Mark 5



1 “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country

of the Gadarenes.”  And they came to the other side of the sea. The other side

of the sea would be the southeast side of the sea. Into the country of the Gadarenes,

or rather, Gerasenes, which is now generally admitted to be the true reading, from

Gerasa, Gersa, or Kersa. There was another Gerasa, situated at some distance from

the sea, on the borders of Arabia Petraea. The ruins of the Gerasa, here referred to,

have been recently discovered by Dr. Thomson, ('The Land and the Book').

Immediately over this spot is a lofty mountain, in which are ancient tombs; and

from this mountain there is an almost perpendicular declivity, literally (κρημνός

kraemnossteep place) corresponding accurately to what is required by the

description in the narrative of the miracle. Dr. Farrar ('Life of Christ') says

that in the days of Eusebius and Jerome, tradition pointed to a "steep place" near

"Gerasa" as the scene of the miracle. The foot of this steep is washed by the

waters of the lake, which are at once very deep.


2 “And when He was come out of the ship, immediately there met Him out

of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among

the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:  4 Because that

he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been

plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any

man tame him.  5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in

the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.”  There met Him out of the

tombs a man with an unclean spirit. Matthew says that there were two. Luke, like

Mark, mentions only one, and him “possessed with devils,” The one mentioned by

Mark was no doubt the more prominent and fierce of the two. This does not mean

merely a person with a disordered intellect. No doubt, in this case, as in that of insanity,

physical causes may have helped to lay the victim open to such an incursion; and this

may account for cases of possession being enumerated with various sicknesses, though

distinguished from them. But our Lord evidently deals with these persons, not as

persons suffering from insanity, but as the subjects of an alien spiritual power,

external to themselves. He addresses the unclean spirit through the man that was

possessed, and says, “Come forth thou unclean spirit” (v 8).  “There met Him out

of the tombs” -  The Jews did not have their burial-places in their cities, lest they

should be defiled; therefore they buried their dead without the gates in the fields or

mountains. Their sepulchres were frequently hewn out of the rock in the sides of the

limestone hills, and they were lofty and spacious; so that the living could enter them,

as into a vault. So this demoniac dwelt in the tombs, because the unclean spirit drove

him thither, where the associations of the place would accord with his malady and

aggravate its symptoms. Matthew, speaking of the two, says that they were

“exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass that way.” (Matthew 9:28)  The

demoniac particularly mentioned by Mark is described as having been possessed

of that extraordinary muscular strength which maniacs so often put forth; so that all

efforts to bind and restrain him had proved ineffectual. No man could any more bind

him, no, not with a chain (οὐδὲ ἁλύσει - oude haluseinot even to chains). Chains

and fetters had often been tried, but in vain.  Frequently too, in the paroxysms of

his malady, he would turn his violence against himself, crying out, and cutting

himself with stones.


6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped Him”

When he saw Jesus from afar.  These words, “from afar,” explain the fact

of our Lord being immediately met by the man as soon as He left the boat.  Vs. 3-5

inclusive must be regarded as parenthetical.  They describe the ordinary condition

of the demoniac, and his sad wild life from day to day. From the high ground which he

frequented he had seen the boat, in which Jesus was, nearing the shore. He had seen

the other boats. Perhaps he had seen the sudden rise of the storm and its equally

sudden suppression; and he, like others who witnessed it, was affected by it. So he

hastened to the shore.  He ran and worshipped him.  He felt the power of His

presence, and so he was constrained through fear to do Him reverence, for “the

devils also believe and shudder (φρίσσουσιphrissousiare shuddering;

tremble)”- (James 2:19).




The Demoniac of Gadara (vs. 2-6)


This is the most detailed and important account given in the Gospels of

demoniacal possession. Some are content to identify this phenomenon with

lunacy or epilepsy, and suppose that our Lord used current phraseology

upon the subject, although it expressed a popular delusion. We are slow to

accept an explanation which would seem to credit Him, who was always

true, and Himself “the Truth,” with thus sanctioning error; especially as He

used the same language when He was alone with His disciples, to whom He

said it was “given to know the mysteries of the kingdom” (ch. 9:28-29).

On the other hand,” possession “was not identical with moral degradation.

The idea that Mary Magdalene was one of peculiarly evil life, because

“out of her the Lord cast seven demons” (Luke 8:2), is untenable; and there

is little doubt that Caiaphas, who was shrewd, callous, and self-controlled to

the last, was morally worse than such sufferers. Yet a weak yielding to

animal passions was possibly the primary cause of possession by evil

spirits, in whose existence we cannot but believe. Good was incarnate in

those days, and evil also appeared as in a special sense incarnate. Buckle

shows that there have been ebb and flow in the currents of national history;

and so there have been in moral history, and in the days of our Lord

spiritual forces were at the flood.  (As it will be in the Last Days –

I Timothy 4:1 - CY – 2019)  The more we study the works and the

Word of God, the more we are convinced that the inexplicable is not to

reverently thoughtful men incredible or absurd. We enter on the study of

this scene not with the hope of clearing up all mystery, but with the prayer

that we may gain from it some spiritual help. Depicted as it is in strong,

dark colors, it may enable us to understand the nature of Christ’s work in

the soul. We see here:


  • A MAN UNDER BONDAGE TO EVIL. The expression an “unclean”

spirit, and the strange willingness to enter “the swine,” denote the nature of

the man. By the indulgence of appetite, habit had conquered will, and he

had no mastery over himself. That is the essence of “possession.” Modern

forms of it are not difficult to find. Describe the drunkard in his downward

progress. At last, although he knows that ruin is before him, if temptation

is in his way, his resolutions go to the winds. He is fascinated, or

possessed.” So with the gambler and others. The condition of the

demoniac resembled theirs.


Ø      Domestic comfort was gone;

Ø      the respect of others was lost;

Ø      life was laid waste.


He could see fingers pointing at him,  eyes glaring on him, hell yawning f

or him, and his foes seemed coming on him resistlessly as the advance of

the dreaded Roman “legion.” Notice also the deranging effects of evil!

He was “dwelling in the tombs” — a dreary, fearsome place, in harmony

with his melancholy state. “All they that hate me, love death.” (Proverbs

8:36)  The prodigal must “come to himself” (Luke 15:17) before he returns

to the Father. As this demoniac cut himself with stones, caring nothing for

pain, so some destroy their moral sensibility; as he was a cause of misery or

of terror, so is it with them; as he dreaded the near approach of a Judge he

could not deceive, of a King he could not escape, so do they. BEWARE





without those who loved him. They had done their best to restrain or cure

him. As they saw the growth of the evil, his parents would try to make the

home attractive, inviting companions who would divert his thought; sisters

would give up their innocent pleasure to fall in with his wishes; and when

the outburst came, he was “bound with fetters and chains,” lest he should

harm himself or others. All in vain. Human restraint will never conquer

moral evil. It represses it or alters its form, but does not root it out. The

disorder and restlessness now seen in society portend serious issues, and

indicate a breaking down of much in our boasted civilization. Education

only changes Bill Sykes (the main antagonist of Oliver Twist), the burglar,

into Carker, the smooth, lying in villain.  We may restrain dishonesty,

drunkenness, swearing, etc., so that they are no longer in respectable homes;

but though we shut our eyes to the fact, the demoniac has only slipped his

chains, and is there in “the tombs” and dens of our land. Parental restraint

does much, but a time comes when independence and self-assertion make

themselves felt, and the father or mother can only pray. Speak to those

who still remember the old home in which they were so different from what

they are now.  (This is why it is so important to “Train up a child in the

way he should go and when  he is old he will not depart from it.” 

(Proverbs 22:6)


  • A MAN MEETING HIS SAVIOUR. With his morbidly quickened

sensibility he knew who Jesus was, and had a presentiment of what was

coming. His abject prostration, coupled with his daring misuse of the

sacred name, indicate the distraction and disorder characterizing him.

Christ dealt with him wisely, firmly, lovingly. He asked, “What is thy

name?” He tried to summon the man’s better self, to bring about a

severance in his thought between himself and the evil; He gave him time to

think what need he had of help, and what hope and possibility there was of

it. Then to the demons came the decisive word, “Go!” and in a short time

he was to be seen “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right

mind.” In each of us the dominion of sin must be broken, AND CHRIST

ONLY CAN BREAK IT!   Appeal to those who have long been under the

dominion of sin, not to despair of themselves, on the ground that Christ

does not despair of them. It was when his friends had given up this

demoniac as hopeless that his redemption came. So, when self-reform

has proved useless (Luke 11:24-26) and benefactors fail, and friends

lose heart, He proves “able to save to the uttermost.” (Hebrews 11:25)

Dealing pitifully with the sinner, He deals ruthlessly with his sin, and

will hurl it into the depths of the sea.  (See Micah 7:19)


7  “And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus,

thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment

me not.” He cried with a loud voice - that is, the evil spirit cried out, using the organs

of the man whom he possessed. “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the

Most High God?”   From hence it appears that, although at the great temptation of

our Lord in the wilderness, Satan had but an imperfect knowledge of Him: yet now,

after the evidence of these great miracles, and more especially of His power over the

evil spirits, there was a general belief amongst the hosts of evil that He was indeed

the Son of God, the Messiah. “I adjure thee by God, torment me not.” The

torment which he dreaded was that which he might suffer after expulsion.  So Luke

says that they entreated him that he would not command them to depart into the

abyss. (Luke 8:31)  Great as this mystery of evil is, we may believe that the evil

spirits, although while they roam about upon this earth they are in misery, still it

is some alleviation that they are not yet shut up in the prison-house of hell, but

are suffered to wander about and their depraved pleasure in tempting men; so that,

if possible, they may at last drag them down with them into the abyss. For they are

 full of hatred of God and envy of man; and they find a miserable satisfaction in

endeavoring to keep men out of those heavenly mansions from which, through pride,

they are themselves now for ever excluded.  (I recommend The Spirit World - a

book by Clarence Larkin – can be found in Second Baptist Library – it can also

be bought on the internet  - CY – 2009)


8 “For He said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

And He asked him, 9 What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name

is Legion: for we are many.”  For He said unto him, Come forth, thou unclean

spirit, out of the man; literally, for he was saying - ἔλεγενelegen. The unclean

spirit endeavored to arrest, before it was spoken, that word of power which he

knew he must obey. So in what follows, He was asking him (ἐπηρώταepaerota

He inquired of),  What is thy name? Why does our Lord ask this question? Clearly

to elicit from him an answer that would reveal the multitude of the evil spirits,

and so make His own power over them to be fully known. And  he saith unto Him,

My name is Legion; for we are many. The Roman legion consisted of six thousand

soldiers. But the word is here used indefinitely for a large number. Luke so explains

it where he says (Luke 8:30), “And he said, Legion: for many devils were entered into

him.” This revelation is designed to teach us how great is the number as well as the

malignity of the evil spirits. If one human being can be possessed by so many, how

vast must be the host of those who are permitted to have access to the souls of men,

and if possible lead them to destruction! Satan here imitates Him who is “The Lord

of hosts.” He too marshals his hosts, that he may fight against God and His people.

