Mark Chapter 5

Mark 5:1 MKJV  And they came over to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.

They came to the eastern shore, but not even there was the Lord destined to find peace or rest.

Into the country of the Gerasenes. Matthew in the parallel account says Gadarenes. The explanation is easy. Gerasa, a town whose modern name is Gersa, stood on the southeast shore of the sea, while Gadara, the chief city of the district, was south about seven or eight miles. As the capital city of the district, “the country of the Gadarenes” embraced Gerasa and its vicinity.

Mark 5:2 MKJV  And when He had come out of the boat, immediately a man with unclean spirits met Him out of the tombs,

This is the most detailed description of a demon possessed man we have in the Bible. It is the classic profile of demonic possession.

• The man had been demon possessed for a long time (Luk_8:27).
• The man wore no clothes and lived like a sub-human, wild animal (Luk_8:27).
• The man lived among the decaying and dead, contrary to Jewish law and human instinct (dwelling among the tombs).

out of the tombs] These tombs were either natural caves or recesses hewn by art out of the rock, often so large as to be supported with columns, and with cells upon their sides for the reception of the dead. Such places were regarded as unclean because of the dead men’s bones which were there (Num_19:11; Num_19:16; Mat_23:27). Such tombs can still be traced in more than one of the ravines on the eastern side of the Lake. Thomson’s Land and the Book, p. 376.

Immediately — The story of the demons is connected with that of the storm on the sea, intimating that the demons will have considerable to do with stirring up the great “time of trouble.”

An unclean spirit — Obsessed–that is to say, demons, the fallen angels mentioned in Jude 6 and 2Pe_2:4 had gained access, and were in control of him. They could not materialize, so the next best thing was to try to get possession of human bodies. Those who deny the personality of Satan must logically also deny the personality of demons, so frequently referred to in the Scriptures. While mankind are not all possessed of devils, through the spirit of evil they are all more or less possessed with the spirit of demons, the spirit of selfishness and thus, slightly insane, some more so, some less so.

Mark 5:3 MKJV  who had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one could bind him, no, not with chains

Mark 5:4 MKJV  because he had often been bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the fetters broken in pieces. Nor could anyone subdue him.

• The man had supernatural strength (chains pulled apart).

• The man was tormented and self-destructive (crying out and cutting himself with stones).

• The man had uncontrollable behavior (neither could anyone tame him). Strangely, some Christians think that this is how the Holy Spirit works: by overwhelming the operations of the body, and making one do strange and grotesque things.

We can be sure that he did not start out this way. At one time this man lived among others in the village. But his own irrational, wild behavior convinced the villagers that he was demon possessed, or at least insane. They bound him with chains to keep him from hurting others, but he broke the chains time and again. Finally, they drove him out of town and he lived in the village cemetery, a madman among the tombs, hurting the only person he could – himself.

Mark 5:5 MKJV  And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones.

Mark 5:6 MKJV  And when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshiped Him,

Their sepulchres were frequently hewn out of the rock in the sides of the limestone hills, and they were lofty and capacious; so that the living could enter them, as into a vault. So this demoniac dwelt in the tombs, because the unclean spirit drove him thither, where the associations of the place would accord with his malady and aggravate its symptoms. St. Matthew, speaking of the two, says that they were “exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass that way.” The demoniac particularly mentioned by St. Mark is described as having been possessed of that extraordinary muscular strength which maniacs so often put forth; so that all efforts to bind and restrain him had proved ineffectual.

Worshipped him – Bowed down before him; rendered him homage. This was an acknowledgment of his power, and of his control over fallen spirits. When this man came to Jesus (Jesus did not seek out the man), Jesus said to demon possessing the man, Come out of the man, unclean spirit!

From the high ground which he frequented he had seen the boat, in which Jesus was, nearing the shore. He had seen the other boats. Perhaps he had seen the sudden rise of the storm and its equally sudden suppression; and he, like others who witnessed it, was affected by it. So he hastened to the shore; he ran and worshipped him. He felt the power of his presence, and so he was constrained through fear to do him reverence, for “the devils also believe and shudder (φρίσσουσι)” (Jas_2:19).

Do you run to Jesus?

Mark 5:7 MKJV  and cried with a loud voice, and said, What is to me and to You, Jesus, son of the Most High God? I adjure You by God not to torment me.

Jesus, Son of the Most High God: This is what the demons said in response to Jesus’ command to come out of the man (for He said to them, “Come out of the man”). This was a way they tried to resist the work of Jesus.

a. In the background of all this is the ancient superstition that you had spiritual power over another if you knew or said their exact name. This is why the unclean spirits addressed Jesus with this full title: Jesus, Son of the Most High God. According to the superstitions of the day, this was like a round of artillery fired at Jesus.

b. Therefore, in their address of Jesus they have the right theological facts, but they don’t have the right heart. The demons inhabiting him had a kind of “faith” in Jesus. They knew the true identity of Jesus better than the religious leaders did. But it was not a faith or a knowledge of Jesus that could save (Jas_2:19).

