Monday, February 15, 2016

40 Days of Jesus ~ Day 5 (Mark 5)

Mark 5

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!” Then He asked him, “What is your name?”
And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13 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.
14 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. 15 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. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 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.” 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.

And they were afraid

Wow. This isn't the holy fear we're talking about here, the fear (a.k.a. awe) we ought to have for God. This is fear. The kind that not only doesn't come from God, the kind that stands squarely in the way of what He wants to do in our lives.

These people were afraid of the power that could do this miracle. They were afraid of what it meant. They were afraid, I think, of how it would change their lives if they admitted it.

When I was a pre-teen, my friend and I (a missionary kid) were sitting up one night talking about supernatural things. Talking about angels and miracles, and how we wished we could see an angel. And then we both realized we were afraid to look out the window--because what if one was there? There we were, talking about the awesome power of God and how we wished we could behold it . . . but we were afraid to actually do so. 

How often is that the case in the church today? How often are we afraid to see what He has to show us? Because it changes things, to behold His glory. And we don't want things to change.

These people were gentiles, and maybe that has a bit to do with their fear. Maybe. It certainly has something to do with Jesus's reaction to the man who had been healed. Among the Jews, he always cautions the people he touches not to tell anyone. Among the gentiles, he tells then to spread the word, because he knows they don't have the religious leaders who will be out to get him.

21 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. 22 And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23 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.” 24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.
25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’
32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

 Here we also have the word fear. This woman is fearing and trembling. (And it is in fact the same word used in verse 15 above.) But the fear has a very different effect in her, doesn't it? It brings her to her knees before Jesus. It doesn't make her want to get away from him--it makes her want to be before him. 

What causes the difference here? Is it that she didn't just see the power from afar, but rather experiences it herself?

35 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?”
36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” 37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”
40 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. 41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. 43 But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.

 I've always appreciated how this passage is two miracles, one interrupting the other. There he is, on his way to heal a child, and he gets waylaid by a desperate woman. One whose faith makes her well just by reaching out and touching the edge of his garment.

Then word comes that Jairus's daughter has died. He could have cried out, "You tarried too long, Lord! Now look what's happened!" But instead, he believes when Jesus tells him to. He believes that even though the worst possible thing has happened, there's still hope.

That in itself is a miracle, isn't it? To hope in the face of solid evidence, of logic and reason and fact. Such hope could be called impossible. It could also be called irrational. Insane. Unhinged.

But that hope, that faith, brought this man's daughter back to life. Even when people ridiculed. He believed, and his daughter got up and ate something.

This was an act of pure love. We see other occasions where only-sons are brought back to life, when the welfare of their mother depend upon it. A woman, in those days, without a male family member to care for her, were in a hard spot indeed.

This wasn't the case here. I love that it was a daughter. Unimportant in the eyes of the world. But so very important in the eyes of God. He recognized the soul-deep love of a father for his little girl, and he met that as surely as he did the "more important" need of a mother for her son. (Again, in the eyes of the world.) One of the most revolutionary messages of the New Testament is that God shows no partiality--woman or man, slave or free, rich or poor. He loves us all.

Thank you, Jesus.


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