A. The authority of Jesus in the life of the Gaderene demoniac.
1. (1-8) The description of the demon possessed man.
Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me." For He said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!"
a. Immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit: 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 (Luke 8:27).
· The man wore no clothes and lived like a sub-human, wild animal (Luke 8:27).
· The man lived among the decaying and dead, contrary to Jewish law and human instinct (dwelling among the tombs).
· 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.
i. 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.
b. Immediately there met Him: 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!
c. 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.
i. 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.
ii. "The full address is not a confession of Jesus' dignity but a desperate attempt to gain control over him or to render him harmless, in accordance with the common assumption of the period that the use of the precise name of an adversary gave one mastery over him." (Lane)
iii. 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 (James 2:19).
d. 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 resides in 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.
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 (Colossians 2:15). Demonic spirits certainly can both deceive and intimidate Christians, binding them with fear and unbelief.
2. (9-13) Jesus demonstrates His authority over evil spirits.
Then He asked him, "What is your name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many." Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them." And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
a. What is your name? 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.
i. 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."
ii. 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.
iii. 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.
iv. "The answer may be evasive, the demons desiring to withhold their true names from Jesus in a desperate attempt to thwart his power. It is also possible that the name may have been selected to invoke the fear of a powerful name." (Lane)
v. It's important to emphasize this, because it is easy for Christians to get caught up in superstitions about demons and the spiritual realm. Some people act like demonic trouble is spread like cooties. If that were true, think of all the things you come in contact with every day that might have been touched by a demon possessed person. The demonic trouble with objects is found in their content, not in the object itself. We must never be caught up in such foolish and counter-productive superstitions.
b. Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country: Luke 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." "Lo, it is another hell to the devil to be idle, or otherwise than evil-occupied." (Trapp)
i. "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)
ii. Why did these demons want to say in that country? "That it was a paganish, ignorant, sottish place, where usually the devil hath the best markets and the greatest rule. For as it is said of Christ, that he could not do much in some places where he came because of their unbelief; so neither can the devil do much in some places, because of the faith of the gospel received by them. Hence it is observable, that as the devil is not able to play his game in any place amongst Christians, as he doth this day amongst heathens; so he hath much less power at this day in places where the word of God is more generally known, and more faithfully preached, than in other places where people are more ignorant of the Scriptures, and have less faithful and frequent preaching." (Poole)
iii. In Mark 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.
c. Send us to the swine, that we may enter 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)
i. Notice that the demons can't even afflict pigs without the permission of God. "Since a demon cannot enter even into a swine without being sent by God himself, how little is the power or malice of them to be dreaded by those who have God for their portion and protector!" (Clarke)
d. And at once Jesus gave them permission: Why did Jesus allow this? Why didn't Jesus just put these unclean spirits out of commission? Because the time of the total demonstration of His authority over demons had not yet come - it would come at the cross. Colossians 2:15 tells us that at the cross Jesus disarmed demons in their attacks on believers, He made a public spectacle of their defeat, and He triumphed over them in His work on the cross.
e. 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. (John 10:10)
i. 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.
ii. "Jesus allowed the demons to enter the swine to indicate beyond question that their real purpose was the total destruction of their host." (Lane)
iii. 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)
3. (14-17) The reaction of the bystanders to the deliverance of the demon possessed man.
So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
a. 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.
i. 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.
b. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region: 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!
i. 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.
4. (18-20) The reaction of the man who had been delivered from demons.
And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.
a. He who had been demon-possessed 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.
i. He who had been demon possessed: "That is a striking name for a man, 'he that had been possessed with the devil.' It would stick to him as long as he lived, and it would be a standing sermon wherever he went. He would be asked to tell the story of what he used to be, and how the change came about. What a story for any man to tell!" (Spurgeon)
b. Jesus did not permit him: 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.
i. Sometimes we have a hard time understanding the ways of God. The people of the city made an evil request: they began to plead with Him to depart from their region, and Jesus answered their prayer. The man who had been demon possessed made a godly request: that he might be with Him, and Jesus said "no" to that prayer.
ii. Of course, this was because this man could be a light among the people of these Gentiles cities in a way that Jesus and the disciples could not. But it was also to cure the man of any superstitions. He might have thought that he had to stay close to Jesus so the demons would not come back. "Perhaps, too, his prayer was not answered, lest his fear should have been thereby sanctioned. If he did fear, and I feel morally certain that he did, that the devils would return, then, of course, he longed to be with Christ. But Christ take that fear from him, and as good as says to him, 'You do not need to be near me; I have so healed that you will never be sick again.'" (Spurgeon)
c. This man had a great message to tell: what great things Jesus had done for him. 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.
i. 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)
ii. "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.
iii. "He was told to publish what great things the Lord had done for him. He went and published what great things Jesus had done for him. Did he make any mistake? Oh, no! It is but another name for the same Person: for Jesus is the Lord; and when you speak of him as divine, and talk of him in terms fit only for God, you do but speak rightly; for so he deserveth to be praised." (Spurgeon)
B. Jesus demonstrates His authority over sickness and death.
1. (21-24) A father asks Jesus to heal his daughter.