What have I to do with You . . . I implore You by God that You do not torment me: This is the unclean spirit speaking, not the man possessed. The demon did not want to leave his “host.”

i. Demonic possession is when a demonic spirit controls a human body, and at times the demon will show its own personality through the personality of the host body.

ii. Demonic possession is a reality today, though we must guard against either ignoring demonic activity or over-emphasizing supposed demonic activity.

iii. We are not told specifically how a person becomes demon possessed, other than the inference that it must be by some sort of invitation, whether offered deliberately or not. Superstition, fortune telling, “harmless” occult games and practices, spiritism, New Age deception, magic, drug taking and other things open doors of deception, and present a real demonic danger, even a physical weakness of the mind where they are not strong enough to withstand. Watching television programs or movies that are very demonic or full of spiritism can open these doors as well.

iv. People often get involved in the occult or demonic things because there is something there that seems to work. Unfortunately, it is not something, but someone.

e. Do not torment me: These demons considered it torment to be put out of this man’s body. Why do demons want to inhabit human bodies? For the same reason why the vandal wants a spray can, or a violent man wants a gun. A human body is a weapon that they can use in their attack against God.

i. Demons also attack men because they hate the image of God in man, so they attack that image by debasing man and making him grotesque – just as they did to this man in the country of the Gadarenes.

ii. Demons have the same goal in Christians: to wreck the image of God. But their tactics are restricted toward Christians, because demonic spirits were “disarmed” by Jesus’ work on the cross (Col_2:15). Demonic spirits certainly can both deceive and intimidate Christians, binding them with fear and unbelief. (Guzik)

Can you relate to any of the comments on this verse?

Does your life dabble in things it should not? Are you going to change?

Mark 5:8 MKJV  For He said to him, Come out of the man, unclean spirit!

Mark 5:9 MKJV  And He asked him, What is your name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion, for we are many.

Why did Jesus ask for a name? Probably so that we would know the full extent of the problem, knowing that the man was filled with many demons (Legion) not just one. A Roman legion usually consisted of 6,000 men. This does not mean that the man was inhabited with 6,000 demons, but that he had many.

a. From the account as a whole, we see that Jesus was not playing into the ancient superstition about knowing a demon’s name. In fact, Jesus shows that it is unnecessary for Him to know the name of the demon. When they replied “Legion,” they really weren’t saying a name, but simply trying to intimidate Jesus with a large number. Legion says, “There are a lot of us, we are organized, we are unified, we are ready to fight, and we are mighty.”

b. If it was important for Jesus to know their names, He could have demanded “name, rank, and serial number” for each of them one by one. But Jesus would not play into their superstitions. His power was greater than them.

c. According to the superstitions of the day, the onlookers probably felt that the unclean spirits had the upper hand. They knew and declared a full name of Jesus. They evaded His request for their name. And finally, they hoped to frighten Jesus with their large number. But Jesus didn’t buy into these ancient superstitions at all, and easily cast the unclean spirits out of the afflicted man.

Do you believe that Jesus is more powerful than demons?

By your lifestyle, who do you follow? Jesus or Satan?

Mark 5:10 MKJV  And he begged Him very much that He would not send them outside the country.

Luk_8:31 tells us that the demons also begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. They did not want to become “inactive.”

“Satan would rather vex swine than do no mischief at all. He is so fond of evil that he would work it upon animals if he cannot work it upon men.” (Spurgeon)

The evil spirits apparently do not have special pleasure in their own company, and are debarred from all contact with the holy angels. (Russell)

But as this is supposed to have been a heathen district, therefore the demons might consider themselves in their own territories; and probably they could act there with less restraint than they could do in a country where the worship of God was established. (Clarke)

In Mar_5:7, the demons demonstrated that they knew who Jesus was. Here they demonstrate that they can “pray” to Jesus (begged Him earnestly). This shows that you can know who Jesus is and not surrender to Him. You can pray to Him and not surrender to Him.

Can we be like these demons? If we cannot do something in front of our brethren in Christ because they would not approve—do we go out with another crowd who won’t have an objection?

Mark 5:11 MKJV  And a great herd of pigs was feeding near the mountains.

Mark 5:12 MKJV  And all the demons begged Him, saying, Send us into the pigs, that we may enter into them.

Why did the demons want to enter the swine? Because demons are bent on destruction, and hate to be idle. “The devil is so fond of doing mischief, that he will rather play at a small game than stand out.” (Poole)

Besought him — Apparently evil spirits cannot impose themselves, even upon dumb animals, until granted some sort of permission. Demonstrating that they cannot trouble us except as we permit them, or tamper with, or allow our minds to come under their hypnotic or obsessing influence. The entertainment of evil thoughts, the practice of vicious habits, seems to break down the will and give admittance to these evil spirits to have control of it.