But “for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the

works of the devil.”  (I John 3:8)


10 And he besought Him much that He would not send them away out

of the country” It would appear as though this evil spirit felt (speaking in the

name of the other evil spirits) that if they were driven out from their present

dwelling-places, their condition would be changed for the worse; and that until

the time should come when they were to be cast into the abyss, their best relief was

to possess some materialism, to occupy flesh and blood, and that flesh and blood

tenanted by a spiritual being, through whom they might torment others. They could

find no rest, no relief, but in this. “The unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the

man, passeth through waterless places, seeking rest, and findeth it not”

(Matthew 12:43-45). Even the swine were better than nothing; but that dwelling

did not serve the evil spirits long.


Satanic Possession is a Destruction of Personal Identity


11 “Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.”

Now there was there nigh unto the mountains — literally, on the mountain side

(πρὸς τὰ ὅρηpros ta oraetoward the mountains) — A great herd of swine

feeding.  Matthew says (Matthew 8:30), “There was a good way off from them:”

our Lord’s interview with the demoniac was on the seashore. “The herd of swine,”

two thousand in number (as Mark tells us (v. 13), with his usual attention to details),

were at a distance, feeding on the slopes of the mountain; The Jews were not allowed

to eat swine’s flesh. But Jews were not the only inhabitants of that district. It had

been colonized, at least in part, by the Romans immediately after the conquest of

Syria, some sixty years before Christ. It was in this district that ten cities are said

to have been rebuilt by the Romans, whence the territory acquired the name of

“the Decapolis.” And though the Jews were forbidden their Law to eat this kind

of food, yet they were not forbidden to breed swine for other uses, such as

provisioning the Roman army.


12 “And all the devils besought Him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we

may enter into them.  13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean

spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down

a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked

in the sea.”  Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.  And .... He gave

them leave.”  They could not enter even into the swine without Christ’s permission;

how much less into “the sheep of His pasture”!  The unclean spirits came out,

and entered into the swine:  and the herd ran violently down a steep place

(κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ - kata tou kramnoudown the precipice) — literally,

down the steep into the sea,... and were choked in the sea.  By this Christ

shows of how little worth are earthly possessions when set in the balance with

the souls of men. (This is for PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals –

CY – 2019)  The recovery of this demoniac was worth far more than the value

of the two thousand swine.


14 “And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country.

And they went out to see what it was that was done.”  And they that fed them fled,

and told it in the city, and in the country.”Matthew mentions only the city.  Mark’s

narrative is more full. No doubt many of these swine-herders lived in the country

districts; and so the fame of the miracle was spread far and wide. The swine-herders

would take care that the owners should understand that it was through no fault or

carelessness on their part that the swine had perished; but that the destruction was

caused by A POWER over which they had NO CONTROL!  And they i.e.

the owners — came to see what it was that had come to pass.  Their first care

was to see the extent of their loss; and this was soon revealed to them. They must

have seen the carcasses of the swine floating hither and thither in the now calm

and tranquil sea; and when they had thus satisfied themselves as to the facts,

They came to Jesus. Mark here uses the historic present, “they come to

Jesus,” that they might behold Him of whom these great things were told,

as well as the man out of whom the evil spirits had gone when they entered into

the swine. They were, of course, concerned to know the magnitude of their loss,

and the mode in which it had happened, that they might see whether there were

any means by which it might be made up to them.  (There was actually people

THEN, AS NOW who cared more for animals than a human being.  There is

to be A JUDGMENT which will sort this out and God has given assurance to

all men that it will be so – See Acts 17:31 – CY – 2019)


15 “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil,

and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were

afraid.” And they come to Jesus, and behold him that was possessed with devils

sitting, clothed and in his right mind, even him that had the legion; and they

were afraid.  Luke adds that they found him sitting at the feet of Jesus. It is likely

enough that the man, as soon as he found himself dispossessed, had cast himself at

the feet of Jesus, and was worshipping Him; but that, when bidden by Christ to sit,

he chose to place himself at His feet. “He was clothed, and in his right mind.”

What a contrast to the previous description! “And they were afraid.” They dreaded

Christ’s power. (You think so in this world!  What about the next?  See Revelation

6:12-17 – CY – 2019)  They saw that HE WAS ALMIGHTY but they did not seek to

know His love, and so to attain to that love which casteth out fear.” (I John 4:18)


16 “And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with

the devil, and also concerning the swine.  17 And they began to pray him to

depart out of their coasts.”  How it befell him that was possessed with devils,

and concerning the swine.  The loss of the swine, they could not get over that.

They thought far more of the worldly loss than of the spiritual gain and they

began to beseech Him to depart from their borders -  Luke (Luke 8:37) says that

they were  taken (συνείχοντοsuneichontothey were pressed) [literally, were

holden] with great fear.” This was the dominant feeling. They did not entreat Him

to depart out of humility, as though they felt themselves unworthy of His presence;

but out of servile, slavish fear, lest His continued presence among them might

bring upon them still greater losses.


18 “And when He was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the

devil prayed Him that he might be with Him.  19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him

not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things

the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.  20 And he

departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done

for him: and all men did marvel.”  And as He was entering into the boat,

he that had been possessed with devils besought Him that he might be with Him.

It was natural that he should desire this. He would be grateful and it would be

soothing to him to be near to Christ, from whom he had received so great a benefit

and yet hoped for more. And He suffered him not, but saith unto him; Go to thy

house unto thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee. 

Our Lord here takes a different course from what He so often took. He saw, no doubt,

that this restored demoniac was fitted for missionary work; and there was no reason

to apprehend any inconvenience to Himself in consequence from a people who

wished to get rid of Him.  (Contrast the attitude of the ACLU and their leadership

role in this very similar circumstance!  Is Christ’s reaction any different? - CY –

2009; 2019; ten years later, I ask the same question, but with more fervency!)

And he went his way, and began to publish in Decapolis -  in

Decapolis, i.e. through the whole district of the ten cities  - how great

things Jesus had done for him. This would bring him into contact alike with

Gentiles and with Jews; and so this dispossessed demoniac became a missionary to

both Jew and Gentile. Here he planted the standard of the cross.



Prayers Granted and Denied

     (vs. 10, 12-13, 17- 19)


No caprice visible in our Lord’s decisions. On the contrary, great moral

principles are revealed. The whole conduct of Christ on this occasion,

therefore, is of importance for the practical guidance of Christians.


  • THE PETITION OF THE DEMONIAC. (v. 10.) “He besought Him

much that He would not send them away out of the country.” No heed is

paid to this request, notwithstanding its passionate earnestness. Why?


Ø      The man himself was not praying. He was depersonalized and besotted

by the possession of the devils, and not responsible for his words or

actions. It was to free him from this thraldom Christ had undertaken his



Ø      It would have neutralized the intended mercy to the man to inflict the

evil upon others.


Ø      There was no real submission in the real petitioners. They were still

devils, unchanged in their character, and desirous of working further

mischief. Powerless, they still desired to do evil.


  • THE REQUEST OF THE DEVILS. (vs. 12-13.) This was granted,

notwithstanding the character of those who made it. A marvel, truly; devils

heard and answered by Christ! Is He in league with them?


Ø      It was a choice of a lesser of two evils. It seemed necessary that some

visible form should receive the dispossessed spirits, that all, especially

the man himself (compare on the probable principle of cure, the

preceding sketch), might be able to realize that the dispossession had

actually taken place. As simply dispossessed, they might have taken

up their abode in some other soul; but by giving direction to them

after dispossession, they were confined to brutes; and the catastrophe

that resulted was probably foreseen by Christ. In the destruction of

the swine the demons were dismissed speedily right out of the

terrestrial sphere.


Ø      And in that destruction a punishment was inflicted upon the Gadarenes,

who as yet were sordid, neglectful of the Law (forbidding the rearing of

swine), and unspiritual.


  • THE ENTREATY OF THE GADARENES. (vs. 17-18.) It was at

once answered, Because:


Ø      It involved a deliberate and intelligent rejection of the Saviour. They

had seen His wondrous moral triumph and the destruction of the swine;

but in their estimate the material loss far outweighed the spiritual gain.


Ø      There were others elsewhere who were waiting for Him.


Ø      The healed demoniac might be even more effectual as a preacher than

Himself. He was a lasting monument of His power and grace. Time

Might be needed to let the miracle sink into the popular conscience.



natural desire under the circumstances. Fear lest the devils should return if

he were left to himself, and gratitude and love for his Benefactor, doubtless

actuated him. But he is denied! This must have wounded his feelings, and

disappointed him. But:


Ø      It was not prudent for Christ at that time to have one so closely

identified with devils in His company and occupied in His service. The

charge had been made(ch. 3:22) that He was in league with Satan.


Ø      It was not the best life for him to lead in his present condition. Privation

and excitement were not suited to one who had been emaciated and

weakened by the devils.


Ø      A work of greater use and personal obligation awaited him where he

was. He was the only disciple of Christ in that benighted land. Those

who had been scandalized by his previous life, and had suffered from it,

were to be first considered. The home that had been desolated was to be

revisited, and cheered by the kindly presence and saving influence

of the redeemed one.



                                                The Lord of Spirits (vs. 1-20) 



There was for Christ, during His earthly ministry, no escape from personal toil —

from the claims made upon His benevolence by human misery, or from man’s

ingratitude. He crossed the lake to seek repose, but at once, on landing, was

met by a case of the utmost wretchedness and need, demanding the exercise

of His compassionate authority. His stay was brief, yet long enough to earn

the thanks and the devotion of one poor liberated captive, and long enough to

qualify and to commission that healed one for a sacred ministry of benevolence.




Ø      That state is attributable to possession by an evil power. This does

      not, indeed, affect man’s responsibility, but it affirms the action of            

      supernatural agency. Sinners “have fallen into the snare of the

      devil.”  (II Timothy 2:26)


Ø      The signs of that state are many and distressing. Like the demoniac,

      the sinner is injurious to himself, is harmful to others, and consequently

      is unfit for society.


Ø      A picture is here painted of the sinner’s hopeless condition. As the

                        demoniac’s possession was manifold (“we are legion”), was

                        prolonged, and was so severe that all human efforts had failed to

                        bring relief, so was the condition of the heathen world when the

                        Saviour came to earthen condition so debased and so confirmed in its                                

                        misery that to the human eye no dawn-streak of hope was visible. And

                        the heart, abandoned to the control of evil, is in a state for which no                                  

                        human relief or help is available.


  • THE SINNER’S MIGHTY SAVIOUR. A greater contrast than that between

      the wretched and raving maniac and the calm and holy Jesus it would not be         

      possible to imagine.  Yet the two came together. Divine authority and

      compassion encountered human sin, foulness, and degradation, and the

      demon             was exorcised and the sufferer made whole.


Ø      Observe the Divine authority of the Lord is acknowledged.   It is

      certainly remarkable that from the mouth of the demoniac should come

      the confession that Jesus is “the Son of the Most High God.” This

      Christ is; and, were He not this, His approach would bring no comfort

      to the sinner’s heart.


Ø      In addition to this verbal acknowledgment, we observe an actual

                        submission to and experience of Christ’s power. “The unclean

                        spirit came out.” Jesus is “mighty to save.” As during His ministry,

                        so wherever the gospel is preached, the power of Christ is proved in

                        actual experience.  However formidable the foe may be, Jesus is the                                  





Ø      There is complete deliverance from the tyranny of former enemies.

                        A great and spiritual transformation which brings the soul into a

                        new and better life.


Ø      Sanity is a consequence of our Lord’s interposition. “When he came

      to himself”  (Luke 15:17) is the description of the change which took        

      place in the repenting prodigal son. Only he who turns to God can be

      truly said to be “in his right mind.”