Now when Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered to Him; and He was by the sea. And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live." So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.
a. A great multitude gathered to Him: 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 on the other side, and the large crowds immediately come to Jesus again.
b. One of the rulers of the synagogue came: The ruler of the synagogue was somewhat like a modern day "pastor." He managed both the spiritual and the business affairs of the synagogue. This man came in desperation to Jesus (fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly), because his daughter was at the point of death.
i. "As synagogue-ruler he was a lay official responsible for supervision of the building and arranging the service." (Lane)
c. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will 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).
i. 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."
ii. When a Roman Centurion came to Jesus in a similar situation (Luke 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.
iii. "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)
d. 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).
2. (25-34) A woman is healed of a hemorrhage.
Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well." Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My clothes?" But His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."
a. 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.
i. 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 (Leviticus 15:19-31).
ii. "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."
b. Had suffered many things from many physicians: 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 (Luke 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.
c. If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well: 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."
i. Was this woman correct in thinking she could be healed by touching the border of Jesus' garment? We have no evidence in the Bible that Jesus healed this way before. Isn't she just being superstitious, and how can God honor that?
ii. Because even though her faith had elements of err and superstition, she believed in the healing power of Jesus, and the border of His garment served as a point of contact for that faith. There are many things that we could find wrong with this woman's faith. But more than anything, her faith was in Jesus, and the object of faith is much more important than the quality of faith.
iii. "There was no magic in the garments of Jesus. Perhaps there was superstition in the woman's mind, but Jesus honoured her darkened faith as in the case of Peter's shadow and Paul's handkerchief." (Robertson)
iv. Matthew 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 Numbers 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)
d. Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up: 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.
e. She felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction . . . immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him: 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.
i. 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.
f. 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.
i. 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.
g. 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.
i. The disciples were amazed that Jesus could ask this question. Given the situation, His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" But the disciples didn't understand the difference between casual contact with Jesus, and reaching out to touch Him in faith.
ii. 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.
iii. "It is not every contact with Christ that saves men; it is the arousing of yourself to come near to him, the determinate, the personal, resolute, believing touch of Jesus Christ which saves." (Spurgeon)
iv. "Augustine long ago said of this story, 'Flesh presses, faith touches.' . . . He can always distinguish between the jostle of a curious mob, and the agonized touch of a needy soul." (Morgan)
h. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole 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.
i. 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.
ii. 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.
iii. Jesus did it 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.
iv. Jesus did it 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.
v. 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.
vi. 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.
vii. "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)
viii. 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.
i. Came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth: When we come to Jesus, we must tell Him the whole truth.
i. We must tell Him the whole truth about our sin. We come to Him as the Great Physician and He asks, "What seems to be the problem?" So don't leave anything out.
ii. We must tell Him the whole truth about all our suffering. He wants to know where it hurts, so tell Him.
iii. We must tell Him the whole truth about the other doctors and cures we tried.
iv. We must tell Him the whole truth about all our hopes, because He wants to know what He can do for us.
j. Later Christians couldn't help but embellish this account. Some said the woman's name was Berenice, others said it was Veronica. One said outside her door she set up a statute of her bowing down before Jesus, and at the foot of the statue a strange plant grew that could miraculously heal diseases.
k. 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.
3. (35-36) Jesus calls Jarius to an extreme faith with an extreme promise.
While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue's house who said, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?" As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not be afraid; only believe."
a. Your daughter is dead: 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."
b. 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.
i. 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.
4. (37-43) Jesus raises Jarius' daughter from the dead.
And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. When He came in, He said to them, "Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping." And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, "Talitha, cumi," which is translated, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.
a. He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John: Often these three are considered the "inner circle" of Jesus' disciples. Couldn't it be just as true that Jesus knew He had to keep a special eye on these three?
b. The child is not dead, but sleeping: 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.
c. A tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly: 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).
i. They ridiculed Him: "Note imperfect tense. They kept it up." (Robertson)
ii. "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)
d. When He had put them all outside: 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.
e. Little girl, I say to you, arise: What good is it to talk to a dead person? Because Jesus is God, He can speak to the girl as if she were alive. Romans 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.
f. 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.
g. 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.
i. Jarius had twelve years of sunshine that were about to be extinguished. The woman had twelve years of agony that seemed hopeless to heal.
ii. Jarius was an important man, the ruler of the synagogue. The woman was a nobody. We don't even know her name.
iii. Jarius was probably wealthy, because he was an important man. The woman was poor because she spent all her money on doctors.
iv. Jarius came publicly. The woman came secretly.
v. Jarius thought Jesus had to do a lot to heal his daughter. The woman thought all she needed was to touch Jesus' garment.
vi. Jesus responded to the woman immediately. Jesus responded to Jarius after a delay.
vii. Jarius' daughter was healed secretly. The woman was healed publicly.