govern just how assistance is given out. Many refer the requester to social agencies in the area for they are often more well funded than a church and can do a lot for giving long term assistance through training and housing. Others do as much as they can while being sure to share the gospel along the way.
I set up a policy for a church a few years ago that will be included at the end of this file to give you a starting place if you would like to develop a policy for your church.
Some might suggest that we are called to assist those in need not evaluate their sincerity, but the Bible also calls us to be good stewards and to reject dishonesty. Common sense should reign not a blanket "Help everyone that comes" policy. It is the excess of assistance that is available that has fueled the current "Homeless" generation. They can live as their lazy choice allows while getting all they need from the system.
3. It has been said that pigs are one of the most intelligent animals. This might be the comment of a pig loving pet owner, but they do seem to be quite intelligent. It crossed my mind that the demons were in the man but he did not kill himself, yet the demons entered the swine and they had enough sense to kill themselves to escape the torment. Of course this is not true. The demons most assuredly could have caused the men to kill themselves, but that would not have fit into the scheme of what the Devil was doing at this point in time.
This also gives weight to the thought that this was a planned confrontation with the Lord by the Devil. He had failed when he was trying to tempt Christ, but now he seems to be testing Hispowers. It is possible that the addition of the swine killing themselves is to give us insight into what was going on here. Indeed, verse seven lays a fair groundwork to indicate this might even have been the Devil himself speaking to the Lord. "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?"
That declaration is so impressive to me. These demons knew exactly whom it was they were dealing with even though the Jewish leaders knew nothing of Him. The demons had full recognition of Christ and most probably knew that their goose was cooking. Indeed, is this not irony? The beings that were tormenting these poor men are worried about their own coming torment - as well they ought to be.
There may be further evidence that the one speaking to Christ was the Devil. Normally when Christ spoke in healing etc. the action was instant, yet here Christ told the demons to leave, but the conversation followed instead of the immediate leaving. In Mark 1:25 Christ spoke and the spirit tore the person and came out.
4. It seems from the text that the people in Gadara were more interested in their dead pigs than in their personal salvation. They totally ignored the fact that the demoniacs had been freed from the demons control, they totally ignored the Lord’s power over demons, they totally ignored it all to worry about their dead pigs.
Their spiritual condition need not be discussed since it is so obvious. They were totally consumed by the material and were blind to the spiritual. Rather like the Lord telling of there being two masters, and the fact that you cannot serve both.
Need we apply this to our own day of materialism and wealth in America? I think that is obvious as well. People are so tied up in the material wants, needs and getting of same more stuff that they have no time to even consider anything outside of the material.
They worry only about what toy they will purchase next and how they will pay for it. The American value system is warped at best. We value what a toy costs more than whether it is worth that price. People are paying more for a car than we paid for our house - well what we finance our house for. People are buying RVs that cost many times what our house cost originally yet they are not satisfied, they are trading in those same RVs for newer, bigger and better ones.
Churches are putting building programs ahead of educating their people on the things of the Lord. A friend attends a large church. He noticed that there was a real lack of solid doctrine being taught in the church. He approached the staff about an idea he had. He had arranged to rent a building near the church to put on some classes relating to doctrine. He told the staff that he would cover the cost of the building etc. and would teach the classes.
The church was already using off campus buildings for different programs yet they refused him permission to do the classes. They told him that they would have a new building up in a year or so and then he could do the classes. My friend being much like myself asked if that was notputting edification ahead of edification. His time with the staff member was terminated.
Spiritual edification of the saints should take precedence over anything a church does. Building buildings is not what we are called to do; we are called to go teaching and edifying. Buildings are only a tool of the trade that we are called to, not the call we are to fulfill.
In our personal lives we are often way off base. We should be focused upon the spiritual well being of our families and ourselves rather than on entertaining the family with the latest toys and ploys of Satan.
It is so easy to become sidetracked with the material world; that is why the Bible is so clear on what we must do. We must choose just which world we are going to lay up stores in. Either we lay up reward in heaven or we lay it up here. Either we have eternal joy of how we served God or we have 70-80 years of joy over the toys that we have acquired.
One of the signs of physical/mental maturity is when you can wait for reward. In child-hood we will choose the lesser reward that is given immediately over a larger reward conferred later. Is that not what Christians are doing today. Going for the immediate reward, rather than waiting for the larger, longer lasting reward in eternity. As the physical being must mature, so must the spiritual.
5. A brief discussion of demon possession would be in order. Most of this activity was in the time of Christ and the apostles. Much of the activity of demons is centered on thwarting the program of God during Christ’s time and the time of the very early church was the most central to God’s program thus far.
The Devil was actively attempting to do damage to God’s plan even though he was quite ineffective. Today there is little of this sort of activity - in my mind because much of the world is living like the Devil, even many Christians. He does not have to worry to much about the world going downhill because it is doing that on its own.
There are areas however where missionaries tell us that the Devil is quite active. Anywhere that the Word is being preached and responded to is an area where he will be trying to set his work to BUSY mode.