Ø      Tranquility is a natural sign of a spiritual restoration. The Saviour is

      the Prince of Peace, and the gospel is a gospel of peace, and peace is

      a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22)  True religion calms agitation,

      stills the tempests of the soul, and brings harmony to human life.



      conduct of the healed demoniac is an emblem of the consecrated testimony

      of the ransomed soul to the great Deliverer.


Ø      It is prompted by grateful affection — A affection that would fain

      abide in the valued society of the Redeemer.

Ø      It is appointed and authorized by the Lord Himself: “Go to thy house,”

Ø      It is borne especially to those nearest and dearest: “thy friends.”

Ø      It consists of personal experience: “how great things the Lord hath

      done for thee.

Ø      It excites interest and wonder. Such testimony from such a witness

                        cannot be without effect. The saved lead others to the same Saviour

                        whose virtue they have themselves experienced.




Legion (vs. 1-20)


General question of demon-possession. An aggravated form of Satanic

influence. Intelligible enough on the principle of provocation and

desperation: light and darkness are strongest side by side. The advent of

Christ roused to intense activity and excitement of the whole demoniacal

realm. In this scene there is exemplified —


  • MORAL ANTAGONISM. (vs. 2, 6.)


Ø      Instinctive. Spontaneous; prescient; yet furnishing no intelligible reason.

“An intensified spiritual presentiment” (Lange).


Ø      Weakness of the demoniac shown by:


o       Excitement.

o       Self-contradiction. Attraction and repulsion alternating.

o       Use of borrowed weapons.


The exorcism, doubtless so often uttered over him by magicians and

ecclesiastics, is all the lore he seems to possess in the way of religion.


Ø      Strength of Christ proved by calmness and self-possession, and resolute

pursuit of His object.


Ø      Utter and absolute. “What have I to do with thee?… Torment me not.”


  • MORAL ASCENDANCY (vs. 9-13.)


Ø      Instant exercise of authority. Calm, self-possessed, and fearless. He had

already discerned and measured His opponent, and decided as to how He

would deal with him.


Ø      Spiritual insight and skill. The great Physician had made diagnosis of his

case. Mental surgery was needed, based upon the most profound truths of

psychology. The man had to be discriminated and freed from the indwelling

demon. The former had little or no sense of his own personal identity. A

Roman legion had probably been quartered near, and when he saw their

number and power he felt that they somewhat resembled that which had

quartered itself within his own nature. With maniacal vanity he readily

adopted the title, “Legion.” Pride and wretchedness were probably both

involved in the retention of the name; it represented the dominant principle

in his confused consciousness. Christ asked him, “What is thy name?” that

he might rouse him to a sense of personal identity: a wise measure.



  • MORAL DECISION. (vs. 14-20.) The Gadarenes had to make up

their minds with respect to the great Stranger.


Ø      The data. (vs. 14-16.) Material and moral stood forth in

opposition, as in so many other instances. How was their relative

importance to be estimated?


Ø      The decision. A unanimous petition for Him to depart. How could such

men be expected to judge otherwise? They had grand ideas of Christ, but

of the wrong sort.


Ø      The response. Instant departure. He took them at their word. “They

believed not on Him,” and acting upon their unbelief urged their request.

The conflict of anger and fear, fawning and obstinacy. A word was enough;

nay, a wish, even unexpressed, has often secured the same result. Not the

storm, not the evil repute of the people, not even the horror of the

demoniac, could deter Him from coming; but a word sent Him away! How

careful should men be in their attitude to the heavenly Visitant! He went,

but not without having, in the person of the restored maniac, a monument

of His saving power and grace. Every region and every heart has its witness

to the same.




A Man with an Unclean Spirit (vs. 1-20)


It is no part of the office of the homilist to enter upon the field of

apologetics or exegesis. Criticism and interpretation provide the words

with their definite meanings. Homiletics unfold and apply practical lessons.

The difficulties of this narrative must, therefore, be discussed elsewhere.


  • Our attention is first arrested by the physical derangement exhibited in

this case of possession by “an unclean spirit.” The sadness of this spectacle

is amply exhibited in the words of vs. 2-5. The overpowering of the

entire personality of the victim by “an unclean spirit” points to a fearful

possibility of the human life. Does sin open the door to the spirit of evil?

The man was under the power of an unclean spirit, was led to do unclean

acts. He dwelt remote from his fellows, “in the tombs.” He was possessed

of unusual physical strength; he could not be bound, “no, not with a chain.”

“No man had strength to bind him.” This unusual power was exercised in

crying out and cutting himself with stones.” Whatever the precise nature

of this affliction, the scene exhibits the human life in its uttermost



  • On the moral side the attitude of the unclean spirit towards Jesus is

expressed as one of utter repudiation: “What have I to do with thee, Jesus,

the Son of the Most High God?” They had nothing in common. What can

the spirit of evil have to do with Jesus? They mutually recede; they are

mutually opposed. These appear before us as representing two kingdoms,

wholly diverse in character.


Ø      The one is a kingdom of evil and uncleanness;

            the other a kingdom of peace and righteousness.


Ø      In the one the human life is disorganized;

      in the other it attains its true dignity, harmony, and blessedness.


Ø      The one is for it a kingdom of darkness;

      the other a kingdom of light.


Ø      In the one is death;

      life is found in the other.


They have nothing in common; they are mutually exclusive, mutually



  • The supreme authority of Jesus, “Son of the Most High God,” in the

sphere of the human life is again illustrated, as also His attitude towards all

human suffering. “With authority He commands,” “Come forth, thou

unclean spirit, out of the man,” and in pitifulness he releases the oppressed.

Thus is fulfilled that “which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying,

Himself took our infirmities, and bare our diseases.” (Matthew 8:17;

Isaiah 53:4)  Elsewhere is this more amply illustrated.


  • The changed condition of the life when Jesus has exerted upon it His

power, and evicted the spirit of uncleanness, is simply and beautifully

portrayed in the picture presented to the eyes of the multitude who “came

to see what it was that had come to pass,” and beheld “him that was

possessed with devils sitting, clothed, and in his right mind.” With

affectionate gratitude he now cleaves to Jesus, beseeching “Him that he

might be with Him.” The refusal was not in harsh judgment against the

redemed one, but for the instruction and profit of all others — that he may

go and “publish how great things Jesus had done for him.” Out of this

incident let the central words, “What have I to do with thee?” be chosen as

a test by which each may prove his nearness to Jesus or his recession from

him. At one extreme lies this word of utter rejection — the word of Satanic

repudiation; at the other, words which express the most complete

absorption of the life in devotion to Him — “ For me to live is Christ.”

(Philippians 1:21)  This declares the perfect identification of the individual

life with the person, the mission, the spirit of Jesus. The one affirms,

“I know no life within the sphere of Christ’s kingdom;” the other,

“I know no life beyond it. His name defines the boundary of my aims, my

activities, my hopes. I am lost, buried, absorbed in Him; to all things else

I die.”  How many are the gradations between these extremes! Let each test

himself as to the attitude he assumes towards Jesus.


1. As to a supreme submission to His authority as “the Son of the Most

    High God.”


2. As to a calm and loving reliance upon him as “Jesus,” the “Saviour,

    which is Christ the Lord.”


3. As to a sincere alliance with Him in the work of raising men from the

    dominion of evil — casting out the spirit of all foulness from the human



4. As to a perfect fellowship with Christ in the communion of sympathy

    and love.




Christ, the Redeemer of the Intellect (vs. 1-20)



Bondage, impotent violence, suicidal mania. We cannot make out a theory

of the facts; the facts are certain, and sad enough in this as in that age.

There may be a duplicity in the consciousness of man, so that the being is

threatened with a rending asunder. There is a certain reflection of this

duplicity in all of us.



crises when we dread the presence of the power of good; it means a sharp

struggle at hand in the depths of the soul for our very life. Men will

sometimes endure the present misery rather than undergo the pain which is

to cure it. But the surgeon is no cruel tormentor; nor is the faithful teacher

of the truth to be feared, but loved.


  • THE BLESSING OF A SOUND MIND. (“For God hath not given to us

      the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind!”

      (II Timothy 1:7) It may be lost; thank God it may be recovered. As there are

      parasites which prey upon the lower forms of animal and vegetable life, so

      there are ideas which may possess the imagination and confound the whole

      conscious life of the soul. Nowhere do we find the hope of salvation in all

      its senses, from physical and moral maladies, and those inscrutable to science,

      so clearly held out as in the gospel.


  • THE DIVINE POWER AND PITY. “Tell thy friends how much the

Lord has done for thee, and that He pitied thee.” Power and pity FUSED

IN LOVE; this is the soul of the world, the principle of its redemption. It has

infused its strong enchantment into nature, and healing is ever open to us if

we will yield to its influence on our being.




Gadarene or Gergesene Demoniacs (vs. 1-20)

           Parallel passages: Matthew 8:28-34; Luke 8:26-40.




Ø      The district. The country called Gilead in the Old Testament, at a later

period and in the New Testament goes by the name of Peraea. It was south

of Bashan, and formed a sort of peninsula, bounded by the Yarmuck

(anciently Hieromax) on the north, Arnon (now Wady el Mojeb) on the

south, and Jordan on the east. The part of Gilead between the Yarmuck

and Jabbok at present Wady Zurka, is now Jebel Ajlun; while the section

south of the Jabbok is the Belka. In this region was a district called

Decapolis, from the fact of its being studded over with ten cities, all,

except Scythopolis, east of the Jordan. Of these cities one was Gadara,

identified with the ruins of Urn Keis, the capital of Peraea; while Gergesa

was the name of a little town, identified with the present Kerza, on the

Wady Semakh, opposite Magdala. Either the territory adjacent was named

after one or other of these towns, or St. Mark and St. Luke give a general

indication of the district that was the scene of the miracle, when they call it

the country of the Gadarenes; while St. Matthew gives the exact name,

when he places it in the country of the Gergesenes. Dr. Thomson, in ‘The

land and the Book,’ says, “The city itself where it was wrought was

evidently on the shore..... And in this Gersa, or Chersa, we have a position

which fulfils every requirement of the narratives, and with a name so near

that in Matthew as to be in itself a strong corroboration of the truth of this

identification. It is within a few rods of the shore, and an immense

mountain rises directly above it, in which are ancient tombs, out of some of

which the two men possessed of the devils may have issued to meet Jesus.

The lake is so near the base of the mountain, that the swine, rushing madly

down it, could not stop, but would be hurried on into the water and

drowned. ..Take your stand a little south of this Chersa. A great herd of

swine, we will suppose, is feeding on this mountain that towers above it.

They are seized with a sudden panic, rush madly down the almost

perpendicular declivity, those behind tumbling over and thrusting forward

those before; and, as there is neither time nor space to recover on the

narrow shelf between the base and the lake, they are crowded headlong

into the water and perish.” (I would like to liken this unto humanity wildly

following Satan to their doom as described in The Sermon on the Mount –

Jesus said  “Enter ye in at the strait gate:  for wide is the gate, and broad

is the way that leadeth unto destruction, and many there be that go in

thereat.” (Matthew 7:13 – CY – 2019)   The name Gergesa has led to the

supposition that the Girgashites, one of the seven Canaanitish nations,

originally occupied this territory. Be this as it may, the district was pleasantly

situated east and southeast of the Sea of Galilee, and the towns of Gadara and

Gergesa were flourishing. The former was much the larger, and, according

to Josephus, was rich — he says, “Many of the citizens of Gadara were

rich men “ — while that of Gergesa was of considerable importance.


