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The Gadarene Demons of Legion (Mark 5)

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Legion And The Gadarene Pigs




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Mark 5

Jesus heals a mad man
And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when he got out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling in the tombs; no one could any more bind him, even with a chain. 4 For he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him, 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said: What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I solemnly implore you by God, do not torment me. 8 For Jesus had said to him: Unclean spirit, come out of the man! 9 And he asked the spirit: What is your name? And the spirit replied: My name is Legion. For we are many. 10 And he pleaded earnestly with him not to send them out of the country.
   11 Now there was there on the mountain side a great herd of pigs feeding. 12 And they pleaded with him, saying: Send us into the pigs, let us enter into them. 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the hill into the sea and were drowned in the sea
   14 And they that fed them fled and told it in the city and in the country. And they came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw him who had been possessed with demons, that previously had the legion, sitting, clothed and in his right mind- and they were afraid. 16 And they that saw it described to them what had happened to him that was previously possessed with demons, and about what had happened to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg him to depart from their borders.
   18 And as he was entering into the boat, he that had been possessed with demons pleaded with him that he might go with him. 19 But Jesus did not permit him. Instead he said to him: Go to your home, to your family, and tell them how great things the Lord has done for you and how he had mercy on you. 20 And he went his way and began to publish in Decapolis the great things Jesus had done for him, and all men marvelled.

Jesus heals Jairus’ daughter
   21 And when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great crowd was gathered to him; and he was by the sea. 22 And there came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, 23 and implored him earnestly, saying: My little daughter is at the point of death. I beg you to come and lay your hands on her, that she may be made whole and live. 24 And Jesus went with him; and a great crowd followed him, and they pressed upon him.
   25 And a woman, who for twelve years had an issue of blood, 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 having heard the things about Jesus, came from the crowd behind him, and touched his garment. 28 For she said: If I touch but his garments, I shall be made whole. 29 And immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her illness. 30 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in himself that the power proceeding from him had gone forth, turned towards the crowd and said: Who touched my garments? 31 And his disciples said to him: You saw the crowd pressing upon you and you ask, Who touched me? 32 And he looked around to see who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done to her, came and fell down before him and told him all the truth. 34 And he said to her: Daughter, your faith has made you whole. Go in peace and be free of your illness.
   35 While he was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying: Your daughter is dead. Why do you trouble the Teacher any further? 36 But Jesus, not heeding the word spoken, said to the ruler of the synagogue: Fear not, only believe. 37 And he permitted no one to follow him, save Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 And they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue; and he saw a tumult, and many weeping and wailing greatly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them: Why make you a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeps. 40 And they laughed at him with scorn. But he, having put them outside, took the father of the child and her mother and those that were with him, and went to where the child was. 41 And taking the child by the hand, he said to her: Talitha cumi, which means, little girl, I say to you, rise! 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly ordered them that no one should know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.



5:4 The man’s illness had bad episodes, it was intermittent. He had thought many times that he was cured of it, that he could be restrained- but then it broke out again. So the herd of pigs were sent over the cliff as a dramatic aide memoire which he would never forget, showing how permanent and total was his cure.

5:6 The sick man worshipped Jesus by recognizing Him as Son of God (v.7). And yet, in his illness, he also spoke aggressively to Jesus. But God understands mental illness and focused on the positive, accepting the correct parts of his understanding as “worship”. Men other than Jesus are described as being ‘worshipped’; the fact Jesus also was worshipped doesn’t mean He was God Himself.

5:9 My name… We are many- The man was schizophrenic, thinking he was possessed by multiple personalities. The language of demon possession is used to describe mental illness; demons don’t ultimately exist.

5:20 The man was told to go and witness to his family, but instead he went around the 10 cities of the Decapolis preaching. Often when a command is given to preach, God’s people don’t obey it fully. The command to go and teach the Gentiles wasn’t obeyed by the apostles initially- they only went to the Jews. Those told not to tell others of their healing often did. And do we obey the call we have received to share the good news as God wishes?

5:28 The woman had the common idea that merely touching a holy man would give her healing. Jesus didn’t refuse her because she understood wrongly; but He explained that it was her faith and not the touch in itself which had cured her (v. 34). See on 7:33.

5:31 The disciples are almost ridiculing Jesus. Yet Mark’s account of the Gospel includes this, as if to say to his audience: ‘Look how badly we treated the Lord Jesus, how we misunderstood Him, what a low level we were on compared to Him!’. And this integrity, humility and human honesty was what made their message so attractive and credible to their hearers.

5:40 Jesus was ‘laughed to scorn’- implying He had the usual human reactions of embarrassment and awkwardness. He really had our nature.

5:43 Note His thoughtfulness in reminding them to give her something to eat. She’d been dead, so she’d not eaten for some time. This same thoughtful, sensitive Jesus is the same today and forever (Heb. 13:8).