Do you entertain evil thoughts?

Do you entertain yourself with TV programs or video games that have evil content?

Do you understand that by doing these things you are opening the door for the evil spirits to abuse you?

Mark 5:13 MKJV  And immediately Jesus allowed them. And the unclean spirits went out and entered into the pigs. And the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea (they were about two thousand), and were choked in the sea.

Why did Jesus allow this? Why didn’t Jesus just put these unclean spirits out of commission?

The herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea: The destructive nature of demonic spirits is shown by their effect on the swine. They are like their leader, Satan whose desire is to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (Joh_10:10)

  1. This helps explain why Jesus allowed the demons to enter the pigs – because He wanted everyone to know what the real intention of these demons was. They wanted to destroy the man just as they destroyed the pigs. Because men are made in the image of God, they could not have their way as easily with the man, but their intention was just the same: to completely destroy him.
  1. “Jesus allowed the demons to enter the swine to indicate beyond question that their real purpose was the total destruction of their host.” (Lane)
  1. Wasn’t this unfair to the owner of the pigs? “‘But the owners of the swine lost their property.’ Yes, and learn from this how small value temporal riches are in the estimation of God. He suffers them to be lost, sometimes to disengage us from them through mercy; sometimes out of justice, to punish us for having acquired or preserved them either by covetousness or injustice.” (Clarke)
  1. Swine were condemned under the Jewish Law, and may therefore have been considered contraband and their destruction authorized.

What lessons do you get from this verse?

Mark 5:14 MKJV  And the ones who fed the pigs fled and told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.

Mark 5:15 MKJV  And they came to Jesus and saw him who had been demon-possessed, and had the legion, sitting and clothed and right-minded, the one who had the legion. And they were afraid.

They were more afraid of a free man than a possessed man. When they saw the man in his right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus, they were afraid. Part of their fear was found in the fact that their superstitions had been shattered, and they didn’t know what to make of it all. According to their superstitions, the demons should have had the upper hand over Jesus – but they didn’t at all. They had a hard time accepting this.

Some openly wilful sinners are like this madman. The commands of the law are as chains and fetters, to restrain sinners from their wicked courses; but they break those bands in sunder; and it is an evidence of the power of the devil in them. A legion of soldiers consisted of six thousand men, or more. What multitudes of fallen spirits there must be, and all enemies to God and man, when here was a legion in one poor wretched creature! Many there are that rise up against us. We are not a match for our spiritual enemies, in our own strength; but in the Lord, and in the power of his might, we shall be able to stand against them, though there are legions of them. When the vilest transgressor is delivered by the power of Jesus from the bondage of Satan, he will gladly sit at the feet of his Deliverer, and hear his word, who delivers the wretched slaves of Satan, and numbers them among his saints and servants. When the people found that their swine were lost, they had a dislike to Christ. Long-suffering and mercy may be seen, even in the corrections by which men lose their property while their lives are saved, and warning given them to seek the salvation. The man joyfully proclaimed what great things Jesus had done for him. All men marveled, but few followed him. Many who cannot but wonder at the works of Christ, yet do not, as they ought, wonder after him. (MHCC)

Who do you identify with? The madman? The Swine? The feeders of the swine? The people of the city?

When looking at your typical behavior towards people—does your behavior correspond with who you think you identify with?

Mark 5:16 MKJV  And those who had seen told them how it happened to the one who had been demon-possessed, and about the pigs.

Mark 5:17 MKJV  And they began to beg Him to leave their borders.

They didn’t seem to mind having this demon possessed, tormented man in their midst, but they did mind having Jesus around – so they asked Him to leave – and He did!  When people are more afraid of what Jesus will do in their lives than what Satan does in at the moment, they often push Jesus away – and He may leave if you ask Him to.

To depart out — Instead of desiring others to be similarly helped, they reasoned on the selfish side of the question, that his continued presence might wreck the business and economy of this prosperous country.
They loved better the ways of sin than the promised ways of righteousness. Wherever the truth goes it creates a division and an uproar.

Do you find that a lot of people you know don’t want Jesus around either?

What do you do when that happens?

Mark 5:18 MKJV  And when He had come into the boat, the former demoniac begged Him that he might be with Him.

The man who had been set free by Jesus just wanted to be with Jesus. This man didn’t only want what Jesus could do for him. The true change in his heart was shown by that he wanted to be with Jesus.

Might be with him — “To you, who believe, he is precious.” (1Pe_5:7)  Perhaps fearful of being repossessed by the demons, perhaps ashamed of his previous course of life and old associates; but more probably to be a witness to the Lord.

Do you want to be with the Lord?

Mark 5:19 MKJV  However Jesus did not allow him, but said to him, Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and has had mercy on you.