In Haiti for example the Devil is very busy trying to bring down the church that is growing there. In remote areas where the Word is becoming effective is another area of his interest.
I might add that part of the confusion is the overreaction of the Charismatic movement in calling everything that is wrong a demon. Many of the fantastic stories coming out of the mission fields also are open to question as to validity.
As to demon possession, a believer cannot be possessed. There are some big name authors that have accepted that believers can be possessed, but they have little to no Biblical basis for their belief. If we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and He lives within it seems rather foolish tobelieve that the demons can enter in.
My theology has more detail in the "Angelology" section if you would like further information. Also most any systematic theology will also have further information in the same section.
Indeed, this passage may well be a proof text that demons cannot indwell a believer, in that the Lord cast them out before the man believed and was on proper ground with God.
6. Constable observes, "There is only one letter difference between Jesus’ command here and the one Peter uttered when he restored Dorcas to life (Acts 9:40). Peter said, "Tabitha kum!" This shows that Jesus continued to exercise His power through Peter after His ascension (cf. Acts 1:1-2)." This statement does disservice to the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the gifts to the early church. It is not a wise decision to attribute the healing power to a member of the Trinity that is not involved and not give indication to the member that is involved. It was the gift of the Spirit that allowed Peter to heal, not Jesus doing it through Peter. Minor point - it is still God that is doing the healing, but we might as well be precise when we handle God’s Word.
Indeed, the fact that Constable gives credit to the Lord’s own power as opposed to the power of the Holy Spirit that was with Christ during his ministry may show lack of understanding of the dynamics of the situation. Many believe that all that Christ did on earth was done under the power and guidance of the Spirit, not by his own innate powers of deity.
Gill seems to follow Constable in his belief that Christ was operating under His own powers and knowledge when he states of the woman touching Christ’s garment, "As soon as ever the woman had touched his garments, and had a cure, Christ, who knew all things in his Spirit, or divine nature, that dwelt in him, knew what was done, that the woman had touched him, and was healed thereby; though, as not without his knowledge, so neither without his will, and entirely by his power:"
7. Verse seven has a note of interest. "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." Who was speaking at this point, the man or the demon spokesman? If it were the demon spokesman why would he want a promise based on God? He rejects God’s power over his kind, he like the Devil, if it were not the Devil himself would not put stock in God nor a sworn statement. The Devil holds himself as superior to God so why would he or one of his own worry about it?
Probably because they knew who Christ was, and that if He swore by God His own integrity would demand that He abide by it. This is of interest but does not really answer the question of who it was that spoke the words.
Verse 8 holds our answer. "For he said unto him, Come out of the man, [thou] unclean spirit." Christ was speaking to the Devil or one of his workers and Christ knew the condition of the one He was speaking to - "unclean spirit."
8. When Christ asked the demoniac his name Gill follows the thought that Christ was using Hisomniscience while on earth when he says of the question, "Which question Christ put, not for his own sake; for he was not ignorant of his name, nor of the number of the unclean spirits which were in the man;"
Does this not make Christ a fraud in part, to ask a question that He already knows the answer to only for the purpose of transferring information to others. Had He known, is it not dishonest to ask a question as if the information is not known? It seems that to hold such belief is to diminish the veracity of Christ.
Gill does the same thing in the account of the woman healed by touching His garment. "Turned him about in the press, and said, who touched my clothes? that is, turned himself towards the woman behind him, though the press was so large about him, and asked who touched his clothes; not for his own sake, who knew very well who had done it; but that the cure might be known to others:" He even clarifies it further when he states, "though he himself wanted no such signs, by which to discover her. Christ, as God, being omniscient, knew who she was, and where she was;"
If this be true we see the Lord to be found in manipulation of truth. Is this the thought that we ought to gain from these texts? Was the Lord indicating one thing to portray another? A missionary was once asked why he told half truths to the government of the country in which he was ministering. He was telling the government he was living there due to his business, while in truth he was there to evangelize and teach the new converts.
He used similar thinking that the Lord told half-truths so it should be okay for him to lie to the government. If we have to accuse the Lord Jesus of a lack of truth to give cover for our own sin we are in very uncertain spiritual condition.
9. It is of note that the demons had power over the lives of the swine yet did not seem to have power of life and death over the man they indwelled. This may be a New Testament confirmation of the account of Job. Job was a righteous man, but the Devil wanted to trouble him to see if he would not turn against God. God allowed the Devil PERMISSION to trouble Job but was limited to how far he could go. It would be inconceivable that God would allow the Devil to terminate a human being, it would seem that there is certainly limitation upon the Devil and what he can do to humans.
10. In years past we developed a real taste for Chugwater Chili. It is a mix that you add to water and fixins to make great chili. The company is in a tiny town in Wyoming called Chugwater. It is said that the town received its name from the sound that buffalo made when they ran off a cliff and fell to the clay banks of the river that ran through the town. Chug, was the sound and Chug is now the name. Supposedly the Indians would drive the buffalo toward the cliff and to their death to get their meat and hides.