Ø      A sad contrast. We cannot forbear noticing, as we pass, how much

wretchedness may exist at the same time and in the same place with

material wealth and mercantile prosperity, and amid all the beauties of

natural scenery. This world itself all through is a strange mixture of:


o        mercy and of wrath;

o        the beautiful and the terrible;

o        plenty and of poverty;

o        sorrow and of joy;

o        sunshine and of shower.


                        (I recommend Psalm ch. 18 v. 16 – Spurgeon Sermon – Divine Interpositions 

#1266a this website – CY – 2019 – ctrl and click on above)


No April day was ever more variable. Here, in the country of the Gadarenes,

with its well-to-do and wealthy inhabitants, and their profitable herds of swine,

were two wretched creatures in extreme misery, both mental and bodily.

While others bought and sold and got gain, these creatures were a terror

to themselves and all around. While others occupied comfortable dwellings,

these unfortunates tenanted sepulchral caverns which abounded in the

district, and of which, as we have seen, some remain to the present day.

While others were decently clad, or even gorgeously attired, these

miserable individuals refused the decency of raiment. While others went

at large, enjoying the sweets of life and that liberty which makes life sweet,

these demoniacs had to be bound with chains and fetters (πέδαιςpedais

equivalent to shackles for the feet, and ἁλύσεσιalusesi - equivalent to

chains in general).


Ø      The number accounted for. Matthew mentions two; Mark and Luke

      speak of one. How are we to explain this? The one mentioned by two

of the evangelists was fiercer than his fellow; he was wilder and worse than

the other. Or perhaps he had belonged to a higher class in society, and had

moved in a better rank of life; or perhaps his position had been in some

respect more prominent, whether owing to wealth, or profession, or

education; and so the calamity that had befallen him was more

conspicuous, and he himself better known. Something of this sort seems

hinted at by Luke, when he speaks of the demoniac who met Jesus, as

“a certain man out of the city. (Luke 8:27)  At all events, from any or

all these causes Luke separates his case from the other, and singles him

out from his comrade in affliction.


Ø      A distinct feature added by each evangelist. Matthew tells us that

they made the way impassable for traveler’s;   Luke, that he was without

clothing; and Mark, in the passage specially under consideration, that

he cried night and day, and cut himself with stones. Matthew’s narrative

of this case is somewhat meager, Luke’s fuller, and Mark’s more

circumstantial than either.


Ø      The period in particular of demoniac possession. That demoniac

possession was distinct from disease, or lunacy, or epilepsy, is sufficiently

evident from a single Scripture, namely, Matthew 4:24, where we read

that they “brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers

diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and

those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and He healed

them.” If asked why demoniac possession so manifested itself at the time of

our Lord’s appearance on earth, and not before, nor at least in the same

way since? we must simply reply, in addition to what we have formerly said

on this subject, that we can no more tell this than we can tell why smallpox

manifested itself as a terrible scourge to our race at a certain time, and

not sooner; or why cholera ravaged Europe at a certain period since the

beginning of this century, and not before; or why that fearful plague, which

the Greek historian has described with such graphic power and thrilling

effect, never visited them till the time of the Peloponnesian war, and has

never returned again, as far as history informs us, to renew its work of

desolation there. But, though Scripture does not explicitly specify the

cause, we can readily suppose a reason which has the appearance at least

of probability. That reason we have already alluded to as found in Satan’s

well-authenticated powers of imitation, and we shall only subjoin in this

place a few additional circumstances to confirm its probability. In early

times, when the Lord afflicted Egypt with His plagues, and His servants,

Moses and Aaron, wrought miracles in the field of Zoan, Satan had his

servants there also, and Jannes and Jambres (II Timothy 3:8) either

possessed or pretended the power to work miracles too, counterfeiting or

counteracting to the utmost of their capacity those of Moses and Aaron. From

time to time, in the subsequent history of Israel, the Lord raised up prophets to

instruct and forewarn the people; but who can be ignorant of the fact that Satan

at times employed his prophets — false prophets to beguile and mislead?

When our Saviour was on earth He warned His disciples that false Christs

would arise and deceive many. Satan raised them up, and so history

confirmed the statement. In like manner, when the Lord Jesus Christ had

taken to Himself a true body and a soul — when the Word was

made flesh, and dwelt among men Satan, by himself or by his servants,

took possession of the bodies of men, cruelly torturing their flesh and

agonizing their spirit. Nor are we prepared to say that demoniac possession

has altogether ceased. We have seen men so act, and heard men so speak,

and have been informed of such fiendish atrocity on their part, that we                                                                                                                                                                         

could account for their violent and outrageous conduct, or for their

mischievous and diabolical acts, or for their horrid and blasphemous

expressions, in no other way than that some demon, or the devil himself,

had been permitted to take temporary possession of them.





Ø      His madness. When we compare and combine the account given of this

poor demoniac by Mark and Luke, as also the brief notice of both

demoniacs by Matthew, we have a most affecting picture. He had lost

his senses and become exceeding fierce, so that no man could tame him,

and no man could in safety pass that way. To the folly of the lunatic he had

added the furiousness of the madman. Reason had reeled and left the helm;

the once goodly ship had lost compass and chart and helmsman; it was

drifting along, the sport of furious winds and stormy waves.


Ø      His wretchedness. This wretched man had not lost life, it is true, but all

that could make life desirable, or render it happy. Unclothed, uncared for,

he had fallen back into the condition of savage life, and to some extent had

sunk lower than the brute. Houseless and homeless, he led a vagrant life —

now a dweller in the mountains, now a tenant of the tombs. His agony of

mind was fearful. When not attacking others he acted the part of a self-

tormentor.  His cries waked the echoes of the mountains, or made the

gloom of the sepulcher more dreadful. But cries were insufficient to vent

the deep anguish of his spirit. He cut himself with stones, and, by making

gashes in his body, sought to transfer his suffering from the mind to the

body, or at least divide it between them. All this had lasted for years, as it

would appear from the statement, “he had devils long time.” Neither had

he known much of respite or aught of relaxation; “always night and day”

this sorrowful and suffering condition continued; no lucid interval that we

read of; no pleasant period of relief, however short, that we know of. At

times, moreover, he was deprived of his liberty. (A condition that modern

libertines should ponder!  CY – 2019) This had frequently occurred. “He had

often been bound with fetters and chains,” until, by a sort of superhuman

power, he plucked them asunder or broke them in pieces.


Ø      The lessons to be learned from all this. There are two lessons to be learned

from this part of the subject.


o        The first lesson we may learn from it is the condition of the sinner, and


o        the second is the hostility of Satan.


Confirming attention to the first, while we have examined the condition of the

demoniac as a fact — a stern fact, and a sad one — we cannot help

thinking that it furnishes us at the same time with a figure of what the

sinner more or less is. He may, indeed, have the use of all his faculties, both

of mind and body; nevertheless, he is a fool. “The fool hath said in his

heart, There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)  He is beside himself; for we read of

the prodigal, on his repentance and return to his father’s house, that “he came to

himself.”  (Luke 15:17)  Was ever folly greater than that of the man who prefers

the trifles of time to the realities of eternity; who day by day barters the

salvation of the soul for some gratification of sense; who, amid all the

uncertainty of life, braves the danger of delay;


I met with a striking sentence in the works of William Mason which is well worthy

to be written among your memoranda: “Every day of delay leaves a day more to

repent of, and a day less to repent in.”  What if this day shall be the last I live;

shall it be spent in refusing to hear the word of my Maker? Shall my last breath

be spent in rejecting my Savior? God forbid! I see that I am bound as His creature

to obey Him, and as His sinful creature to seek pardon of Him; help me, therefore,

blessed Spirit, to attend to these things THIS DAY WITHOUT DELAY!


who, not withstanding the shortness of time, neglects from one season of

opportunity to another, from one period of existence to another, the things

that belong to his peace? (Luke 19:42)  What madness can equal his who

treats all these things as though they were cunningly devised fables;

who turns his back on God and His Word, on the sabbath and the

sanctuary, on prayer and praise; who trifles with the great things of


vain fancy that a few tears, or prayers, or sighs on the bed of death will

reverse all the past, make amends for A LIFE OF SIN and serve as a

passport to heaven? That man is a demoniac in very fact, whom Satan

so possesses, so leads captive at his will, and whose eyes he so blinds,

that, though Providence is speaking with many a solemn voice; though

his own frailty is pleading with him in the silence of his chamber

(as mine is, but I thank God for a different reason – CY – 2019),  and during

the night-watches; though mortality in sundry ways forces itself on his

attention (Christ satisfies me in the night-watches because He has brought

LIFE AND IMMORTALITY TO LIGHT!  (II Timothy 1:10 – CY – 2019)

though conscience is upbraiding, until it becomes so seared that it upbraids

no longer (the conscience is seared with a hot iron – I Timothy 4:2); though

the Spirit of grace is striving, as he has been striving long; though the Saviour

with outstretched arms is saying, “Come, come and welcome,” “Come unto me,

all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew

11:28); though the eternal Father is waiting to embrace the returning penitent,

and swearing, “As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked;”

(Ezekiel 33:11) yet that sinner, in spite of all, keeps running along the

downward way to hell, plunging deeper and deeper into wretchedness,

rushing upon ruin, and rushing at the same time against the thick bosses

of Jehovah’s buckler.


o        If you exhort him, he is sullen;

o        if you remonstrate with him, he is offended;

o        if you reprove him, he is outrageous;

o        if you speak plainly, yet affectionately, it may be he returns a

      surly answer,


proving himself to be what Scripture describes, as “such a son of Belial,

that a man cannot speak to him.”  (I Samuel 25:17)  What

though he is neither naked, nor houseless, nor dwelling among the tombs,

nor bound with fetters! Are not the fetters of sin the worst that ever bound

any man? “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now

ashamed? for the end of those things is death.” (Romans 6:21)  Has not a

course of iniquity clothed thousands in rags, yea, left them without anything

like decent clothes at all? Has not drunkenness, or lewdness, or idleness left

hundreds without either house or home? Does not willful waste make woeful

want? Who can ever forget the story of the prodigal, when “he would fain have

filled his belly with the husks which the swine did eat,” when “no man gave

unto him,” and when he said, “I perish with hunger”?  (Luke 15:16-17)

Has not the devil’s service brought many a man to his tomb, humanly

speaking, before his time? for the wicked do not live half their days.

(Psalm 55:23)  We need not speak of the misery which the sinner feels



o        the iron enters into his soul,

o        the bitter regret,

o        the unavailing remorse,

o        the terrors of conscience,

o        the second death, and

o        the smoke of their torment ascending up for ever and ever.





Ø      The great change. “The unclean spirits went out;” or, as Luke

expresses it, “Then went the devils out of the man.” Here was a practical

exemplification of the Saviour entering into the strong man’s house and

spoiling his goods. The strong man was expelled by One stronger than

himself. His terrible hold was loosened, his power paralyzed, captivity led

captive, and the prey taken from the mighty. It is thus with every one who

has been rescued from the grasp of Satan, who has been “snatched as a

brand out of the burning” (Zechariah 3:2), who has been convinced of sin

and its attendant miseries and everlasting wretchedness, who has been

enlightened with the knowledge of the grace and mercy of the Saviour,

whose will has been renewed by the Spirit of God, and who has thus

been made willing in the day of Divine power. (Psalm 110:3)  Oh that

the time may soon come, when in every land, and through all parts of

the habitable globe, God in His great mercy shall open the blind eyes,

and smite the fetters off the gyved limbs, and emancipate the oppressed

of Satan, setting the captives for ever free!