Why wouldn’t Jesus let this man follow Him and be with Him? Because Jesus knew that he had a more important ministry with his own family and community. He appoints him to be a living memorial of His own saving Power, and so to become the first great preacher in the half-heathen district.

There are three requests, singularly contrasted with each other, made to Christ in the course of this miracle of healing the Gadarene demoniac. The evil spirits ask to be permitted to go into the swine; the men of the country, caring more for their swine than their Savior, beg him to take himself away, and relieve them of his unwelcome presence; the demoniac beseeches him to be allowed to stay beside him. Two of the requests are granted; one is refused. The one that was refused is the one that we might have expected to be granted.

Now, do you not think that if we put these three petitions and their diverse answers together, and look especially at this last one, where the natural wish was refused, we ought to be able to learn some lessons? The first thing I would notice is, the clinging of the healed man to his Healer.

Be sure of this, that when the Lord went away across the lake, He left His heart and His thoughts, and His care and His power over there, on the heathen side of the sea; and that when ‘the people thronged Him’ on the other side, and the poor woman pressed through the crowd, that virtue might come to her by her touch, virtue was at the same time raying out across the water to the solitary newly healed demoniac, to sustain him too.

And so we may all learn that we may have, and it depends upon ourselves whether we do or do not have, all protection all companionship, and all the sweetness of Christ’s companionship and the security of Christ’s protection just as completely when we are at home amongst our friends-that is to say, when we are about our daily work, and in the secularities of our calling or profession-as when we are in the ‘secret place of the Most High’ and holding fellowship with a present Christ. Oh, to carry Him with us into every duty, to realize him in all circumstances, to see the light of his face shine amidst the darkness of calamity, and the pointing of his directing finger showing us our road amidst all perplexities of life! Brethren, that is possible. When Jesus Christ ‘suffered him not to go with Him,’ Jesus Christ stayed behind with the man.
Lastly, we have here the duty enjoined.

‘Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee.’ The man went home and translated the injunction into word and deed. … Usually our Lord was careful to enjoin silence upon those whom He benefited by His miraculous cures. That injunction of silence was largely owing to His desire not to create or fan the flame of popular excitement. But that risk was chiefly to be guarded against in the land of Israel, and here, where we have a miracle upon Gentile soil, there was not the same occasion for avoiding talk and notoriety.

    Do you share God’s Word with your friends and family?

Mark 5:20 MKJV  And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all marvelled.

This is a gospel we should all be able to preach. The man set free did, because he departed and began to proclaim . . . all that Jesus had done for him. His story showed the value of one life to Jesus, because this was the only reason why Jesus came to this side of the Sea of Galilee. His story also showed that with Jesus, no one is beyond hope, because if this man could be changed than anyone can.

Began to proclaim in Decapolis: “The Decapolis was ten Greek cities on the eastern side of the sea of Galilee, including Damascus. It was to this gentile community that Jesus commanded this man to go and bear witness.” (Stedman)

“Decapolis literally means The Ten Cities. Near to the Jordan and on its east side, there were ten cities mainly of rather a special character. They were essentially Greek. Their names were Scythopolis, which was the only one on the west side of the Jordan, Pella, Dion, Gerasa, Philadelphia, Gadara, Raphana, Kanatha, Hippos and Damascus.” (Barclay) The spectacular remains of Scythopolis can be seen today.

The desire of sinners freed from sin is to honor Jesus, and to invite the world to participate in the same salvation, and to join them in doing honor to the Son of God. Compare Psa_66:16.

Are you a living testament to what the Lord has done for you?

Mark 5:21 MKJV  And Jesus having crossed again by boat to the other side, a large crowd collected on Him. And He was near the sea.

Jesus has left the Gentile region around the Sea of Galiliee, where He met the man possessed by many demons. Now He returns to the Jewish towns i. e. the western side of the Lake, near Capernaum, on the other side, and the large crowds immediately come to Jesus again.

St. Luke says that the people welcomed him, for they were waiting for him. Again he placed himself by the sea, probably for the conveniences of addressing a multitude, and of relieving himself of the pressure, as before, by taking refuge in a boat.

By the sea side. He resumed His teaching there. We disconnect this verse from what follows.

Mark 5:22 MKJV  And, behold, one of the synagogue rulers came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet.