Now I do not know the truth of the above but one must wonder at the mess and the sound of the couple thousand pigs running off a cliff and falling to their deaths below. It cannot have been a very pretty site. One must also wonder at the days after and the thoughts of the people in the area at such a sight, smell and knowing the account of this Christ that brought such a site to pass.You would think that there would have been some that would have wondered at the situation and come to Christ either by word of testimony from the ex demoniac or by going to follow the Lord to hear His teaching. Needless to say, there must have been effects long after the Lord left the scene.
This also reminds me of a dead whale that washed up on the Oregon coast years ago. The government knew they couldn’t leave it to rot and smell up the beach -- after all what would the tourists think and what would those that owned homes in the area say.
After long thought they decided to blow the carcass up with dynamite. The moment I heard that this was on their minds I was conjecturing what all sorts of mischief they were going to unleash upon the area. Evidently there were none in the government official camp that thought through to the logical end of such action. The charges planted the whale contemplated its coming dispersal into the atmosphere, the public watched, the television cameras were at the ready. When the blast occurred the whale was indeed dispersed but in fairly large chunks and it went flying way further than anyone would have guessed. Reporters were ducking and the large portions of rotting flesh being served up by the government were crushing cars. I am not sure the public appreciated this government free giveaway.
I am not sure what one should make of the situation with the dead pile of pigs but one should consider all portions of Scripture and their possible application. One must wonder of the "afterglow" if you will of Christ’s meeting with the demoniac. We know that he published the good news well, but one must wonder of other things that may have gone on after the fact.
There were also the demons that were free to go about their life’s work after being freed from the swine. What havoc did they unleash upon the public and what other victims became troubled by their presence.
11. The fact that many came to the Lord wanting Him to vacate the area should move one to wonder just why. This poor demoniac has just been loosed from his turmoil and torment, yet the people wanted the cause of such joy to leave the country.
Might it be that there were other herds of swine that were in danger of drowning instead of frying? Might these unfriendly folks be the owners of some of these other herds? Certainly one that could heal a demoniac would be welcomed but for some reason He was not. The economical issue may well be the reason.
12. Gill relates of the woman who was healed, "Eusebius relates, that it was reported, that this woman was of Caesarea Philippi, where her house was to be seen; where were extant some wonderful monuments of the benefits conferred upon her by Christ; as that at the door of her house was an effigy of a woman in brass, set upon an high stone on her bended knees, and arms stretched out like a supplicant; and opposite to her, another effigy of a man, of the same metal standing, and decently clothed in a tunic, and his hand stretched out to the woman; at whose feet upon the pillar, a strange form of a plant arose, reaching up to the border of the brazen tunic which is a remedy against all diseases; and he says it remained to his times, and was then to beseen: and Theophylact says, in the times of Julian the apostate it was broke to pieces." He then declares her to have been from Capernaum though the passage does not really tell us that either.
It is of note to understand how important these people were to history even though the doubter wonders if Jesus even existed.
13. It is to be considered what sort of life this twelve-year old girl might have lived. Knowing that she had been dead and had been raised by Jesus Christ Himself. Imagine living a life knowing these things and going through that early church persecution, knowing that what she was persecuted for was truly real and valid.
What a witness she must have been - what a witness we should be as well - having been dead and raised by the work of Christ on the cross. We are no different than this young girl.
It is a wonder that some of these people did not become great people in society. Today someone that is injured and makes some amount of recovery is a celebrity. Modern day miracles of science and medicine in most cases according to our liberal media. Heaven forbid God be involved in such things even though often the people involved give attribution to God the media glosses over the comments and relegates the miraculous to science.
14. Verse 36 mentions that Christ and only "Peter, and James, and John the brother of James." went to the house. Now, why Christ chose to do this we are not told, but he did separate out some from the group of apostles for specific things.
What can we learn from this? Two things. First of all if a pastor chooses to disciple some in the church, do not be dismayed, accept that he is fulfilling his leading from the Lord to make disciples as we all should be doing. Do not be jealous but be busy about making your own disciples.
Second, as a layperson in a church or maybe as a lesser known pastor or person, do not be concerned about those that are better known or better recognized. God has made each one of us to be His servants wherever He decides to place us.
Some years ago a pastor friend of mine asked me if I knew a particular pastor in our area. I told him yes, I knew him, that we had attended his church a number of times. He further questioned as to the size of the church. I related that when the pastor was on the platform, his wife was at the organ, another woman was at the piano and there was a young single man leading the songs it left us (the wife and yours truly) for the congregation. I also related that there were often 3-4 others for morning worship.
My friend sat with quite a smile on his face. When questioned of the smile he said, "Well I met that man at a pastor’s conference and the way he talked he pastored a huge church. A competition between God’s shepherds is unwarranted and probably is sin as well. Be satisfied with who and what God has made you and do not look to what others are doing and what you are not doing. It is God that does the work, not us.15. Barnes mentions that many have thought this passage of the demoniacs is to be questioned. His response may be of interest to some.