Ø      Evidences of the change. People were curious to see the mighty miracle

that had been wrought, and came to Jesus to see the strange sight about

which, no doubt, they had heard much. And, arriving at the place, they “see

him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting. Ah!

there is a change, and clear evidence of it. What a subject for a painting!

The madman is come to his right mind; the maniac is tamed; reason, that

godlike faculty, is restored; his fierceness is subdued. The anguish of his

spirit has subsided; his wild cries have ceased; his self-inflicted bodily pains

— those shocking wounds — are healed. People talk of the man who

could tame the most savage horses, and hold them for a time as if spellbound;

they speak of menagerie-men who can tame lions and conquer

bears; they laud the poet’s comic humor in his piece entitled ‘The Taming

of the Shrew;’ but the taming of shrew, or lion, or bear, or horse is nothing

compared with the taming of this demoniac man, or of any other man

whose fierce passions have been let loose, whose soul and body have been

subjected to Satan’s sway, and whoso wicked and wayward career has

been marked with as bad, if not worse, than demoniac madness. There he

sits! as though the lion had become a lamb; as though the tiger had

forgotten his fury, and laid aside his fierceness; as though the bear had

changed its nature, and become a mild domestic creature — an emblem of

that better day when all men shall become such, and a foreshadow of that

coming time which the prophet describes so beautifully, when “the wolf

also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;

and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together.”  (Isaiah 11:6)


Ø      His posture a proof of docility. There he sits, with the docility of the

child and the guileless simplicity of the Christian. There he sits, as Saul did

in the days of his youth, an apt scholar at the feet of Gamaliel. Rather,

there he sits, as Mary, at the feet of the same Saviour who bestowed on her

the high encomium, “One thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen the good

part, that shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)  There he sits,

with thoughtful countenance and attentive mind, and listening ear, to drink in

every word that falls from the Saviour’s lips. There he sits, humbly at the

Saviour’s feet, while his eye rests placidly on that Saviour’s face, as though

he said, “Lord, how I love thee for all thy grace to me! Lord, what wilt thou

have me to do, that I may express that warm love which glows in my breast,

and exhibit the effects of that wondrous grace?” It is thus with every converted

sinner. We sit at Jesus’ feet, and whether He speaks Himself to us in His

Word, or by His servants who preach to us from that Word, or by His Spirit

who applies that Word, it is all the same. Willingly we will lose no lesson,

we will miss no opportunity, we will neglect no means of grace, where we

expect that Jesus will manifest Himself to our souls and talk to us by the

way, opening to us the Scriptures. The whole of the hundred and

nineteenth psalm is a commentary on this teachableness of spirit, and

willingness to sit at the Master’s feet; vs. 33-40 inclusive may be

specially read in this connection. Down to old age we will sit at the

Saviour’s feet, in order to learn of Him. like Simeon, like Anna, like the

picture of the righteous set before us in Psalm 92:12, “The righteous

shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in

Lebanon.” Now, who are they, and where are they, that flourish so?

“Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts

of our God.” (ibid. v. 13)  And when and why do they flourish so? “They

shall still bring forth fruit in old age,” and “to show that the Lord is upright.”

(ibid. vs. 14-15)  We are bound to make all due allowance for the decay of

nature and such weakness as is incident to the decline of life; but it is

distressing to find at times the aged magnifying their infirmities as an excuse

for absenting themselves from the house of God; worse still, perhaps, when

they stay away without pretending any excuse. It is one of the worst signs;

for none that ever truly followed the Lord in youth or in maturity ever forsook

Him in old age. We remember well seeing a very old man, much above ninety

years of age, helped into his pew in church every sabbath; and there was

the patriarchal man leaning on his staff, as he sat at Jesus’ feet, a devout

and venerable and earnest worshipper. Even when age may have blunted

the faculties and dulled the hearing, it is still our duty to forsake not the

assembling of ourselves with the people of God.  (Hebrews 10:25) 

We knew the case of a deaf man who, though he could not hear a word

preached, came regularly to church, because, as he said, he could see to

read the psalms and lessons and other parts of the service, and in any case

could help the attendance by his presence and example.


Ø      His place of safety was there. This demoniac sat at Jesus’ feet for

safety. May we suppose that he had heard of the man, of whom we read in

the parallel passage of another Gospel (Luke 11:24-26), from whom the

unclean spirit, having gone out, came back again with seven other spirits more

wicked than himself, and entered in and dwelt there, so that “the last state

of that man was worse than the first”? At all events, he felt that there was

no safety but in nearness to Christ; and this is the proper sentiment for

every follower and friend of Jesus to entertain. When Peter followed Christ

afar off, Peter fell. Nearness to Christ is safety, separation or distance from

him is insecurity and danger. We need:


o        His grace, for by it we stand;

o        His strength, for by it we are fortified against temptation;

o        His blood, for by it we are cleansed, and we need a fresh

     application of it daily;

o        His sacrifice, it is the ground of our acceptance, and we must

      look to it always;

o        His example, it must be our daily pattern;

o        His faith, “the life which we now live in the flesh we must live

      by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself

      for us;”  (Galatians 2:20)

o        His person,Christ in you, the hope of glory;”  (Colossians 1:27)

o        His presence, it is our comfort, for He has said, “I will never leave

      thee nor forsake thee;”  (Hebrews 13:5)

o        His protection, that, where Satan would sift us as wheat, He

            may intercede for us, that our faith fail not;

o        His love, to keep up the flame, that would otherwise burn low

      or go out altogether.


Ø      His clothing evidence of restored sanity. He was sitting as a scholar at

Jesus’ feet, as also for safety, as we have seen; he was clothed, and in his

right mind, the former being, as well as his sitting, evidence of the latter.

We dislike and disapprove of those naked figures which we see in books

and paintings and statues; of whatever use they may be to the anatomist or

painter or statuary, they are, we think, unsuitable to Christian refinement

and inconsistent with Christian purity. (Written two centuries ago, I

wonder what they would think of HBO and prime time television today?

CY – 2019) Their usefulness to people in general is questionable. The

passions of fallen humanity are bad enough of themselves, and in their

own nature, without exciting them. The demoniac cured by our Lord is

clothed; the sinner converted to Christ is clothed likewise. When brought

to the foot of the cross, and seated at the feet of Jesus, he is clothed. He

has on the “fine linen, clean and white,” which is“the righteousness of

saints.” (Revelation 19:8)  He is “found in Christ, not having on his own

righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is by the faith of Christ,

the righteousness of God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)  He has obeyed the

precept, accepted the advice, feeling the benefit of the counsel, “I counsel thee

to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment,

that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not

appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

(Revelation 3:18)  A practical question is here suggested. Do you, Reader,

possess that robe? It is put on by the hand of faith. Have you that precious

faith? If not — if you have not already “good hope through grace,” pray

for that faith. Do not be ashamed or afraid to do so. Do not neglect or delay

to ask it. Ask the Holy Spirit to work faith in your heart, and so unite you to

Christ, for “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (II Corinthians

5:17) and God gives His Holy Spirit to them thatask Him.


Ø      Restoration to reason. His mind is right about sin, as “that abominable

thing which God hates,” and hurtful to man as hateful to God; right about

Satan, “as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8);

“ a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44); right about the Saviour,

as the chief among ten thousand” and “altogether lovely”  (Song of

Solomon 5:10,16); and right about holiness, as the way of happiness

and the way to heaven.





Ø      The greatness of that power. The possession of this demoniac was

something singularly shocking. It was not one demon, but many, that had

made him their prey. “My name,” he said, is legion: for we are many.”

The name is a latin name, and denotes a levying or enlisting, then, a body

of troops so levied. The full complement of a Roman legion was six

thousand infantry, and a squadron of three hundred cavalry. Each legion

was divided into ten cohorts; each cohort into three maniples; and each

maniple into two centuries. Then again, when arrayed in order of battle,

there were three lines — Principes, Hastati, and Triari! What a formidable

host! How powerful, and how numerous! The host and the hostility, the

multitude and the enmity, the strength and the skill thus conveyed by the

name here applied to the demons which had had possession of this man, are

fearful to contemplate. Yet the power of Christ expelled them, mighty,

multitudinous, and malicious though they were. It was the power of Christ

that did it all. Demons owned that power. They had faith in Him, but not of

the right sort; “they believed, and trembled.” (James 2:19)  So here they

feared He was coming to judge them and consign them to torment before

the time. Jesus has the self-same power still; “He is able to save to the

uttermost all that come unto God by Him.”  (James 2:19)


Ø      The miserable home of those demons. They would rather go anywhere

than go home. They trembled at the power of Christ, while they dreaded

the torments He will one day inflict. They would rather enter into swine,

rather go into the sea, rather go into the worst and filthiest spot of earth,

than go back into the deep abyss of hell. It was not the abyss of earth or

the abyss of ocean, but the abysmal depth of that unfathomed pit of hell,

which they so much dreaded. And oh! are sinners not afraid of rushing with

eyes open into that dreadful, deep abyss?


Ø      Their fiendish malice. Now that they are cast out, and can no longer

destroy their victim, they are actuated by demon-like malevolence, and try

to keep others from the Saviour by causing the loss of their swine. In this

way they seek to prejudice and even enrage them against the Saviour. They

seem to have succeeded, for the Gadarenes “began to pray him to depart

out of their coasts.”


Ø      The sufferings of the brute creation. Why, it may naturally enough be

asked, are poor dumb animals subjected to sufferings? Or how is it possible

that the demons could exert any influence of the kind stated upon them? In

reply to the latter question, it may be sufficient to mention the influence

which man exerts upon animals such as the dog, the horse, the elephant, in

the way of training and teaching. If animals are thus receptive of human

influence, why-should they not be receptive of other and, in some respects,

more powerful influence? Why should they not be accessible to, and

receptive of, demoniac influence, as well as that of men? The other

question stands on different ground. The lower animals, placed under

man’s control at the first, and granted to man for useful service, share to

some extent in man’s varying fortunes, and are entitled to humane and

kind treatment at the hands of man; but that they suffered in consequence

of man’s fall and sin is, we think, unquestionable. Their position now is

abnormal just as man’s own position is abnormal, for does not “the whole

creation groan and travail in pain together until now”? (Romans 8:22)

Besides, they often suffer, in common with man, in special disasters —

such as conflagrations, shipwrecks, and catastrophes of similar kinds.


Ø      A mixture of mercy and judgment. While mercy was shown to the

demoniac in his miraculous cure, judgment was inflicted on the owners of

the swine for their sin. Jesus performed the act of mercy, and permitted the

exercise of the other. The demons could not have moved an inch without

His permission. This side of the miracle was judgment, and well deserved.