St. Mark aims at bringing the four great miracles of this period into the closest sequence. And so he passes over a certain brief period with the words “He was by the sea.” But in fact Jesus was reasoning with the Pharisees, and with the disciples of John, who had assailed Him and His followers (at the house of Matthew. (Mat_9:18)), when one of their natural leaders threw himself at His feet. (Expositors + Russell)

The ruler of the synagogue was somewhat like a modern day “pastor.” He managed both the spiritual and the business affairs of the synagogue. (According to the custom of that time he was, therefore, a member of the local Sanhedrin, the court which tried certain classes of offenders.) This man came in desperation to Jesus (fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly), because his daughter was at the point of death.(Guzik)

And when he saw him, he fell at his feet: as soon as he came into his presence; though he was a person of such authority; yet having heard much of the doctrine and miracles of Christ, and believing him to be a great prophet, and man of God; though he might not know that he was the Messiah, and the Son of  God, threw himself at his feet; and, as Matthew says, “worshipped him”, Mat_9:18; showed great reverence and respect unto him, gave him homage, at least in a civil way, though he might not adore him as the Lord. (Gill, edited)

He addressed himself to Christ, though a ruler, with great humility and reverence; When he saw him, he fell at his feet, giving honour to him as one really greater than he appeared to be; and with great importunity, he besought him greatly, as one in earnest, as one that not only valued the mercy he came for, but that knew he could obtain it nowhere else. The case is this, He has a little daughter, about twelve years old, the darling of the family, and she lies a dying; but he believes that if Christ will but come, and lay his hands upon her, she will return even from the gates of the grave. He said, at first, when he came, She lies a dying (so Mark); but afterward, upon fresh information sent him, he saith, She is even now dead (so Matthew); but he still prosecutes his suit; see Luk_8:42-49. Christ readily agreed, and went with him, Mar_5:24. (Henry)

Do you come and bow at the Master’s feet?

Mark 5:23 MKJV  And he begged Him greatly, saying, My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come, lay Your hands on her, so that she may be healed, and she shall live.

“This man had great confidence in Jesus. He believed that Jesus had all power to heal his daughter. But he also believed that Jesus should be there for it to happen (come and lay Your hands on her).

“It may be that the man held a firm superstition in his mind, believing that the healer had to be present. It may be that he was just accustomed to thinking that way, and never really thought about a person being healed in a different way. Whatever the reason, by the way he thought, this man put Jesus in a box. “To heal my daughter You have to come and lay Your hands on her.”

“When a Roman Centurion came to Jesus in a similar situation (Luk_7:1-10), Jesus didn’t even go to the centurion’s house to heal the servant. He simply pronounced him healed from a distance. But here, Jesus did not demand that Jarius show the same faith the centurion had. Jesus responded to the faith Jarius had, and He asks us to give to Him the faith that we have. (Guzik)”

“This was weakness of faith, far short of that of the centurion, who yet was a Roman soldier; whereas Jarius was a learned Jew. Knowledge is therefore one thing, faith another; and the greatest scholars are not always the holiest men.” (Trapp)

Adam Clarke notices four things displayed by Jarius that are necessary for answered prayer.

i. We must put ourselves in the presence of Jesus (one of the rulers of the synagogue came).
ii. We must humble ourselves sincerely before Jesus (he fell at His feet).
iii. We must lay open our request with a holy earnestness (and begged Him earnestly).
iv. We must have total confidence in the power and the goodness of Jesus (Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live).

Do you believe that Jesus can help you?

Mark 5:24 MKJV  And Jesus went with him. And many people followed Him and thronged Him.

Mark 5:25 MKJV  And a certain woman who had had an issue of blood twelve years,

A flow of blood for twelve years: This woman was in a desperate condition. Her condition made her ceremonially and socially unclean, and this would be quite a burden to live under for 12 years.

According to the Jewish ideas of the time, if this woman touched anyone, she made them ceremonially unclean, an uncleanness that would not allow them to take part in any aspect of Israel’s worship (Lev_15:19-31).

“By the very law of her people, she was divorced from her husband, and could not live in her home; she was ostracized from all society, and must not come into contact with her old friends; she was excommunicated from the services of the synagogue, and thus shut out from the women’s courts in the temple.”

Her malady was especially afflicting (Lev_15:19-27), for not only did it unfit her for all the relationships of life, but was popularly regarded as the direct consequence of sinful habits.

Is there something unclean in your life that is plaguing you?

Have you struggled on your own to overcome it?

Do you think it is time now to ask for help from the one who can help?

Mark 5:26 MKJV  and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and had not been bettered any, but rather came to worse,

She went to the doctors to get better, but only suffered worse – and became poorer. Luke the physician also tells us that she had spent all her livelihood on physicians (Luk_8:43). He knew how doctor bills could take all that you had.

i. The ancient rabbis had many different formulas to help a woman afflicted like this. “Rabbi Jochanan says: ‘Take of gum Alexandria, of alum, and of corcus hortensis, the weight of a zuzee each; let them be bruised together, and given in wine to the woman that hath an issue of blood. But if this fail, Take of Persian onions nine logs, boil them in wine, and give it to her to drink: and say, Arise from thy flux. But should this fail, Set her in a place where two ways meet, and let her hold a cup of wine in her hand; and let somebody come behind and affright her, and say, Arise from thy flux. But should this do no good . . .’“ (Clarke)

ii. When a soul is sick today, they often go to different “doctors” and spend a great deal of time and money, only to suffer many things from many physicians. A sick soul may go to “Doctor Entertainment,” but finds no cure. They may pay a visit to “Doctor Success” but he is no help in the long run. “Doctor Pleasure,” “Doctor Self-Help,” or “Doctor Religion” can’t bring a real cure. Only “Doctor Jesus” can.