"Infidels have objected to this whole narrative. They have said that this was a wanton and unauthorized violation of private rights in the destruction of property. They have said that the account of devils going into swine, and destroying them, was ridiculous. In regard to these objections, the narrative is easily vindicated.
"1st. If Christ, as the Bible declares, be Divine as well as human--God as well as man--then he had an original right to that and all other property, and might dispose of it as he pleased, Psalms 50:10-12. If God had destroyed them by pestilence, or by lightning, or by an inundation or earthquake, neither the owners, nor any one else, would have had reason to complain. No one now feels that he has a right to murmur if God destroys a thousand times the amount of this property, by overturning a city by an earthquake. Why, then, should complaints be brought against him if he should do the same thing in another way?
"2nd. If this property was held by the Jews, it was a violation of their law, and it was right that they should suffer the loss;--if by the Gentiles, it was known also to be a violation of the law of the people among whom they lived; a temptation and a snare to them; and an abomination in their sight; and it was proper that the nuisance should be removed.
"3rd. The cure of two men, one of whom was probably a man of distinction and property, was of far more consequence than the amount of property destroyed. To restore a deranged man now, of family and standing, would be an act for which property could not compensate, and which could not be measured in value by any pecuniary consideration. But
"4th. Jesus was not at all answerable for this destruction of property. He did not command, he only suffered or permitted the devils to go into the swine. He commanded them merely to come out of the man. They originated the purpose of destroying the property, doubtless for the sake of doing as much mischief as possible, and of destroying the effect of the miracle of Christ. In this they seem to have had most disastrous success; and they only are responsible.
"5th. If it should be said that Christ permitted this, when he might have prevented it, we reply that the difficulty does not stop there. He permits all the evil that exists, when he might prevent it. He permits men to do much evil, when he might prevent it. He permits one bad man to injure the person and property of another bad man. He permits the bad to injure the good. He often permits a wicked man to fire a city, or to plunder a dwelling, or to rob a traveler, destroying property of many times the amount that was lost at Gadara. Why is it any more absurd to suffer a wicked spirit to do injury, than a wicked man? or to suffer a legion of devils to destroy a herd of swine, than for legions of men to desolate nations, and cover fields and towns with ruin and slaughter?"
PROPOSED DEACON’S FUND POLICYCopyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1996
In that the Scripture is very clear that we are to be in the custom of assisting other believers in need, and in that the Scripture is very clear that we are to be in the custom of assisting widows and orphans, and in that the Scripture is clear that we are to be in the custom of assisting strangers, we hearby institute this policy to assist us in this ministry to those in need. (See footnote at end of policy for references.)
Each person seeking assistance will be interviewed by two of our deacons/elders and their concurrence will result in help. There is no need to INVESTIGATE a request for help other than to talk with the person involved to gain a sense that the need is valid. (We will trust God to guide us in our decisions and allow Him to deal with those that misuse our ministry.)
1. The fund shall be financed by an offering taken in the mission’s bowl after the Lord’s table service each month.
2. The fund shall be dispersed under the guidance of the deacons.
3. The funds will be distributed by gift certificate as much as possible, or by cash/check if the need is not available via certificates.
4. A grocery closet will be maintained at the church via the donations of the membership. It will contain sealed goods that can be stored for extended periods of time.
5. If the fund is depleted, and a seemingly valid case exists, the deacon and pastor may go before the church for a special offering/general fund expenditure for the assistance.
6. A list of social service agencies will be maintained and a copy of that list shall be given to each person requesting assistance. (It is assumed by this policy that much of our tax money goes to support social services, so we should make use of those services for the assistance of those in need.)
7. A total value for each assistance shall not exceed $50. (Groceries need only be approximated.)
8. The above is not to say that every person that requests assistance is to be helped. It shall be at the discretion of those talking with the person that may or may not determine to extend help from the church family.
9. If there is a choice between church family members and those outside the church, then the church family’s needs should be met first.
10. In keeping with James 2:15, 1 John 3:17-18, and 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 we feel that there is a different relationship between the church and the church member that is in need than between the church and a nonmember. We therefore set forth the following guidelines for the church member in need.a. It is assumed that most of the needs will be met via the church membership before there is need to go to the deacon’s fund. All should feel a responsibility to voluntarily assist in any manner that they can. (Some possible examples: Repair people assist in repairing items needed by the family, doctors/ dentists /other professionals giving minor services, etc.)
b. If there are needs over and above that which is forthcoming from the membership the deacon’s fund should assist as possible. Within 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 is the responsibility for the church to assure that the need is real. This is usually quite obvious, but if the obvious dims into a habit there should be intervention by the pastor/deacons. The person that is failing to do all that they can to resolve their situation should be counseled. If there is no change then the pastor should be brought in to institute steps toward church discipline.
c. If the need is real and the deacons fund cannot relieve the need, then it should be considered by the pastor and deacons whether the need should be brought before the church for action by the congregation. This step might be eliminated if the congregation were to vote a sum of money be set aside to be given at the discretion and unanimous agreement of the pastor and deacons.
