Studying this overlooked Gospel of Mark is helping me get back to basics and really dig my roots down deeper, pressing in to what Jesus has in store for me. This is all prep work, preparing me for Eternity. What does Jesus say to those who are interested in following Him and what happens once they do?
Mark chapter 5 is going to continue to tell us. The disciples learn that, as they follow Jesus, they may expect to encounter perilous conditions and fierce trials. But they also learn that Jesus is able to preserve them even in the most extreme circumstances.
The Demoniac Restored
In recounting the story of the demoniac, Mark describes this poor soul as being as fierce as a wild animal and that no one could tame him. He lived in constant agony, crying out all day and night, and cutting himself with sharp, jagged stones, because his poor soul was filled with a whole legion of demons.
After the man is restored and the demons cast out, recognizing Jesus, they plead with Him to let them possess swine. They needed a new body to harbor in, since they were suddenly homeless. This legion of demons were allowed to go into to the swine.
Some might find this curious. There’s a lot to witness here. Let’s unpack this telling. First, the fact that demon possession was prevalent during this age (and I believe it is prevalent again today), is consist with what was going on in the supernatural realms, because of Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. The dark places were shaken. Satan was trying to counteract God’s masterwork. Second, we get a glimpse of the spiritual warfare that was constantly engaging Jesus. Third, we see that demons know who God is, and who the Son of God is. They know their ultimate doom. Fourth, that demons can possess both humans and animals. And lastly, the demons had minimal power of their own. They had to ask Jesus permission to possess the swine.
Why did Jesus allow them to destroy His creation?
Consider this: If the pigs’ owners were Jews, Jesus could have been rebuking them for violating Mosaic law which forbids Jews from eating or keeping unclean animals. On the other hand, if the swineherds were Gentiles, perhaps Jesus was demonstrating the malice of demons while displaying His power and authority over His Creation.
Please Leave, Jesus
Regardless, the swineherds were so frightened to be in the presence of Jesus that they made no demand for restitution for the loss of their swine. Instead, they begged Jesus to depart. While the people were awe-struck, they nevertheless remained unrepentant.
Their hearts were hardened; they wanted to remain in sin. In contrast, the demoniac that was set free demonstrated that he was a new creation. He wanted to go the way with Jesus. Jesus sent him on his way, commissioning him to joyfully, ”Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
Having Great Faith, Not Religion
In the next section, Mark 5:21-43, this passage teaches us about dynamic faith.
Why was Jairus discouraged from seeking Jesus, and who does Jesus permit to come along with Him to Jairus’ house after his daughter is pronounced dead?
The people surrounding Jairus and his daughter had remarkably little faith in the ability of Jesus. Since the girl had died, they considered her beyond help. No one could help her now. What do you do when you believe your situation is beyond help? Do you summon Jesus?
There stood the Son of God next to Jairus, giving him support and wise counsel after Jairus is told of his daughter’s death. Jesus then instructs the messengers, along with everyone else except Peter, James and John, to stay where they were. Because of their unbelief, Jesus refuses to allow them to witness the miracle He is about to perform.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss anything Jesus is doing or about to do!
The problem was, the people from His hometown remembered Jesus as the carpenter, the son of Mary. Unable to understand how He is was teaching with so much spiritual insight or how He was able to perform such miracles, instead of re-evaluating His position, there simply were offended. Because of this, Jesus performed very few works among them.
You might find the same reception among your friends or family or those who knew you when you “lived in Egypt,” before your days of walking with Christ. But, God has ordered your faith. And it is the only instrument through which you can be saved.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…