Are you tired of not receiving help from those in the World?

Will you go to Jesus with your troubles? Will you believe that he truly can help you?

Mark 5:27 MKJV  having heard about Jesus, she came in the press behind and touched His garment.

Mark 5:28 MKJV  For she said, If I may but touch only His clothes, I will be cured.

Because this woman’s condition was embarrassing, and because she was ceremonially unclean and would be condemned for touching Jesus or even being in a pressing crowd, she wanted to do this secretly. She would not openly ask Jesus to be healed, but she thought “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”

Came in the press behind – In the crowd that pressed upon him. This was done to avoid being noticed. It was an act of faith. She was full of confidence that Jesus was able to heal, but she trembled on account of her conscious unworthiness, thus illustrating the humility and confidence of a sinner coming to God for pardon and life. (Barnes)

Mat_9:20 says she touched the hem of His garment, and that actually means one of the borders of the outer garment that all Jews wore. “Every devout Jew wore an outer robe with four tassels on it, one at each corner. These tassels were worn in obedience to the command in Num_15:38-40, and they were to signify to others, and to remind the man himself, that the wearer was a member of the chosen people of God.” (Barclay)

The evangelists describe her as a certain woman who was worn by suffering, haggard from poverty (Mar_5:26), and ceremonially unclean, so as to be excluded from the consolations of public worship. She stole into the crowd, and by her touch of faith won the blessing she sought, (Pulpit)

Can you relate to this woman?

Will you humble yourselves to touch but the hem of his garments?

Mark 5:29 MKJV  And instantly the fountain of her blood dried up. And she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

According to the thinking of the day, when this unclean woman touched Jesus, it would make Him unclean. But because of the nature of Jesus and the power of God, that isn’t how it worked. When she touched His garment Jesus wasn’t made unclean, the woman was made whole. When we come to Jesus with our sin and lay it upon Him it doesn’t make Him a sinner, but it makes us clean.

When the woman was healed, both the woman and Jesus knew it happened. She felt in her body that it happened, and Jesus felt power had gone out of Him.

It would be interesting to know what exactly power had gone out of Him means. This is the only healing or miracle in the ministry of Jesus – or anyone else – that mentions this idea. From every other healing in the ministry of Jesus, we don’t get the idea that God’s healing power was communicated by a noticeable surge of power flowing through Jesus and into someone else. But on this occasion, something like that happened, even if we don’t know how. (Guzik)

Mark 5:30 MKJV  And knowing instantly within Himself that power had gone out of Him, Jesus turned Himself around in the press and said, Who touched My clothes?

Who touched My clothes? Roberston says that Jesus more literally said, “Who touched me on my clothes.” Her goal wasn’t to touch the clothes of Jesus, but to touch Jesus. The clothes just happened to be the part of Jesus she could touch.
Because this woman was embarrassed, and thought her uncleanness meant no one would let her touch Jesus, she tried to do it secretly. But God often brings His work out into the open, even if it may start secretly. (Guzik)

Virtue had gone out of him — Life, vitality, vigor. “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses” (Isa_53:4; Mat_8:17), a prophecy that has had its fulfillment. The Master was not merely using a divine power, but was using up his own physical power for man’s relief. Vitality, strength. During his ministry he was continually imparting his vitality to the suffering ones around him, thus impoverishing himself. He did not partake of sin, nor did he share in imperfection, except as he voluntarily shared the sorrows and pains of some during his ministry, taking their pains and infirmities as he imparted to them his vitality, health and strength. Jesus experienced the woes and sufferings of humanity without sharing in the imperfections and sins. He suffered for those around him, and made use of his own vitality in healing their diseases. No wonder he was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isa_53:3) “Touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” (Heb_4:15)

Turned him about — We can imagine the feelings of Jairus in consequence of this delay; while it added to his faith in the power of Jesus, it at the same time tested his faith in respect to the recovery of his child. Similarly, he gives us a ground for faith, and then, as we exercise that faith and act in harmony with it, he gives fresh corroboration; meanwhile testing it by permitting fresh difficulties, contrary suggestions, doubts, fears, etc. (Russell)

What lessons do you learn from this passage?

Mark 5:31 MKJV  And His disciples said to Him, You see the crowd pressing on You, and do You say, Who touched Me?

Mark 5:32 MKJV  And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.

And He looked around to see her who had done this thing: This was before she revealed herself. Jesus knew all along exactly touched Him and received the healing. He asked, “Who touched My clothes?” for the benefit of the woman, not because He didn’t know who the person was.

The disciples were amazed that Jesus could ask this question. Given the situation,  But the disciples didn’t understand the difference between casual contact with Jesus, and reaching out to touch Him in faith.