(2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count [him] not as an enemy, but admonish [him] as a brother.")
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 1 Timothy 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed. 4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world. Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when sawwe thee an hungered, and fed [thee]? or thirsty , and gave [thee] drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.
RESOURCE LIST FOR FURTHER ASSISTANCE:
Insert here any nearby social service centers.
Nave’s topical Bible references for further study:
De 15:7-18; Leviticus 25:35-43; Psalms 41:1; Psalms 112:9; Proverbs 3:27-28; Proverbs 11:25; Proverbs 22:9; Proverbs 25:21-22; Proverbs 28:27; Isaiah 58:6-7; Isaiah 58:10-11; Ezekiel 18:5; Ezekiel 18:7-9; Matthew 5:42; Matthew 19:21; Matthew 25:35-45; Mr 9:41, 10:21; Lu 3:11, 11:41; Acts 6:1-4; Acts 11:29-30; Romans 15:25-27; 1 Corinthians 13:3; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 2 Corinthians 8:24; 2 Corinthians 9:1-15; Galatians 2:10; Philippians 4:10-18; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:16; 1 Timothy 6:18; Hebrews 6:10; Hebrews 13:16; James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:17.
10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 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. 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. 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. 16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. 17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
Why would the demons not want to leave the country? Why would what country they were in concern them? Were they worried about homesickness - it is quite doubtful. Mark mentions country, Luke mentions they did not want to be sent into the abyss and Matthew does not cover the topic.
Luke and Mark probably were just recording different parts of the conversation, but why would the country they were in be a problem to them? It is possible that we have some little insight into the make up of the fallen angels. It may be that they have emotional attachments to their "home" though I would not want to make too much of this point. It might indicate that they have emotions as do we. We know that they have decision making powers, we know they have curiosity so why not emotions as well? There is also the possibility that they had a real freedom in this area/country. There would have been many lost people to possess and there would be very little opposition to their activity.This would be fitting with their similar eternal existence to that of fallen man. There would be purpose to punishment etc. more so if they had similarities to man in these areas. We know further from Daniel that they war, they know allegiance etc. so why not emotional attachment to a locality.
Now, just why the demons wanted to go into the swine is a question to be answered, as is the question of what happened to the demons when the swine died. Did they cease to exist? It is doubtful since they are to be judged with the Devil. Did they just go into the abyss? There is no indication of this though that is a possibility. Did they enter into other humans? This would be the obvious conclusion, but why would there be no record of legions of possessed people?
The best option would be that something occurred other than immediate re-indwelling. First of all we have no indication that they are required to indwell. The swine may just have been their desire to cause more destruction. It is quite possible they just reported back to the Devil for further assignment.
The Roman legion, which they would have known about at this time, was around 6 to 7000 soldiers. Imagine 6000 different personalities acting out in your being - there must have been tremendous turmoil in the man if he had any consciousness at all.
Another question that arises is why were legions of them indwelling one or two individuals when they could have been causing legion of people problems? Why this concentrated effort by the Devil? It most likely relates to the fact that the Devil wanted to confront the Lord at this juncture in this particular way. It might be that this was a confrontation of Good and Evil in the most real sense.
It might well have been the Devil trying the Lord to see what powers He had, and how powerless he himself was going to be now that God was walking among men. This might be indicated in the questions that the demons asked the Lord including their wondering if they were being sent to the abyss or whether He was there to torment them. This would indicate they and more importantly the Devil did not know just what the rules of the game were going to be now that God was man and operating in the Devil’s domain.
Some thought might be given to the idea of Christ tormenting them. Was this related to the abyss and eternal torment in their minds or was this the thought that He might just torment them as part of His earthly ministry?
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. 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. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
What a wonderful testimony this man must have given of the Savior as he passed through thearea telling people of what Christ had done for him. The natural response was to want to follow the Lord, but the Lord had other plans for the man - "GO" is the word.
We also might want to join the Lord in heaven as soon as we can but He says GO rather than come home to be with Him. He has plans for every one of us. Those plans may not be the super saint preacher or evangelist, nor the missionary that goes to unknown tribes, but we are all to go telling of what Christ has done for us. To the workplace, to the play place, to any place where we meet other people who might be interested in what the Lord has done for you.
"Go" and "tell" are both imperatives - commands. Not a request, not a suggestion but a command to go and tell the message of the Lord. Nothing plainer need be said, we are to go and tell. Easy enough to follow those instructions, yet, many do not.
This does not require great personal evangelism skills, nor does it require great courage, just the telling of what Christ has done for you.
We should note that there is a two-fold message Christ wanted him to give. Tell of what "the Lord hath done for thee" which we have covered, but also "and hath had compassion on thee."
Now, I am sure that there is a general sense in what is required - that of the Lord stopping and caring for the needs of the man, but there may be a hint of the undeserved mercy that we all as believers have enjoyed. The man did not inherently deserve to be freed from the demons, but Christ took compassion or took mercy upon him to deliver him.