Who were these Gadarenes or Gergesenes? Were they Gentiles or were

they Jews? If the former — if Gentiles, they were tempting their Jewish

neighbors, and they had no right to do that. If they were Jews, they were

breaking the law of God, and they could not long expect to prosper, and to

continue doing that. If they were Jewish proprietors, who employed

Gentile swineherds for the purpose of tending and herding their swine, they

were both sinning themselves and tempting others to sin; and so both

partook of the result and shared the consequences of their crime. Here,

too, we must notice the hardening effect of sin long persevered in. These

Gadarenes, whatever their nationality, whether Jew or Gentile, had become

like swine themselves — swinish in spirit and disposition. They actually

preferred their swine to the Saviour, and “besought Him to depart out of

their coasts!"




Desire and Duty (vs. 18-20)


There was wonderful variety in the methods of treatment adopted by our

Lord in dealing with those who surrounded Him. He touched the eyes of

the blind; He gave His hand to those prostrate by illness or stricken with

death; He sometimes spoke the word of healing first, and sometimes the

word of pardon, always suiting Himself to the special condition of each,

according to His perfect knowledge of his deepest need. The same

completeness of knowledge and of consideration reveals itself in His

relations with those who had been blessed, and were now among His

followers. Some were urged to follow Him, others were discouraged by a

presentation of difficulties. A beautiful example of this is given by Luke

(Luke 9:57-62), in his account of those who spoke to our Lord just

before He crossed the lake. The same gracious consideration of what was

really best for one of His followers is seen here. And His disciples now do

not all require the same treatment, nor have they all the same work to do

or the same sphere to fill.


  • THE CONVERT’S DESIRE. (v. 18.) “When Jesus was come into the

ship,” or, more correctly (Revised Version), “as He was entering into the

boat,” the delivered demoniac prayed that he might be with Him. It was a

natural desire, and a right one, although all the motives which prompted it

were possibly not worthy. As in us, so in him, there was a mingling of the

noble with the ignoble. let us see what actuated him.


Ø      Admiration. No wonder that he sat at the feet of this Mighty One, and

gazed upon Him with adoring love. Angels bow before Him; the redeemed

cast their crowns at His feet. Reverence and awe are too rarely felt now.

Proud self-sufficiency characterizes the civilized world, and even the

professedly Christian Church. It is well to know, but it is better to adore.

Consciousness of ignorance and weakness, in the presence of God, leads to

worship. let reverence characterize our search into the Divine Word, our

utterances in God’s name, our approaches to His throne.  (And “Let us

therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain

mercy, and find help in time of need.”   Hebrews 4:16 – CY – 2019)


Ø      Gratitude. Having received salvation, this man longed to prove his

thankfulness, and he naturally thought that an opportunity would be found,

while following Jesus, to defend His reputation or to do Him some lowly

service. Under the old economy many thank-offerings were presented. The

firstfruits of the fields and flocks were offered to the Lord, and any special

blessing received from Him called forth special acknowledgment. Show

how thank-offerings have dieD out of the Church, and how they might be

profitably revived. Point out various modes of showing thankfulness to



Ø      Self-distrust. Near the Deliverer he was safe, but might there not be

some relapse when He was gone? A right feeling on his part and on ours.

See the teaching of our Lord in John 15 on the necessity of the branch

abiding in the vine.


Ø      Fear. The people were greatly excited. They had begged Christ to go

out of their coasts, lest He should destroy more of their possessions. It was

not improbable that they would wreak their vengeance on a man whose

deliverance had been the cause of their loss. They did not believe, as Christ

did, that it was better that any lower creatures should perish if only one

human soul was rescued. But this is in harmony with all God’s works, in

which the less is being constantly destroyed for the preservation and

sustenance of the greater. The luxuriant growth of the fields is cut down

that the cattle may live; myriads of creatures in the air and in the sea are

devoured by those higher in the scale of creation than themselves; living

creatures are slain that we may be fed and clothed. In harmony with all this,

the destruction of the swine was the accompaniment of, or the shadow cast

by, the redemption of the man. And high above all these mysteries rises the

cross of Calvary, on which THE HIGHEST LIFE WAS GIVEN FOR A

SACRIFICE for the sins of the world. In this event we can see glimpses

of Divine righteousness and pity; but these people of Gadara shut their

eyes to them, and were angry at their loss. Amongst them this man must

“endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”  (II Timothy 2:3)


  • THE CONVERT’S DUTY (v. 19)


Ø      His work was to begin at home. “Go home to thy friends.” His presence

there would be a constant sermon. In the truest sense he was “a living

epistle.” Sane instead of mad, holy instead of unclean, gentle instead of

raving; he was “a new creation.”  (II Corinthians 5:17)  All true work for

God should commence in the home. Self-control and self-sacrifice,

gentleness and patience, purity and truth, in the domestic circle — will

make the home a temple of God.


Ø      His work was to be found among old acquaintances. Some had scorned

him, others had hated and perhaps ill-treated him. But resentment was to

be conquered in him by God’s grace, and to those who knew him at his

worst he was now to speak for Christ. Such witness-bearing is the most

difficult, but the most effective. John the Baptist told the penitents around

him, whether publicans or soldiers, to go back to their old spheres, and

prove repentance by changed life and spirit amid the old temptations.


Ø      His work was to be quiet and unostentatious (not showy). Perhaps Christ saw

      that publicity would injure him spiritually, for it does injure some; or it may

      be that the excitement involved in following the Lord would be unsafe for him

so soon after his restoration. For some reason He had assigned to him a

quiet work, which was not the less true and effective. Luke says that he

was to show “how great things God had done for him,” as if the witness-

bearing was to be in living rather than in talking. There are quiet

spheres in which many can still serve God.


Ø      His work was to spread and grow. The home was too small a sphere for

such gratitude as his. He published the fame of the Lord in “all Decapolis.”

This was not wrong, or forbidden, for there were not the reasons for

restraint of testimony in Peraea which existed in Galilee. It was a natural

and legitimate enlargement of commission. Similarly the apostles were to

preach to all nations, but to begin in Jerusalem. He who is faithful with a

few things is made ruler over many things (Matthew 25:23), sometimes on

earth, and invariably in heaven.


21 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much

people gathered unto him: and He was nigh unto the sea.”  Jesus now crosses over

the sea again, and apparently in the same boat, to the other side, the opposite shore,

near to Capernaum.  Matthew (Matthew 4:13) distinctly tells us that He had left

Nazareth, and was now dwelling at Capernaum, thus fulfilling the ancient prophecy

with regard to Zebulun and Nephthalim.  (Isaiah 9:1-2)  The circumstances under

which He quitted Nazareth are given by Luke (Luke 4:16-31). Matthew

(Matthew 9:1) calls Capernaum His own city. Thus as Christ ennobled Bethlehem

by His birth, Nazareth by His education, and Jerusalem by His death, so He

honored Capernaum by making it His ordinary residence, and the focus, so to

speak, of His preaching and miracles. When Jesus returned, a great multitude

was gathered unto Him; and He was by the sea.    Luke says that the people

welcomed Him, for they were waiting for Him.  Again He placed Himself

by the sea, probably for the conveniences of addressing a multitude, and of

relieving Himself of the pressure, as before, by taking refuge in a boat.




The Rejection and the Reception of Jesus  (vs. 17, 21)


Our text presents us with a striking contrast. Only a few miles of sea separated these

people physically, but morally what a gulf was between them.  On both sides of the

lake Christ’s words had been heard, and His works of power had been seen, but how

different were the results! If He had been like us, variable in temper and disposition —

at one time moody, at another genial — we might more easily account for this. For

the dispositions of sinful men are like the lake of Galilee — now raging in a storm,

and now calm and still under the smiling heavens. But there was no such

variableness in the Perfect Man. He was not cheery when the palm

branches were waved on Olivet, and angry when His disciples forsook Him

and fled. He was not one thing in Gadara, and another in Capernaum. “He

is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”  (Hebrews 13:8) We must look

elsewhere to account for this phenomenon, and we shall find its causes to be

those which sever so widely in character and destiny, two hearers who sit in the

same church, or two children who kneel beside the same mother’s knee.



HIMSELF. His relations to those around Him were not simple, but

complex. We may be great in one aspect of our character, but He was great

in every aspect.


Ø      He appeared as a Teacher. In the synagogue, on the beach, amidst the

crowd, He uttered Divine truth, and expected on the part of His hearers

humble and obedient minds. He assumed that He knew what they did not

know, respecting the nature of God, the meaning of the old dispensation,

the phenomena of life, the coming future, etc. He adduced no arguments,

but demanded (as He still demands), on the ground of what He was and is,

the acceptation, or the rejection of His words. “He spake as one having

authority.” “This is my beloved Son; hear him.” The acceptance of

Christ as a Teacher implied much, because He taught no abstract theories,

but enunciated principles which would revolutionize the views held about

the Jewish economy, and would banish popular sins. Show what Christ

demands of disciples now, and the spirit in which we should receive



Ø      He appeared as a Saviour. Thought and action were blended

harmoniously in Christ, and should be blended in every Christian. The

Teacher of the people was the Healer of their bodies and the Purifier

of their souls. This complex work is entrusted to the Church. Christ

cured the demoniac, and restored sight to the blind, and health to the

leper, as signs of what He had come to effect for men.


Ø      He appeared as a Friend. He entered the homes of the people at

Capernaum and elsewhere, to cure illness in Peter’s house, to bless

children in another home, to share festivity in Cana, to weep with

mourners in Bethany. This friendship the disciples rejoiced in.

The presence of that Friend had delivered them in the storm.

As such He presents Himself at each heart, saying, “Behold,

I stand at the door and knock,” etc. (Revelation 3:20)



THE PEOPLE. This may be illustrated not only by the conduct of the

disciples and of the cured demoniac, but by contrasting the condition of the

people of Gadara with that of the people in Capernaum. This exemplifies:


Ø      The rejection of Christ. The most astounding miracle will not produce

faith in those who care more for their possessions than for purity and

love, such as Christ had imparted to the man who had the unclean spirit.

The loss of the swine first awakened terror, but shortly afterwards

indignation, amongst the people, who with mingled fawning and

obstinacy “began topray Him to depart out of their coasts.” He yielded

to their wish, and, so far as we know, never returned again. Similarly

He was rejected at Nazareth (Luke 4:29) and in Jerusalem (Matthew

23:37). In the instance before us the people feared the Holy One more

than they had feared the demoniac. Their greed was up in arms against

the destroyer of their swine; they cared more for them than for the

rescue of a fellow-man. Even now sometimes property is more jealously

defended than personal rights. Christ laid down the principle that a

man is better than a sheep (Matthew 12:12), and He expressed that

principle in His action at Gadara. Show how possessions and position

are preferred to simple obedience to our Lord’s will, so that from love

to the World He is still rejected.


Ø      The reception of Christ. A right royal welcome was awaiting Him on the

other side of the lake. There the people had seen changes wrought in their

homes by His power, and they had listened eagerly to His words of

wisdom and love. They could not go back to their work as if there were

no Christ who had come to save and comfort them. When He was gone,

they prayed that the little boat might again come over the sea; and when

the first glimpse of its sail was seen, the news spread swiftly far and wide.

Fishers left their nets, and ran to call their mates, saying, “Jesus is

coming!” old people tottered down to the sea because Jesus was coming;

women who were mourning over their dear ones thought with

thankfulness and love of His sympathy; and little children left their

games in the market-place in order to be made glad by His smile.