We can imagine someone who because of the press of the crowd bumped up against Jesus. When the woman’s miracle was revealed, they might say, “I bumped into Jesus, I touched Him – yet I was not healed.” But there is a huge difference between bumping into Jesus here and there and reaching out to touch Him in faith. You can come to church week after week and “bump into” Jesus. That isn’t the same as reaching out to touch Him in faith. (Guzik)

Do you just bump into Jesus or reach out and touch him on purpose?

Mark 5:33 MKJV  But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done in her, came and fell down before Him and told Him all the truth.

Why did Jesus make her go through this? He knew who she was, and she knew who she was, so it might seem that His only purpose was to embarrass this poor woman before others. But that wasn’t the purpose at all.

  1. Jesus did it so that she would know she was healed. It is true that Mark tells us she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction, but this woman was like any other person. Soon she would begin to doubt and fear that she really was healed. She would wonder when the ailment would return. But Jesus told her “Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Jesus “called her out” so she would absolutely know that she was healed.
  1. Jesus did it so others would know she was healed. This woman had an ailment that no one could see and that made her a public outcast. It would sound suspicious to many if she just announced that she was healed. They would think that she made it up just to be considered “clean” again. Jesus “called her out” so others would absolutely know that she was healed.

Mark 5:34 MKJV  And He said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be whole from your plague.

Jesus called her out so that she would know why she was healed. When Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well” it showed the woman that it really wasn’t touching the clothing of Jesus that healed her. Instead, it was her faith in Jesus and what He could do for her. Jesus called her out because He didn’t want her to think that she stole a blessing, that she could never look Jesus in the eye again. She didn’t steal anything, she received it by faith and Jesus wanted her to know that.

Jesus did it so Jarius could see this woman’s faith and be encouraged regarding his daughter. Jesus “called her out” to encourage someone else in faith.

Jesus did it because He wanted to bless her in a special way. He called her “Daughter.” Jesus never called any other person by this name. Jesus wanted her to come forth and hear this special name of tenderness. When Jesus calls us forward, it is because He has something special to give us.

“It seemed cruel, but it was really kind. It sent her home with loftier thoughts of Him. She would never talk of the wonder of the tassel; she would always talk of the wonder of the Lord. Permitted to walk away without confession, she would have said exultantly, ‘I’ve found a cure.’ Now the woman cried, ‘I’ve found a friend.’“ (Morrisson)

Jesus may ask us to do things that seem embarrassing today. He doesn’t ask us to do them just because He wants to embarrass us. There is also a higher purpose even if we can’t see it. But if avoiding embarrassment is the most important thing in our life, then pride is our god. We are more in love with ourselves and with our self-image than we are in love with Jesus.

Poor Jarius! During all this, his daughter sits ill at home, her life slipping away. It must have tortured him to see Jesus take time out to minister to this woman while his daughter suffered. God is never slow, but He often seems slow to the sufferer. (Guzik)

Mark 5:35 MKJV  While He still spoke, they came from the synagogue ruler’s house, saying, Your daughter is dead; why do you still trouble the Teacher?

How Jarius’ heart sank when he heard this. He must have thought, “I knew this was taking too long. I knew Jesus shouldn’t have wasted His time on this silly woman. Now the situation in beyond repair.”

Mark 5:36 MKJV  But hearing the word spoken, Jesus said to the synagogue ruler, Do not be afraid, only believe.

Jesus tells Jarius to do two things. First, he must stop being afraid. It sounds almost cruel for Jesus to say this to a man who just lost his daughter, but Jesus knew that fear and faith don’t go together. Before Jarius could really trust Jesus, he had to decide to put away fear. Second, Jesus told Jarius to only believe. Don’t try to believe and be afraid at the same time. Don’t try to believe and figure it all out. Don’t try to believe and make sense of the delay. Instead, only believe.

What was it that Jarius was supposed to believe? The only thing he had to believe was the word of Jesus. Everything else told him the situation was hopeless, but the word of Jesus brought hope. (Guzik)

Faith is the only victorious antagonist of fear. Jairus had every reason for abandoning hope, and his only reason for clinging to it was faith. So it is with us all. It is vain to bid us not be afraid when real dangers and miseries stare us in the face; but it is not vain to bid us ‘believe,’ and if we do that, faith, cast into the one scale, will outweigh a hundred good reasons for dread and despair cast into the other. (MacLaren)

Do you mix fear and belief? How does that work for you?

Mark 5:37 MKJV  And He allowed no one to follow Him, except Peter and James and John, the brother of James.