This sets the proper tone for our testimony to the world. God in HIS mercy gave us that which was needed to be saved; not because of anything that we have done or will do, but because of HIS mercy.
So as you tell of His work in your life, keep yourself out of it except as being on the receiving end of things. We did not draw God’s interest. He was interested in us and acted upon that interest to our benefit. Don’t take too much of what I have just said in the context of Calvinism it is a matter or record that God acts as He wills, not as we will but that does not give credit to all that Calvin nor his adherents have taught and do teach.
We will split the next section into two parts. There is one account interrupted by another. We do not want to miss the fact that while on His way to raise one from the dead, Jesus took time to deal with a woman who had been having problems for twelve years nor do we want to miss the fact that the father with the sick daughter did not take issue with the interruption, but seemingly knew the Lord knew what He was doing by stopping and dealing with another.
We will take the account of the sick girl first then deal with the woman who touched His garment later.
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. 22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of thesynagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, 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. 24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
It is at this point that the Lord was interrupted by the woman touching his garment.
Note that this was of the Jewish leadership - a ruler of the synagogue that is falling before the Lord to make request. Do not be deceived into thinking that all Jews had rejected Christ, just the majority. After all the apostles were with him as were many other followers. We will not dwell on the issue, but often times the common folk of God are much more in tune with Him than the leadership. Pastor/leader do not take that as an insult but only as a warning to not reject the common persons insight out of hand. Often it has been observed that the common folk know what is good and practical while the leadership is off in their "Ivory tower" running things with all their grand ideas.
Yes, you may have your degrees, yes you may have a ton of experience, and yes you may know it all, but realize that these folks that pay your check have been around the block a time or two on a more practical level than you and may have picked up some life experience that you have not had the privilage of picking up yet.
I might just mention one illustration that I have mentioned before. A church had just replaced their entire leadership over a few months with young men who seemed to have some great ideas. Indeed many of their ideas were great from what I understand but one was not so great. There was a high-rise in power rates and a sharp decline in church income due to economic pressures in the area. The church had a hot water heating system in the church sanctuary. The system took heated water, mixed it with cold water and then circulated the water through pipes buried in the cement slab floor of the building.
The leaders determined if they would shut the cold water off it would save power heating so much hot water. The old timers of the church warned them aggressively telling them it would damage the system. Not to worry, the youngers are here and off went the cold water. The shock of the high temperature water hitting the pipes popped every connection in the system. The church was required to spend thousands digging up concrete and repairing connections.
Give the men A for "affort" but F for listening to wisdom made available to them.
I am not suggesting either that the common folk always know what is right, but we need to remember we are a "BODY" of believers, not two opposing sides in a battle for power.
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 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? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 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. 34 And he said unto her Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
As usual some questions arise.
1. How did Christ know that the woman touched His garment? If He knew that power had left Him would he not know that there had been contact. He probably did not feel physical contact so assumed it was contact with His clothing. Since we have no such power to feeling leave us we probably do not know how or why He knew, only that He knew. It is the fact that He knew and that it mattered that might be of interest. Imagine being in such a throng ("in the press" vs.30) with people jostling you around on every side being bumped and touched by many, to know one had touched in faith is probably the real key to the point. He knew that one of all those that had touched him that day did so in faith and that something had happened.
The apostle’s reaction is interesting also. "In this mob how would we know who touched your garment?" might have been their logical reaction to such a question.
2. What "power" did He feel leave Him? Both Mark and Luke mention this item of information. Luke in verse 46 mentions that Christ felt "virtue" leave Him. Which is it? Virture or Power - what was it that the Lord "felt" in this situation? Some translations use "power" and the King James uses "virtue." Power is probably the better translation since the Greek term is "dunamis" the word we get dynamite from. It is translated "virture" three times in the New Testament and two of the times is in this parallel account. The other account is very similar in Luke 6:17 where a large group were healed with a touch of His garment. "And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; 18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed [them] all."
When I was a little boy my father purchased a little clock radio for me. I used to lie in bed tuning around the dial late at night. One of the stations I would tune in was in Deeeeellllll Riiiiiiiooooo Texxxxaas where the faith healers loved to sell their wares. The station, I was told was just across the border into Mexico where US laws did not bind the advertizing. These faith healers were constantly selling their prayer clothes that were guaaaaarrrrrrannnnttteeeddd to heal all your ailments.
No this is not what the Bible is talking about but it is valid information for us. The touch of cloth in faith had healing power in the time of Christ and shortly after when the gift of healing was still present in the church. We also see a similar miracle working from cloth in the book of Acts when the apostle Paul was early in his ministry. Acts 19:12 "So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them."
I would be remiss to not note that later in Paul’s life he did not have this gift to heal, for he could not heal himself of his thorn, nor could he stop Timothy’s stomach trouble and a couple of others mentioned in the epistles that were sick, one near to death, and he had no power over their ailments. The gift of healing was one given for the validation of the good news that the apostles were preaching and validation of God’s own son living among men.
