Chapter five contains three events, all remarkable miracles that continued to prove Jesus’ divine authority. The first took place in Gentile territory, outside of Israel, on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. When Jesus and his disciples reached the other side, they were immediately approached by a demon-possessed man, outcast from his community to live in the local graveyard (Mark 5:1-5). 1
Upon seeing Jesus, the demon (through the man) immediately acknowledged his deity, falling down before Jesus and begging to not be judged by him, because Jesus had ordered him out of the man (Mark 5:6-13). Mark 5:10 notes that the demon begged Jesus repeatedly to spare him, not just once. Mark gave a detail that does not show up in any other story: Jesus asked the demon his name. No explanation is given for this detail. However, the answer was astounding. There was not just one demon in him but thousands! A Roman legion could include up to 6,000 soldiers. Instead of premature banishment to the abyss, they asked that Jesus send them into a nearby herd of pigs, which he granted. They immediately destroyed the entire herd by driving them off of the cliff into the lake. When the people from the surrounding area heard what happened and saw the man in his right mind listening to Jesus, they were afraid and sent Jesus away (Mark 5:14-20). Jesus told the man to stay there as a witness to the power of God.
The second event occurred back in Israel. Jairus was a ruler in a local synagogue whose daughter was gravely ill (Mark 5:21-24). On their way to see the girl, an unexpected third event took place. A woman with a constant hemorrhage for twelve years approached Jesus (Mark 5:25-34), believing he could heal her. Apparently, more out of respect for his time rather than unbelief, she intended to touch him, be healed, and return home. However, Jesus knew that someone had been healed, so he stopped, turned to her, and blessed her.
Moving again toward Jairus’ house, word came that the girl had died (Mark 5:35-43). Due to the change of circumstances and the growing rejection of his claims, Jesus limited the number of people who saw this miracle to only Jairus and his wife and Peter, James, and John. Once alone, Jesus took the girl’s hand and called her back to life. To keep the story circulating that she had just fallen asleep (similar to Jesus’ perspective on Lazarus, John 11:11-13), Jesus ordered strict silence on the matter, and, in a touch of practicality, told the parents to feed their daughter.
- The description of what the demon did to him is provides striking insight into the type of destruction the Enemy produces ↩