And he suffered no man to follow him,…. To the house of the ruler, but dismissed the multitude, being not desirous of the honor and applause of men: probably what he said to the ruler, was privately, and with a low voice, so that the multitude did not hear him; and understanding by the messengers that the child was dead, were the more easily prevailed upon to depart, since they might conclude there was nothing now to be done;

save Peter, and James, and John, the brother of James: three favorite disciples, who were a sufficient number of witnesses; and who were taken alone along with Christ on some other occasions, as at his transfiguration, and when in the garden. (Gill)

Peter, and James, and John — The Lord evidently loves fervency (warmth) of spirit or disposition. Not a selfish partiality, but rather as an indication that these three, specially zealous amongst the apostles, were further advanced in spiritual things, and best able to appreciate the privileges granted them. Noting our Lord’s appreciation of zeal should lead all who are his followers today to strive after greater fervency of spirit. (Russell)

Are you zealous for the Lord?

What can you do to increase your zealousness?

Mark 5:38 MKJV  And He came to the synagogue ruler’s and saw a tumult, and weeping and much wailing.

Mark 5:39 MKJV  And going in He said to them, Why do you make a tumult and weep? The girl is not dead, but sleeps.

Jesus wasn’t out of touch with reality when He said this. He wasn’t playing “make-believe.” He said this because He knew a higher reality, a spiritual reality that was more certain and powerful than death itself.

In that day it was customary to hire professional mourners to add to the atmosphere of grief and pain at a death. But the professional mourners could only grieve superficially. Notice how quickly they turn from weeping to ridicule (they ridiculed Him). (Guzik)

Since there is to be an awakening of the dead, Jesus spoke of death as sleep, a period of rest, of quiet, of unconsciousness. He spoke in the same manner of the death of Lazarus. He did not say she was in heaven or in purgatory or in hell. Heaven is not a sleeping place, but a place of joyful activity and life. Neither could we imagine mankind sleeping in a Catholic purgatory, nor in a Protestant hell of eternal torture. Our word cemetery means “sleeping place.” (Russell)

Dr. Trench: “Thereby the reality of death is not denied, but only the fact implicitly assumed that death will be followed by a resurrection, as sleep is followed by an awakening.”

Do you believe in the resurrection?

Mark 5:40 MKJV  And they laughed at Him. But when He had put them all out, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those with Him, and went in where the child was lying.

They ridiculed Him: “Note imperfect tense. They kept it up.” (Robertson)

“Since even the poorest man was required by common custom to hire a minimum of two fluteplayers and one professional mourner in the event of his wife’s death, it is probable that one who held the rank of synagogue-ruler would be expected to hire a large number of professional mourners.” (Lane)

But when he had put them all out — The word is strong – “turned them all out”; meaning all those who were making this noise, and any others that may have been there from sympathy, that only those might be present who were most nearly concerned, and those whom He had Himself brought as witnesses of the great act about to be done. (JFB)

Jesus would have nothing to do with these people who don’t believe His promises. He drove them out so that they would not discourage the faith of Jarius. (Guzik)

Such as mock and scorn Christ are unworthy to be witnesses of his goodness.  (Geneva)

Mark 5:41 MKJV  And He took the child’s hand and said to her, Talitha koumi; (which interpreted is, Little girl, I say to you, Arise!)

Little girl, I say to you, arise
: What good is it to talk to a dead person? Jesus can speak to the girl as if she were alive. Rom_4:17 says that God gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. Jesus spoke to this girl with the power of God, and she was raised from the dead. (Guzik)

In the ordinary Aramaic dialect (This is the language which our Saviour commonly spoke. –Barnes) of the people, a term of endearment to a young maiden. The words are equivalent to, “Rise, my child.”–Alford

Nowhere is this designated a resurrection. She did not come back from heaven or from hell; was not resurrected, but merely awakened out of the sleep of death. (Russell)

Mark 5:42 MKJV  And instantly the little girl arose and walked (for she was twelve years old ). And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

Mark 5:43 MKJV  And He strictly warned them that no one should know this. And He said to give her something to eat.

They were overcome with great amazement: Jesus didn’t fail Jarius, and He didn’t fail the woman who needed healing. But in ministering to both, He needed to stretch the faith of Jarius extra far.

In all this we see how the work of Jesus is different, yet the same among each individual. If Jesus can touch each need this personally, He can touch our needs the same way.

  • Jarius had twelve years of sunshine that were about to be extinguished. The woman had twelve years of agony that seemed hopeless to heal.
  • Jarius was an important man, the ruler of the synagogue. The woman was a nobody. We don’t even know her name. 
  • Jarius was probably wealthy, because he was an important man. The woman was poor because she spent all her money on doctors.
  • Jarius came publicly. The woman came secretly.
  • Jarius thought Jesus had to do a lot to heal his daughter. The woman thought all she needed was to touch Jesus’ garment.
  • Jesus responded to the woman immediately. Jesus responded to Jarius after a delay.
  • Jarius’ daughter was healed secretly. The woman was healed publicly. (Guzik)

Commentaries used for this study: David Guzik, Charles Russell, The Expositor’s Bible, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, E.W. Bullinger, Matthew Henry and more.

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