And still He comes amongst us in earnest words, in sacred song,

in holy thought, in solemn memories. Then fling open the door of

your heart, pour out the treasures of your love, wake up the songs

of praise, as you say, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”  (Revelation 22:20)


22 “And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by

name; and when he saw Him, he fell at His feet,  23 And besought Him greatly,

saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay

thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”  One of the

rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name.   He appears to have been one of

the “college of elders,” who administered the affairs of the synagogue. The name

Jairus, or “Ya-eiros,” is probably the Greek form of the Hebrew Jair, “he will

illuminate.” He fell at His feet, and besought Him greatly -  it is literally

(πίπτει .....καὶ παρεκάλειpiptei ...kai parekalei - he falleth at His feet, and

beseecheth Him).  We picture him to ourselves, making his way through the

crowd, and as he approached Jesus, kneeling down, and then bending his head

towards Him, until his forehead touched the ground. My little daughter is at the

point of death.  Matthew 9:18 says, is even now dead; Luke 8:42 says, she lay

a dying. The broken sentences of the father are very true to nature. All the

expressions point to the same conclusion, that she was in articulo mortis (in

the article of death). In each narrative the ruler is represented as asking that

Christ would hasten to his house. He had not reached the higher faith of the

Gentile centurion, “Speak the word only.” (Matthew 8:8-9)




The Faith of Jairus (v. 22)


Faith was the one thing which Christ demanded of every suppliant who

came to Him. He asked the blind man the question, Believest thou that I

am able to do this?”  (Matthew 9:28)  He said to the father of the lunatic child,

“All things are possible to him that believeth.”  (here, ch. 9:23)  Here He assured

the woman in the crowd who had been healed, “Thy faith hath saved thee;” (v. 34)

and to Jairus He said, “Be not afraid, only believe.” (v. 36)  All these are

exemplifications of the words, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

(Hebrews 11:6)  Faith is the hand which the soul stretches out to receive the

blessings of pardon, salvation, and peace. If two men have sinned, and are

both conscious of guilt, one may walk at liberty, while the other is burdened;

because, though he is grieved about his sin, and hates it, and therefore has truly

repented, the latter fails to believe the assurance, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.”

Similarly, in trouble a Christian may exhibit a serenity which fills onlookers with

wonder, not because his trouble is lighter or his sensibility less, but because

he has faith to believe that God is doing good through the trouble, or that

He will ultimately bring good out of it. This faith in Christ Jairus had,

though imperfectly, and his peace was in proportion to his trust.


  • JAIRUS’S FAITH WAS UNEXPECTED. He was “the ruler of the

synagogue;” in other words, he was the president of one of the synagogues

in Capernaum. It was his duty to superintend and direct its services, and to

preside over its college of elders. As a pastor and professor — to use

modem terms — he would have strong prejudices against a heretical

teacher, such as our Lord was esteemed to be. We all know how difficult it

is to go out of the usual course in any professional work; but although

those who were associated with Jairus were hostile to our Lord, he dared

to fall humbly at His feet. Sometimes the least hopeful, in human opinion,

are the most richly blessed by Divine favor. Those who have often been

taught and prayed for in our congregations may remain untouched, while

some poor waif who has drifted in from the sea of life may find rest in

Christ. Many shall come from the east and from the west. to sit down in

the kingdom, while those who are favored by circumstances and birth will

be shut out.  (Matthew 8:11-12)



with his little daughter who was ill, and for a time had been cut off from

ordinary duties and associations. We can picture him to ourselves sitting

beside her, with her little hand in his, while her eyes would often seek his

with filial love. She had heard of Christ (what child in Capernaum had

not?); possibly she had seen Him, and loved Him, as most of the children

did. And while she spoke to her father, when his heart was specially tender,

he could not but drink in thoughts of the love and power of Jesus, until,

daring the worst that his friends could say of him, he fell at Jesus’ feet.

Sometimes those who have been associated with Churches or Sunday

schools remain untouched by holy influence, until, having left their old

connections, they fall into sin and shame, and then, knowing not whither in

the world to turn, they look to Jesus. (I recommend Spurgeon sermon:

Isaiah 45 – Spurgeon Sermon – Life for a Look -  # 748 – this website –

CY – 2019)  Sometimes professing Christians feel that they are far from

God, and that even in their prayers He appears vague and unreal; till trouble

comes — illness assails one whose life is precious, and then they pray in an

agony of earnestness, as Jairus did, when he besought Jesus greatly, saying,

My little daughter lieth at the point of death.” (v. 23)  Faith often springs up

in the soil of trouble.



quickened when he saw Jesus rise up at once to follow him; but the crowd

would not let our Lord hasten, and the poor woman meanwhile stole her

blessing, and Christ delayed to speak with her and with others. Looking

towards his home with ever-growing anxiety, at last Jairus saw what he

dreaded seeing — a messenger, who said, “Thy daughter is dead: why

troublest thou the Master any further ?” But he had to learn that no one in

earnest was ever a “trouble” to the Lord; that when He seemed to be caring

for another He was really thinking of him, and preparing him to receive a

far greater blessing than any he had come to seek. Christ delayed that “the

trial of this man’s faith, being much more precious than that of gold that

perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found to God’s glory.”

(I Peter 1:7)  We often find that there is delay in the coming of answers to

prayer. We cry for light, and yet our way is dark, and we see not even the

next step. We ask for deliverance, but the disaster comes which overwhelms

us with distress. We entreat the Lord to spare some cherished life, but the

dear one is taken away. Nevertheless, “let patience have her perfect work,

that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  (James 1:4)



tested this tree till its roots struck deeper; but when there appeared some

risk of its falling, Christ said to the tempest, “Peace, be still.” When the

messengers said, “Thy daughter is dead” (v. 35), at once Jesus spoke; and

“as soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith,… Be not

afraid, only believe.” (v. 36)  Again, when Jairus entered his house, you can

imagine how the father’s heart sank as he saw the mourners for the dead

already there.  Till then he had been hoping against hope, as sometimes

we do till we actually, enter the darkened house where the dead one lies.

Again Jesus interposed, saying, “The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth

(v. 39); for so would He keep alive trust and hope till the blessing came,

for which they were the preparation. “He will not break the bruised reed,

nor quench the smoking flax.”  (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20)


24 “And Jesus went with him; and much people followed Him, and thronged

Him.”  And Jesus went (καὶ ἀπῆλθε μετ αὐτοῦ - kai apaelthe met autou - and He

went away with him) and a great multitude followed Him and they thronged Him

(συνέθλιβον αὐτόνsunethlibon auton they crowed Him;  pressed close upon

Him, compressed Him). This is mentioned purposely by Mark, on account of

what follows. Matthew says (Matthew 9:19), “And Jesus arose, and

so did his disciples.” Observe here the promptitude of Christ to assist the

afflicted. St. Chrysostom suggests that our Lord purposely interposed

some delay, by healing, as He went, the woman with the issue of blood, in

order that the actual death of the daughter of Jairus might take place; and

that so there might be full demonstration of His resurrection power.




The Lord Amongst the Needy (v.24)


The two miracles recorded in this passage were blended both in fact and in

narrative, and together they illustrate some of the beauties of our Lord’s

character and work. Of these we select the following:


  • HIS DISINTERESTED KINDNESS. No doubt His miracles were

attestations of Divine power, but none of them were wrought with the idea

of gaining personal fame. On the contrary, He endeavored to silence the

demands of gaping curiosity, and rebuked those who sought for signs and

wonders. He refused the worldly homage which the people proffered when

they wished to make Him a king. He checked the spread of His own fame,

lest men should care too much for material blessings, or should offer Him

the adulation a wonder-worker would have sought. If He had willed it, all

the riches of the world would have been poured at His feet; but He had not

where to lay His head; and although Jairus and others would have given all

their possessions as the price of the benefits they sought, Christ bestowed

the blessing without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55:1)  Herein He

appeared as the true Representative — “the express image” (Hebrews 1:3)

of Him who delights in mercy for mercy’s own sake. God gives air and sunshine

without any effort, or solicitation, or thanksgiving on the part of man. He makes

the garden of the cottager as fruitful as the fields of the rich, who can do so

much more in return for His gifts. Ferns grow in shady hollows, and flowers

adorn lonely cliffs, and even heaps of refuse. With a lavish hand the Creator

bestows His gifts. “He is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all His

works.”  (Psalm 145:9)



we are acquainted with many subjects, our knowledge of each is often

proportionately inaccurate; if we know many persons, our acquaintance

with them is but casual. If we concentrate our thought upon a person or a

thing, that concentration is often exclusive of other persons and things. It

was never thus with our Lord. Though He rules the worlds, there is not a

single prayer unheard, or a feeble touch of faith unfelt. One who has been

left alone to battle with his griefs may still say to himself, “But the Lord

cares for me.” He will no more hurry over a case than over that of the poor

woman in the crowd, nor will He allow any delay to prevent the full coming

of a blessing such as that which Jairus had at last.



temporal was to be the channel of the eternal. Healing of the soul often

accompanied His healing of the body, and for the former He chiefly cared.

On this occasion every moment was precious. The result of delay would be

death and mourning in Jairus’s home; yet He stayed not only to cure the

woman, but to get her acknowledgment, and to give her and others fuller

instruction. Had it been only her physical cure he sought, she could have

waited a few hours; but the delay was largely for the spiritual good of

Jairus. This ruler had not the faith of the centurion, who believed that

Christ need not touch his servant, or even enter his house. Jairus’s faith

needed strengthening, and it was with this end in view that he saw what He

did — a woman shut out from the synagogue of which he was ruler, who

was saved by her simple faith, and this with the greatest possible ease on

the part of the Lord. Hence it was that when the news came, “Thy

daughter is dead,” Jairus was not utterly dismayed, and under the influence

of the cheering words of our Lord his faith revived in purer form. It is still

true that delay in answer to prayer, during which grief and loss comes, is

meant to work in us the peaceable fruit of righteousness.



was not like some little stream which is confined between its two banks,

and must be so confined if it is to be a blessing; but it was like the sea,

which, when the tide rises, floods the whole shore, and fills every tiny

creek as well as every yawning bay. He was never so absorbed in one

mission as to neglect the side opportunities of life. Some of us have a

tendency to absorption in one single duty, and the temptation is strong in

proportion to the intensity and earnestness of our nature. But intenseness

must not be allowed to make us narrow. To set before ourselves a special

end is good, but this may lead to a neglect of other duties which is

unnecessary and sometimes sinful. For example, some concentrate their

interests in business or in pleasure, and declare that they have no time for

devout thought; and at last they will find that they have grasped shadows

and lost the substance. Christians fall into a similar error. Some do public

service, and their names are widely known in the Church, but they have

scarcely exercised any good influence at home. The Church benefits, but

the children are neglected. And often the opposite is true; for to many the

home is everything, and the Church is nothing. Others, again, are so

absorbed in one special work (that of the Sunday school, or temperance

reform, for example), that they have little sympathy for their brethren who

are engaged in other spheres of the manifold life of the Church. And there

are others more guilty by far than these, who are absorbed in future work.

They are always “going to do” this or that; but meanwhile their neighbors

are uninfluenced and their own children are neglected. As they are not

faithful with the few things, it would be contrary to God’s law if they

became rulers over many things. If our Lord had been animated by the

spirit displayed by any of these, He would have said to the woman, “My

errand is one of life and death; there must be no touching even the skirts of

my garment now. All else must wait till I have discharged this mission?

