Mark Chapter 5: Casting out Demons, Other Healings

Nov 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Mark, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Mark Chapter 5: Casting out Demons, Other Healings

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

Mark 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

Mark 5:3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

Mark 5:4 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.

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

The Gadarenes were the Gergesenes. The “country of the Gadarenes” was east of the Sea of Galilee, and Gadara was its capital. Jews were living there.

Matthew 8:28 mentions two possessed men in this area. “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.”

Comment: It is remarkable that these two events followed one right after the other. Either event by itself was startling. Although Satan was defeated in the storm attempt, he was so vicious and hardened that he did not stop to reflect but had the two demon-possessed individuals go out to meet Jesus afterwards.

This one man was inhabited by 2,000 unclean spirits (verse 13). His name being “Legion” indicates that one demon was the spokesman, the leader (verse 9). The possession of a human being by a demon can be almost molecular in size, especially if the contact point is in the brain.

Through the contact point, an influence is exercised that affects the whole body. The brain controls both voluntary and involuntary action—it is like two systems operating to tell the body what to do. Because the contact in the brain is pinpoint size, 2,000 beings could inhabit one person. What confusion for the victim!

The possessed man came from one of the ten cities of the Decapolis. The townspeople had tried to subdue him but could not. He had torn off clothes and gone around naked. Because they could not subdue him, they took him in a calm moment to the barren area of the tombs and left him there, where he lodged in caves and roamed as an animal. The breaking of chains was more than just a surge of adrenaline and the pituitary gland, for the chains were broken “often” with the superhuman strength that comes from demon possession. In another manifestation of the same spirit, the man savagely cut himself with stones.

Mark 5:6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,

Mark 5:7 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.

Mark 5:8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

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

“I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.” Why did Legion ask through God? Under unusual circumstances, even unbelieving humans may say strange things. Satan knew God was more powerful than Jesus, so even though he is a fallen angel, he called on the highest power.

This suggests that Satan thought what Jesus was about to do might be illegitimate, that is, judging him “before the [due] time” (Matt. 8:29). Even the devils believe and tremble (fear) before God. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). Of the 2,000 demons in the man, one (Legion) was like the prince of demons, the spokesman.

Verse 7 proves the fallen angels knew Jesus—that he was not an ordinary man. They knew of his preexistence as the Logos and of his close relationship with God. They worshipped him (verse 6) out of fear of what he might do to punish or judge them.

Verse 7 shows the demons have “out of body” experiences. While possessing a person, they know what is happening around them. Therefore, knowing Jesus had been casting out demons in his ministry, these 2,000 did not want to be cast out of their human contact, which they evidently prized.

Why do fallen angels possess human beings? They do so for the satisfaction of the vicarious feeling. While they themselves are curbed in certain areas, they get pleasure in observing others do monstrous things. They get satisfaction in witnessing perversion. The same was true with the worship of Molech, in which infants were roasted alive. That is sadism—getting pleasure out of the pain inflicted on others. People can be sadists too.

Mark 5:10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

The NIV reads, “And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.” The spokesman did not want Jesus to exorcise the 2,000 demons out into space and thus evict them from their human vehicle.

The inference is that God has implanted in man a certain innate fear of the supernatural. The fear is good, for it helps many avoid to being possessed. Hence the fallen angels do not find too many humans through whom they can operate direct. They usually have to make a person do something by indirect methods. Through stratagems Satan can influence people and nations, but he usually has to use bait. That is a different method than direct control of human “robots.”

This incident illustrates the principle that only Jesus can bind Satan, for “no one was strong enough to subdue” Legion (verse 4, NIV). Satan was originally an archangel, a morning star. Even Gabriel, third in power, could not control Satan, who is called the “prince of Persia” in Daniel 10:13,20. Therefore, other angels, let alone man, cannot overpower Satan. The other fallen angels respect the exceeding power of Satan as the prince of demons.

Mark 5:11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

Mark 5:12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

Mark 5:13 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.

Mark 5:14 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.

The 2,000 demons spoke as a multitude. Imagine the disciples hearing all this! What a faith-strengthening experience!

Q: The death of 2,000 pigs was quite a loss for the owner(s). Was this incident permitted because the pigs were unclean and Jews should not have been raising them?

A: The demons wanted revenge on Jesus. They knew that if they could cause the death of the pigs, Jesus’ ministry in that region would be negated. Jesus permitted the herd to run into the sea and die because the Jews should not have been raising swine even for others to eat.