What that power was we are not told, but it was most certainly related to the power of God and His mercy.3. Luke 8:43 mentions that the woman touched His garment - not his ankle, or leg, but His garment and she was healed. What is going on here that allows cloth to heal? Since cloth has no healing power in and of itself we need to understand that the healing was due to the special healing ability of some in the time of Christ and the apostles. We know Paul was quite a healer as well, though his ability waned toward the end of his ministry on earth. There were some that he could not heal toward the end.
There is also clarity that the woman was healed because of her faith, not by the cloth itself. It was the power of God, but it was her faith that brought that power forth to her benefit.
Many years ago I was privileged to meet a pastor in Ireland. He was with a Holiness group that believed in healing however they held a much more Biblical standard than most of the Charismatic movement today. They held that there were people who were healed but that it was not due to the power of the people involved, but rather founded squarely upon the faith of the person in need of healing.
If you want to hold to healing for today and get past the fact that Paul’s gift of healing went away in his own lifetime, then at least hold to the idea that healing is due to the faith of the person in need of healing rather than someone with the supposed gift of healing.
One must wonder of this woman’s life after this point. Did she go back to those lousy doctors and tell them off, did she tell them of the Lord? What might her life have become without such a malady? Happiness must have been a big part of her life knowing that she would not have to face such a thing again. A good witness for the Lord would most likely have been a part of her life as well.
4. How is it that He could know He had healed someone and not know who it was? How is it that an omniscient God did not know who it was? (Many believe that He was fully cognizant of all His deity while on earth, but this would indicate this to be faulty thinking.)
It seems obvious to some that He did this for effect rather than showing his lack of knowledge. We will discuss this a little further in the application section. Others reject the thought that Christ was fully cognizant of his attributes of deity and that He was relying on the ministry of the Holy Spirit through Him in his earthly walk. It seems that He wanted the woman to come publicly with her faith in Him. He could have continued on as though nothing had happened, yet he stopped and took time out of a life and death situation to cause the woman to make public proclamation of her faith in being healed by the Lord.
Some say that the Bible requires a new believer to make public testimony before man to his/her salvation before one can know that they are truly saved. It is not a proven fact from my viewpoint, however there seems to be strong indication that a valid faith will produce public testimony. It is similar to the thought of baptism. A valid faith in Christ will naturally lead to obedience in baptism though it is not a requirement for salvation, only an indicator of it.
I personally from my quiet to private personality tend toward not sharing my inner feelings andthinking - not that one would believe that from reading any of my works but when I accepted the Lord I went immediately to see my girlfriend. She was with me when the pastor asked to talk with me. She asked what had happened with the pastor and I did not tell her. I did not fully understand what all had gone on, only that it was something big. It was much later that I finally shared my new faith with her.
To make a public profession a requirement of salvation is probably not a good thing for many people of quiet personality type. They will make testimony when they are ready, not in someone else’s prescribed time frame.
5. Where did this woman find such confidence that if she could only touch His garment that she would be healed? Only speculation can take over on this point. She may have heard Christ sometime previous, she may have only heard of His healing powers from someone else. She may have been an Old Testament believer that realized this was the Messiah and just had faith that God would deal bountifully with her.
It is not so much the how and/or why, but the action that she took. She acted upon what she knew in her heart to be.
6. Why would the woman have been in fear and be trembling when Christ asked who it was that touched Him? Why a response of falling down before Him? Since fear is part of the context it could well be assumed that she was afraid Christ was upset with her for coming into contact with Him. The society could not have been one where a woman could touch a man in public and be accepted. In some eastern cultures today a woman cannot even be with a man not of her own family for conversation.
There may have been some understanding in her mind that this man was deserving of such honor. She knew that she had been healed - what must have been going through her mind about who this man was and what power He must have controlled to be able to have healed her with a touch of His garment.
7. Why does Mark record "telling him the truth?" Was there some falsehood in the account that we are not told of? From the texts it seems there was some commotion among the apostles and the Lord about who it was that touched Him. I rather suspect that this was Christ’s way of moving the woman to declare her actions to the public. She had come to Christ in private, but He wanted her to give public acknowledgement of what had been done for her.
Both Mark and Luke mention that the Lord told the woman who it was her faith that had healed her. Note that faith brings a response of power from God. The faith moved her to touch Him but I suspect that the touching was just an act of the faith and that the faith would have brought forth the healing even though there had been no actual touch - only the faith and the attempt were needed and from there God was the One to do the rest- as always I might add.
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? 36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. 37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them thatwept and wailed greatly. 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. 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. 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. 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. 43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
"Why troublest thou the Master any further?" was the question posed by the one coming from the man’s house to tell him that the daughter was dead. First off, this seems to be a rather abrupt way of telling the man his little girl was dead. Please give thought to how you tell of the death of a relative.
