Mark 5

The conviction, as to "what manner of Man" the Lord Jesus is, once
having been reached by faith, it carries with it the assurance that He
must be equal to meeting every emergency. Yet, even so, it is well for
the disciple to actually see Him dealing with men, and with the
troubles that have come upon them by reason of sin, in His delivering
mercy. In this chapter we see the Lord displaying His power, and
thereby educating His disciples still further. That education may be
ours also as we go over the record.

While crossing the lake, the power of Satan had been at work hidden
behind the fury of the tempest: on arriving at the other side it became
very manifest in the man with an unclean spirit. Defeated in his more
secret workings, the adversary now gives an open challenge without loss
of time, for the man met Him immediately He landed. It was a kind of
test case. The devil had turned the wretched man into a fortress that
he hoped to hold at all costs; and into the fortress he had flung a
whole legion of demons. If ever a man was held in hopeless captivity to
the powers of darkness, it was he. In his story we see mirrored the
plight into which humanity has sunk under Satan's power.

He "had his dwelling among the tombs:" and men today live in a world
that is more and more becoming a vast graveyard as generation after
generation passes into death. Then, "no man could bind him," for
fetters and chains had often been tried to no purpose. He was beyond
restraint. So today there are not lacking movements and methods
intended to curb the bad propensities of men, to restrain their more
violent actions, and reduce the world to pleasantness and order. But
all in vain.

Then, with the demoniac another thing was tried. Could not his
nature be changed? It is stated however, "neither could any man tame
him;" so that idea proved useless. Thus it has always been: there is no
more power in men to change their natures than there is to curb and repress them,
so that they do not act. "The carnal mind . . . is not subject to the
law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8: 7), so it cannot be
restrained. Again, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:
6), no matter what attempts may be made to improve it. So it can not be
altered or changed.

"Always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the
tombs,"-utterly restless-"crying,"-utterly miserable-"cutting himself
with stones,"-damaging himself in his madness. What a picture!

And we must add, what a characteristic picture of man under
the power of Satan. This was an exceptional case, it is true. Satan's
grip on the majority is of a gentler sort, and the symptoms are much
less pronounced; still they are there. The cry of humanity may be
heard, as men damage themselves by their sins.

When the man spoke, the words were framed by his lips, but the
intelligence behind them was that of the demons who controlled him. They knew what manner of Man the Lord was, even if others did not. On the other hand they did not know
the manner of His service. There will indeed be an hour when the Lord
will consign these demons along with Satan their master into torment,
but that was not His work at that moment. Much less was it the manner
of His service at that time in regard to men. To the demoniac Jesus
came, bringing not torment but deliverance.

The Lord had bidden the demons to come out, and they knew that they
could not resist. They were in the presence of Omnipotence, and they
must do as they were told. They had even to ask permission to enter
into the swine that were feeding not far away. The swine, being unclean
animals according to the law, ought not to have been there. The spirits
being unclean also, there was an affinity between them and the swine,
an affinity with fatal results for the animals. The demons had led the
man toward self-destruction, using the sharp stones: with the swine the
impulse was immediate and complete. The man was delivered: the swine
were destroyed.

The result, as regards the man himself, was delightful. His restless
wanderings were over, for he was "sitting." Formerly he "ware no
clothes," as Luke tells us, now he is "clothed." His delusions had
ceased, for he is "in his right mind." The gospel application of all
this is very evident.

The result, as regards the people of those parts was very tragic
however. They displayed a mind that was anything but right, though no
demons had entered into them. They had no understanding or appreciation
of Christ. On the other hand they did appreciate and understand pigs.
If the presence of Jesus meant no pigs, even if it also meant no raging
demoniac, then they would rather not have it. They began to pray Him to
depart out of their coasts.

The Lord yielded to their desire and left. The tragedy of this was
very great, though they did not realise it at the time. It was
succeeded by the even greater tragedy of the Son of God being cast
right out of this world; and we have now had nineteen centuries filled
with every kind of evil as the result of that. The departure of the
Lord created a fresh situation for the man just delivered from the
demons. He naturally desired the presence of his Deliverer, but was
instructed that for the present he must be content to abide in the
place of His absence and there witness for Him, particularly to his own

Our position today is very similar. Presently we shall be with Him,
but for the present it is ours to witness for Him in the place where He
is not. We too may tell our friends what great things the Lord has done
for us.

