This reading is Mark 5.
From the end of chapter 4 through chapter 5 Jesus displays his awesome powers over nature (calming the waves), evil spirits, sickness and even death. Among other things, He was proving his nature as God and the expected Messiah.
The man was possessed by many demons. Some Bible critics claim that when the Bible mentions demon possession it was really epilepsy or some other disease. While people have often attributed mental and physical illnesses to the wrong source, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t guide the Bible writers to pass along an old wives’ tale. And in this case, Jesus wouldn’t put epilepsy in the pigs and have them run over a cliff. And even if it was epilepsy, it was a pretty big deal for Jesus to cure it!
Jesus often told people he healed not to tell anyone, as that would gain the wrong kind of publicity for him. Yet this man was a Gentile (non-Jew) in a non-Jewish area. He told the man to tell his family how much the Lord has done for him, and how he had mercy on him. One of our jobs as Christians is to tell others what the Lord has done in our lives. We don’t have to know everything about Jesus and the Bible, but we do have our story to tell and we can point them to other sources if we can’t answer their questions. Also see, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” for how to respond when you aren’t sure of the answers.
I always wondered why Jesus answered the demons’ request to be put into the pigs. Perhaps it was to show how the local people were more concerned about their pigs than about the healed man and the power that Jesus has.
Note that the demons recognized Jesus as the Son of God. Just because someone knows about Jesus doesn’t mean they have trusted in him for their salvation. As James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
The woman had great faith and was healed by merely touching Jesus’ garment. Jesus often asked questions He already knew the answer to. He knew who had touched him and why. Imagine the woman’s plight: Sick for twelve years, getting worse and now poor because she spent all she had on doctors. And due to Old Testament laws, she could not have fully participated in worship for twelve years. Yet Jesus healed her in an instant.
Jesus showed his power over death when he brought Jairus’ twelve year old girl back to life. I don’t know if there is any symbolism to the woman having a disease for 12 years and the girl being 12. I can’t imagine the grief of losing a child or the joy of having one brought back.
Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.
The next reading is Mark 6.