I stopped to visit my brother that was working on a Mercy ship years ago. As my wife and I walked down the wharf two fishermen stopped me and said "If yer goin down to see that big fat guy don’t bother he dropped dead this morning." This was comment somewhat akin to that of the person coming from the ruler’s home.
Christ responds immediately, "As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe." Christ knew of the pain that had most surely have gripped the man’s life and He told him immediately not to be afraid but to believe. Again, we see that compassion that we have mentioned before. Christ knew the emotions of the man and wanted to calm him and relieve his pain.
A few questions come to mind from this passage.
1. Why was the girl’s age given?
2. Why did Christ tell them to give her something to eat?
3. Why did He tell them she was asleep? Did He know this for a fact or was He just covering what He knew He was going to do?
Since God does not lie, it should be assumed that He knew that she was only sleeping or unconscious.
Being a diabetic, it crossed my mind that number two and three might be related - she may have been having blood sugar problems thus the Lord’s command to feed her. I would not presume to place this interpretation upon the situation, but it fits well. Constable suggests that the command to feed was related to showing that Christ had raised here to normal physical life, rather than to the after death life that we will enjoy one day. This is a forced interpretation in that there is little teaching in the Word about the after life at this point in revelation, unless of course this is one of the first comments on same.
The age might have significance or it may not. It was to mark the fact that she could and wasable to walk or of age to have that ability, but if there is more significance it is not clear for us.
Constable observed "Perhaps Mark mentioned the girl’s age because she was 12 and the woman whom Jesus had just healed had suffered with her affliction for 12 years (v. 25). The woman had begun living when she should have died from her incurable condition. The girl had died just when she should have begun living as a young woman. Jesus could and did deliver from both deaths."
Again we see the Lord telling the people not to tell anyone of what had happened. Another question seems to arise out of His comments. Why did He just tell the ex-demoniac to go and tell, while telling these folks not to tell?
It must relate to the location. Christ again is back in Jewish territory not the gentile area where the demoniac lived. He is not wanting for any further attention in the Jewish territories.
Just a moment of application relating to this ruler and his relationship to Christ. Christ told him not to be afraid, but only to believe. Easy for Him to say when it isn’t His daughter that is laying dead might be the conclusion.
Note that some strain to tell us that we only have to believe and be saved, and I am sure this could well be one of their proof texts, but note also that believe is in opposition to be not afraid. Believe or faith is always in the context of two opposing issues. Disbelief/belief, no faith/faith etc. seems to be the context. Here we have a man afraid due to his daughters "death" being told DO NOT BE AFRAID BUT BELIEVE. Again the two fold issue. Belief would mean that the man was exchanging belief for fear - a turning from one to another.
In salvation believe is the statement, but it is always in contrast to the lost condition of the person. They must realize their lostness AS WELL as move from that adherence to lostness to adherence to faith in Christ. Repentance is the other word that has not been used thus far. Repentance is a changing of mind about something. In the lost person there must be a change of mind from Satan’s realm to Christ’s - repentance.
Now back to the woman who had been ill for twelve years. First just imagine twelve years of living with a malady. It is easy to feel sorry for such a woman when reading of her plight, but we ought to think of the people in our churches that we talk to every week. How about those that are living with such items of physical malady. Many people live with things like this for years upon end. We should be attuned to such ongoing problems that other people have.
In the workplace how often do we think of such things? Things like planning a going away for a man with diabetes and having everyone bring cookies and cake. How about the potluck. Do we try to plan for nutritious meals, or the fun junky stuff that we often see. Again, the desserts. Do we think of all the diabetics? Do we season the food with heavy salt for the heart patient that shouldn’t have salt. Are our beverages healthy for the church folks? Full of sugar, or void of caffeine for those that should not have it for their health’s sake?How do we make plans for those with ongoing physical problems? Do we offer to assist those with problems that keep them from doing all that they should or that they want to do? How about a workday for the old folks homes - take a crew in and do painting and repairing for those old timers that can’t get around to such activities.
We will not take doctors on at this point but there is a valid application to Christian doctors. Are you as tuned into your profession as you ought? Are you in it for the money or for the helping of others? This woman "SUFFERED MANY THINGS OF MANY PHYSICIANS." I could tell you modern day versions of such things but we will not belabor the point. Well maybe a little. The dentist that pulled two of my teeth before deciding to fix the one that was hurting. The dentist that worked on my lower jaw four hours even though he could not deaden it. The doctor that ........ I trust doctors and dentists that call Christ their Lord will be doing the very best that they can to assist those that come to them for help.
The application could well go to all professions and jobs that a Christian might find themselves employed in. God is really your employer, so serve Him well!
One must wonder how well Mark knew this woman as he continues "and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." The doctors had taken all that she had and she was growing worse. Now if that is not a cry for social medicine from the time of the Lord; a good liberal would not know what to do with one better. This is the stuff that liberals live and breathe. Okay enough social commentary.
Mark must have known the woman to know these details or possibly the Lord had more of a conversation with her than is recorded. She most likely was at the end of her options and was trying the last possible thing she could try.
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Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Mark 5". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20