Having recrossed the lake, the Lord was immediately confronted with
further cases of human need. On His way to the house of Jairus, where
lay his little daughter at the point of death, He was intercepted by
the woman with an issue of blood. Her disease was of twelve years'
standing and utterly beyond all the skill of physicians. Hers was a
hopeless case, just as much as the case of the demoniac. He was in
helpless captivity to a great crowd of demons, she to an incurable

Again we can see an analogy to the spiritual state of mankind, and
particularly to the efforts of an awakened soul as depicted in Romans
7. There are many struggles and much earnest striving, but in result,
"nothing bettered but rather grew worse" would describe the case
delineated there, until the soul comes to the end of its searchings,
and having "spent all," has "heard of Jesus." Then ceasing all efforts
at self-improvement and coming to Jesus, He proves Himself to be the
great Deliverer.

In the case of the man we can hardly speak of faith at all, for he
was completely dominated by the demons. In the case of the woman we can
only speak of a faith that was defective. She was confident of His
power, a power so great that even His clothes would impart it; yet she
doubted His accessibility. The thronging crowds impeded her, and she
did not realise how completely He-the perfect Servant-was at the
disposal of all who needed Him. Yet the cure she needed was hers in
spite of everything. The access she needed was made possible, and the
blessing was brought to her. Satisfied with the blessing she would have
slunk away.

But this it was not to be. She too was to bear witness to that which
His power had wrought, and thereby she was to receive a further
blessing for herself. The Lord's dealings with her are full of
spiritual instruction.

The perfect knowledge of Jesus comes to light. He knew that virtue
had gone out of Him, and that the touch had fallen on His clothes. He
asked the question, but He knew the answer; for He looked round to see
"her" that had done it.

His question also brought to light the fact that many had been
touching Him in various ways, yet no other touch had drawn any virtue
from Him. Why was this? Because, of all the touches, hers was the only
one that sprang out of a consciousness of need, and faith. When these
two things are present the touch is always effective.

A good many of us would be like the woman, and wish to obtain the
blessing without any public acknowledgment of the Blesser. This must
not be. It is due to Him that we confess the truth and make known His
saving grace. Directly virtue has gone out from Him for our
deliverance, the time of witness-bearing has come for us. Just as the
man was to go home to his friends, the woman had to kneel at His feet
in public. Both bore witness to Him; and, be it noted, in the opposite
way to what we might have expected. Most men would find the witness at
home the more difficult: most women the witness in public. But the man
had to speak at home, and the woman in the presence of the crowd. She
spoke however not to the crowd, but to Him.

As the fruit of her confession the woman herself received a further
blessing. She got definite assurance from His word, that her cure was
thorough and complete. A few minutes before she had "felt in her body that she was healed," and then she confessed, "knowing what was done in her." This
was very good, but it was not quite enough. Had the Lord permitted her
to go away simply possessed of these nice "feelings," and this
"knowledge" of what had been "done in her," she would have been open to
many a doubt and fear in the days to come. Every small feeling of
indisposition would have raised anxiety as to whether her old malady
might not recur. As it was, she got His definite word, "Be whole of thy plague." That settled it. His word was far more reliable than her feelings.

So it is with us. Something is indeed done in us by the Spirit of
God at conversion, and we know it, and our feelings may be happy: yet,
even so, there is no solid basis on which assurance can rest in feelings, or in what has been done in us. The solid basis for assurance is found in the Word of the Lord. Not
a few today lack assurance just because they have made the mistake
which the woman was on the point of making. They have never properly
confessed Christ, and owned their indebtedness to Him. If they will
rectify this mistake as the woman did, they will get the assurance of
His Word.

At the very moment of the woman's deliverance the case of Jairus'
daughter took on a darker hue. Tidings of her death arrived, and those
who sent the message assumed that though disease might disappear before
the power of Jesus, death lay outside His domain. We have seen Him
triumph over demons and disease, even when the victims were beyond all
human help. Death is the most hopeless thing of all. Can He triumph
over that? He can, and He did.

The way that He sustained the faltering faith of the ruler is very
beautiful. Jairus had been quite confident as to His ability to heal;
but now, what about death?-that was the great test to his faith, as
also of the power of Jesus. "Be not afraid, only believe," was the
word. Faith in Christ will remove the fear of death for us as well as
for him.

Death was but a sleep to Jesus, yet the professional mourners mocked
Him in their unbelief. So He removed them, and in the presence of the
parents and those of His disciples who were with Him, He restored the
child to life. Thus for the third time in this chapter is deliverance
brought to one who is beyond all human hope.

But the beginning of verse 43 is in sharp contrast to verses 19 and 33. There is to be no testimony this
time; accounted for, we suppose, by the contemptuous unbelief that had
just been manifested. At the same time there was the most careful
consideration for the needs of the child in the way of food, just as
there had been for the spiritual need of Jairus a little before. He
thought both of her body and of his faith.