5:1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes [area located southeast of the Sea of Galilee; more Gentiles than Jews lived there].
5:2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him.
5:3 This man lived in the tombs [a place of death; away from society], and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain.
5:4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but [note that the evil spirit that possessed the man gave him great strength…] he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.
5:5 Night and day [indicates that the evil spirit that possessed the man constantly tormented him] among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut [mutilated] himself [the man lived in a constant state of pain] with stones.
5:6 When he [a demoniac who lived in isolation] saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him [an act of homage rather than worship].
5:7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God [use of this title implies that the demon recognized Jesus’ deity (see also 1:24); there is no atheism among demons (see James 2:19); demons exhibited better knowledge of Jesus than His friends (see 4:41) or the religious leaders (see 3:22)]? Swear to God that you won’t torture me [demon felt threatened by Jesus]!”
Note: Neither the demon nor the people of the region (see 5:17) wanted Jesus to bother them.
5:8 For [reason why the demon made the request of verse 7] Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”
5:9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion [to people in a conquered land, this name suggested numbers, strength, and relentless oppression; Roman legion could consist of 6,000 men],” he replied, “for we are many.”
5:10 And he [demon] begged [through lips of the demoniac] Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area [they begged Jesus not to send them to the Abyss (cf. Lk. 8:31), a place of confinement (cf. Rev. 20:3)].
Note: Three Requests
1. Request by demons 5:12
2. Request by people of the area 5:17
3. Request by delivered man 5:18
5:11 A large herd of pigs [indicates that this was a predominantly Gentile area] was feeding on the nearby hillside.
5:12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs [an animal viewed unclean by Jews]; allow us to go into them.”
5:13 He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned [evil spirits always bring destruction and death].
5:14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.
5:15 When they [people who heard the report of those tending the pigs (v. 14)] came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons [and who once had roamed naked through the tombs (cf Lk. 8:27)], sitting there [“at Jesus’ feet” (Lk. 8:35)], dressed and in his right [healthy] mind [no longer out of control as a result of being possessed by evil forces]; and they were afraid [perhaps because they were in the presence of the One with power to perform such a miracle].
5:16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man — and told about the pigs [speak of the cost of being delivered from the demons] as well.
5:17 Then [rather than rejoicing or showing compassion to the once demon-possessed man] the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region [perhaps because they were afraid as per v. 15 or motivated by selfishness because of their material loss].
5:18 As Jesus was getting into the boat [to go away; Jesus does not stay where He is not wanted], the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him [a natural reaction; no one had ever shown him such love and compassion].
5:19 Jesus did not let him, but [gave him a difficult task] said, “Go home [there was no one else to send] to your family [one can only wonder how long had this man been separated from his family] and tell them [as an evangelist or a missionary] how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
5:20 So the man went away [obediently and without argument] and began to tell in the Decapolis [a league of ten cities] how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
Note: What do you think people might have thought when they saw the change in this once demon-possessed man? Determine to tell others what Jesus has done in your life.
5:21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side [probably to Capernaum] of the lake [Sea of Galilee], a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake.
5:22 Then one of the synagogue rulers [a lay position; elected by men in synagogue; handled administrative responsibilities; supervised worship services and weekly school; cared for the scrolls], named Jairus [a father on a mission to seek help for his daughter], came there. Seeing Jesus [Jairus approached the only person he felt could help his daughter; Jesus had healed many people in Capernaum on a previous visit there (Mk. 1:33-34)], he fell at his feet [out of respect for Jesus]
5:23 and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter [Jairus’ only daughter (Lk. 8:42); about twelve years old (Mk. 5:42)] is dying. Please come [the little girl was too sick to be taken to Jesus, instead Jairus asked Jesus to come to her] and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”
5:24 So Jesus [always sensitive to human needs] went [Jesus sensed the urgency of the situation and responded with promptness] with him [as they departed for Jairus’ home, Jesus stopped and healed a woman with a chronic bleeding disorder].
Note: When was the last time you were alert to physical crises around you? How did you respond to them? What priorities in your life need to be rearranged so that you can be more available to help others in times of physical crisis?
5:35 While Jesus was still speaking [to the woman who had been healed from bleeding (5:25-34)], some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more? [the messengers assumed a dead person was beyond Jesus’ power to help]”
5:36 Ignoring what they said, Jesus [knew the situation was not hopeless] told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe [suggests an ongoing action].”
5:37 He did not let anyone follow him except [note the disciples who were Jesus’ inner circle; these three would serve as witnesses to what Jesus was about to do (cf. Deut. 19:15)] Peter [notice that the oft-impulsive Peter did not speak on this occasion], James [the first disciple to die; killed by Herod (Acts 12:2)] and John [wrote gospel, three letters, and Revelation] the brother of James.
Note: Peter, James, and John were also with Jesus when He was transfigured (Mk. 9:2) and when He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane (Mk. 14:32-42).
5:38 When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people [some of whom were likely professional mourners (a Jewish custom to hire professional mourners)] crying and wailing loudly.
5:39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep [often used figuratively for death; Jesus meant that although the girl was physically dead, He would raise her to life again].”
5:40 But they laughed [Jesus’ words sounded ridiculous to the crowd] at him. After he put them all out [Gr. ekballo which means to throw out], he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was.
5:41 He took her by the hand [Jewish custom prohibited touching a corpse] and said to her, “Talitha koum! [Aramaic]” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you [these words emphasize Jesus’ control over the situation], get up!”).
Note: Jesus raised three people from the dead:
• Jairus’s daughter
• the widow of Nain’s son (Lk. 7:11-17)
• Lazarus (Jn. 11:1-44)
5:42 Immediately [death itself must obey Jesus’ command] the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished [they were out of their minds with amazement].
5:43 He gave strict orders [to the parents and the three disciples] not to let anyone know about this [cf. Mk. 1:43-44], and told them [the girl’s parents] to give her something to eat [Jesus was sensitive to the little girl’s physical needs].
Note: How did Jesus show compassion in this situation? How do you show compassion to others who are suffering? What is the difference between compassion and encouragement?