As a result, the Gadarenes opposed Jesus’ ministry. Satan is jealous of Jesus just as the scribes and Pharisees were.

Mark 5:15 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.

Mark 5:16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.

Mark 5:17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.

Mark 5:18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.

Mark 5:19 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.

Mark 5:20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

The exorcised man was very grateful. Mark told of only one possessed man because, writing for the Romans, he got right to the point.

Comment: Although Jesus did not permit the man to go along with him, the Reprints indicate that does not mean the man did not consecrate. Based on Matthew 12:43-45, if an unclean spirit goes out of a man and the person does not consecrate, the demon returns with seven other demons, and the man’s fate is worse than at the beginning. Therefore, the fact the man wanted to follow Jesus shows that he consecrated.

Reply: Yes. In addition, the fact he was seen well dressed, with his hair combed, and polite— the opposite of his previous behavior—shows he consecrated. He did obey and return to his home to tell of Jesus’ compassion on him. What a testimony for the people who had known him earlier!

The people of the region knew that if Jesus stayed there, it would cost them something, so they wanted him to leave. The death of the swine was just one facet, for the people also knew they would have to change their occupation. Seeing there were no hearing ears, Jesus did leave. Otherwise, he would not have heeded their desire.

Incidentally, a righteous man’s steps are ordered of the Lord. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way” (Psa. 37:23). (1) God providentially leads and directs us. (2) We try to walk in straight paths and to avoid unnecessary dangers.

Mark 5:21 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.

Mark 5:22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,

Mark 5:23 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.

Mark 5:24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.

Jesus returned to the west side of Galilee. Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, fell at Jesus’ feet and said, “My little daughter is dying.” Not only did the ruler show faith, but he humbled himself  before Jesus, who was not of the orthodox priesthood. Trauma and tragedy can humble a person. In fact, that is how some of us came to the Lord initially. Jairus knew Jesus could healhis daughter—if he so chose.

Jesus raised people in various conditions of the death state, showing he is the resurrection (John 11:25). (1) Lazarus was dead for four days. (2) Jairus’s daughter had just died. (3) The son of the widow of Nain was on a funeral bier. Therefore, the length of death and the degree of deterioration are no deterrent to Jesus.

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

Mark 5:26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

Mark 5:27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

Mark 5:28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

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

Jairus’s daughter was 12 years old, and the woman had had an issue of blood for 12 years (verse 42). Her faith made her whole (verse 34). She believed she would be healed if she could just touch Jesus’ garment. Immediately she was healed; that is, she felt the healing.

Mark 5:30 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?

Jesus knew that someone had touched him and been healed because he felt virtue leave him. Since the woman had been ill for 12 years, it probably took quite a lot of “virtue” to heal her.

The woman had touched Jesus secretly, but he knew someone had been healed.

Mark 5:31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

Mark 5:32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

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

Mark 5:34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

It is touching that the woman, so grateful to be whole, trembled when Jesus asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

Mark 5:35 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?

Mark 5:36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

Mark 5:37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

Mark 5:38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.

Mark 5:39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.

While en route, Jesus got the news that Jairus’s daughter was dead. Jesus told Jairus not to fear but to keep believing, in faith. He selectively took Peter, James, and John into the house to witness the healing. Peter, the leader, was named first, and James was listed next because he was the oldest. Before resuscitating her, Jesus said, “The damsel is not [permanently] dead, but sleepeth [until the resurrection].”

Mark 5:40 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.

Mark 5:41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.

Mark 5:42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.

Mark 5:43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and commanded that something should be given her to eat.

When Jesus said, “Talitha cumi,” the damsel arose immediately. The miracle showed his authority to awaken from death. However, he charged the others not to tell anyone of the miracle because he did not want to become too popular too soon. The real object of this cure was to teach the apostles and to indelibly engrave the miracle on their minds. Notice that Jesus healed (he did what others could not do) and then commanded that she be fed (he did not do what others could do).

When Jesus said Jairus’s daughter slept and was not dead, the mourners “laughed him to scorn.” His words would have startled them because they knew she was dead. Thus their laughing was understandable under the circumstances. However, the miracle would be more beneficial to the right-hearted among the scorners who subsequently accepted him. The opposition enhanced the depth to which the miracle penetrated them.

In other words, the laughing of verse 40 was spontaneous and not a harbored feeling. In contrast, the people of Nazareth did harbor wrong feelings, so Jesus did not perform many miracles there (Mark 6:5).

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