But, by the course He took, He taught us this lesson. There is nothing

within the range of our power that is beyond the range of our

responsibility. In all these respects Christ has left us an example, that we

should follow His steps.  (I Peter 2:21)



vs. 25-34 – The Incident with the Woman with the Issue of Blood


25 “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all

that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,”

A woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years.   All the synoptic

Gospels mention the length of time during which she had been

suffering. Eusebius records a tradition that she was a Gentile, a native

of Caesarea Philippi. This disease was a chronic hemorrhage, for which

she had found no relief from the physicians. Lightfoot, in his ‘Horae

Hebraicae,’ gives a list of the remedies applied in such cases, which seem

quite sufficient to account for Mark’s statement that she was nothing

bettered, but rather grew worse.   Luke, himself a physician, says that

she “had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed of

any.”  (Luke 8:43)


27 “When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched His

garment.  28 For she said, If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole.”

This woman, having heard of Jesus — literally (τὰ περί τοῦ Ἰησοῦ - ta peri tou

Iaesou - the things concerning Jesus; about the Jesus — came in the crowd

behind, and touched His garment -  Both Matthew and Luke say “the

border (τοῦ κρασπέδου tou kraspedouthe tassel) of His garment.”

Matthew 9:21 tells us that “ she said within herself, If I may but touch

His garment, I shall be whole.” From this it appears that, though she had faith,

it was an imperfect faith. She seems to have imagined that a certain magical

influence was within Christ and around Him. And the touching of the border of

His garment (the blue fringe which the Jews were required to wear, to remind

them that they were God’s people) was supposed by her to convey a special

virtue. Yet her faith, though imperfect, was true in its essence, and therefore

was not disappointed.


29 “And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in

her body that she was healed of that plague.”  And straightway — Mark’s

favorite word — the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt (ἔγνω

egno - she knew )— in her body that she was healed of her plague - 

(ὅτι ἴαται ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγοςhoti iatai apo taes mastigos -  that she

 hath been healed of her scourge). The cure was instantaneous!


30 “And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that virtue had gone out

of Him, turned Him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?”

The words in the Greek are ἐπιγνοὺς ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὴν ἐξ αὑτοῦ δύναμιν ἐξελθοῦσαν

epignous en heauto taen ex autou dunamin exelthousanrecognizing in Himself

the power coming out of Him: Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power

emanating from Him had gone forth, turned Him about in the crowd, and said,

Who touched my garments?  Christ sees the invisible grace in its hidden operations;

man only sees its effects, and not always these.


31 “And His disciples said unto Him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee,

and sayest thou, Who touched me?” Luke (Luke 8:45) adds here, “When all denied,

Peter said, and they that were with Him, Master, the multitudes press thee and crush

thee. But Jesus said, Some one did touch me; for I perceived that power had gone

forth from me.” This incident shows the mysterious connection between the spiritual

and the physical. The miraculous virtue or power which went forth from the Savior

was spiritual in its source and in the conditions on which it was imparted, but it

was physical in its operation; and that which brought the two together was faith.

Multitudes thronged the Saviour, but only one of the crowd touched Him.



The Touch of Faith (v. 31)


We may see in this poor woman what our Lord expects to see in all who

would receive His blessing.


  • THE TREMBLING SUPPLIANT. There are many legends respecting

her: that her name was Veronica; that she maintained the innocency of our

Lord before Pilate; that she wiped His face on the road to Calvary with a

napkin, which received the sacred impress of His features; that she erected

a memorial to Him at Paneas, her native town; etc. Improbable as much of

this may be, it indicates that her faith was highly esteemed by the early

Christians. The evangelists describe her as a certain woman who was worn

by suffering, haggard from poverty (v. 26), and ceremonially unclean, so

as to be excluded from the consolations of public worship. She stole into

the crowd, and by her touch of faith won the blessing she sought,


Ø      Illness brought her to Jesus. Most of those who came to him were

affflicted — the blind, the leprous, the bereaved, the hungry, etc. Every

sorrow is a summons to us to go to Him.


Ø      Faith prepared her for a blessing. Even material gifts are received by

the hand of faith. We all act in daily faith that the laws of God will continue

— the farmer, the tradesman, etc. When Christ wrought a miracle (which

was an epitome of one of God’s works) He demanded faith. “He could not

do many mighty works” where there was unbelief. (Matthew 13:58)  He

demanded trust in Himself, both of Jairus (v. 36), of this woman (v. 34),

and of us (Acts 16:31). If faith was truly exercised, erroneous views,

such as this woman had, did not prevent a blessing.


  • THE EFFECTUAL TOUCH. “The border of the garment,” to which

Luke with more definiteness refers, was a sign of belonging to the chosen

people (Numbers 15:38), and Christ blamed the Pharisees for making it

specially broad, as if they would assert their peculiar sanctity. The woman

touched it, not only as the most convenient, but as the most sacred, part of

the robe, and her superstition required to be cleansed away.


Ø      There may be close outward contact with Christ without the effectual

touch (v. 31). The crowd represents many who are in Christian lands and



Ø      There cannot be living contact between us and Him without His

knowledge (v. 30). Though there was only one in the crowd who so

touched Him as to win salvation, that one was not unrecognized. So, if in

the large congregation one earnest prayer, one praiseful song, is offered, it

is accepted of Him. The garment may represent to us our Lord’s humanity,

which is most within the reach of our understanding and love. St. Paul

speaks of his “flesh” as a “veil,” through which we pass into God’s

presence (Hebrews 10:20). Our Lord Himself says, in another figure which

sets forth the same truth, “Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the

angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” (John

1:51)  He was the true ladder between heaven and earth, between God

and man, of which Jacob once dreamed.


  • THE REQUIRED CONFESSION. To acknowledge the change

wrought in us by Divine grace is for God’s glory, for the development of

our own faith, and for the encouragement of others. We have

responsibilities to the Church as well as to the Lord, which even shame and

modesty must not lead us to ignore. Our Lord called for acknowledgment

on this occasion, and it led to fuller instruction and to a deeper peace. He

did not ask His question because He was ignorant, any more than Elisha did

after his heart had gone with Gehazi, or Jehovah did when He asked of

Adam, “Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9)  If we know which of our children

has done a certain act, we may nevertheless ask, “Which of you did this? “

and whether it has been a right act or a wrong, the confession on such

occasions is for the child’s own good. With truer wisdom than we ever

display Christ Jesus asked, “Who touched my clothes?” although He knew

perfectly the life of her whose faith in Him had made her whole; “For with

the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession

is made unto salvation.”  (Romans 10:10)


32 “And He looked round about to see her that had done this thing.”

He looked round about (περιεβλέπετο perieblepetoHe looked about) –

another favorite word of Mark – to see her that had done this thing.


33 “But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her,

came and fell down before Him, and told Him all the truth.”

 The woman fearing and trembling. Every word in this

verse is expressive. It was her own act. She seemed to herself as though

without permission she had stolen a blessing from Christ; and so she could

hardly venture to hope that the faith which had prompted her would be

accepted. Hence her fear and terror, and her free and full confession. We

thus see the gentleness of Christ in His dealings with us. Perhaps the

woman had intended to escape, satisfied with a temporal benefit, which

would hardly have been a blessing at all, if she had been suffered to carry it

away without acknowledgment. But this, her loving Savior would not

permit her to do. It was the crisis of her spiritual life. It was necessary that

all around should know of the gift which she had endeavored to snatch in

secret. Our Lord might have demanded from her this public confession of

her faith beforehand. But, in His mercy, He made the way easy to her. The

lesson, however, must not be forgotten, that it is not enough to believe

with the heart. The lips must do their part, and “with the mouth confession

must be made unto salvation.”  (Romans 10:10).


34 “And He said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in

peace, and be whole of thy plague.” Our Lord here reassures this trembling woman,

who feared, it may be, lest, because she had abstracted the blessing secretly, He

might punish her with a return of her malady. On the contrary, He confirms the

benefit, and bids her be whole of her plague. The Greek expression here is

stronger than that which is given as the rendering of what she had used

when we read that she said within herself, “I shall be saved (σωθήσομαι

sothaesomaiI shall be being saved” v. 28). Here our Lord says, Go in peace,

and be whole (ἴσθι ὑγιὴςisthi hugiaesbe you sound). It is as though He said,

“It is not the mere fringe of my garment, which you have touched with great faith,

and with some hope of obtaining a cure — it is not this that has cured you. You

owe your healing to my omnipotence and your faith. Your faith (itself my gift)

has delivered you from your issue of blood; and this deliverance I now confirm

and ratify.  ‘Go in peace.’” The original Greek here (ὕπαγε εἰς εἰρήνηνhupage

eis eiraenaenbe you going away in peace) implies more than this. It means

“Go for peace.” Pass into the realm, the element of peace, in which henceforth

thy life shall move. It is here obvious to remark that this malady represents to us

the ever-flowing bitter fountain of sin, for which no styptic (capable of causing

bleeding to stop when it is applied to a wound) treatment can be found in human

philosophy. The remedy is only to be found in Christ. To touch Christ’s garment

is to believe in His incarnation, whereby He has touched us, and so has enabled

us by faith to touch Him, and to receive His blessing of peace.



                                    Faith Conquering Timidity (vs. 25-34)


Far from withdrawing from scenes of distress and woe, our Lord Jesus was found

wherever human sin or misery invited His compassion and invoked His aid. On this

occasion He was passing towards the house of mourning, the chamber of death, and

on His way paused to pity and to heal a helpless, timid, trembling sufferer.



            the thronging multitude were persons of various circumstances, character,

            and wants. In all companies there are those who have spiritual ills which

            only Christ can heal, spiritual desires which only Christ can satisfy. Sin           

            and doubt, weakness, sorrow, and fear, helplessness and despondency, -

            these are to be found on every side. The case of this poor woman deserves

            special attention:


Ø      Her need was conscious and pitiable.


Ø      It was of long continuance: for twelve years had she suffered and had

                        obtained no relief.


Ø      Her case was beyond human skill and power. She had gone to many

                        physicians, had endured much in undergoing treatment, had expended

                        all her means, and yet, instead of being better, was worse than before.

                        And now apparently hope was taking flight, and the end seemed near.

                        An emblem this of many a sinner’s case  - conscious of sin and of a                                  

                        tyranny long endured, yet helpless and despairing of deliverance.



            TREMBLING FAITH, The graphic narrative of the evangelist is very

            suggestive as well as very impressive:


Ø      There was faith, in the woman’s coming to Christ at all. She might

      have questioned the possibility of His curing her. She might have

      fancied that, lost in the crowd, she should not gain His notice and help.


Ø      The faith, however, seems to have been imperfect. Something of

                        superstition probably impelled her to seize the hem or sacred fringe of

                        His garment, as though there were magic virtue in the bodily presence

                        of the Savior.


Ø      Yet the venture of faith overcame the natural shrinking and timidity

      she experienced. Doubt and diffidence would have kept her away;

      faith drew her near, and she stole to Him. It was the last resort; as

      it were, the dying grasp.


                                                “I have tried, and tried in vain,

                                                Many ways to ease my pain;

                                                Now all other hope is past,

                                                Only this is left at last:

                                                Here before thy cross I lie;

                                                Here I live or here I die.”


Ø      Faith led to personal contact, to the laying hold of the Redeemer.

      Jesus often healed with a touch, by the laying on of His hand; and

      here He acknowledged the grasp of trembling confidence. They that

      come to Jesus must come confessing their faults and needs, applying

      for His mercy, and laying hold upon Him with cordial faith.



      APPLICANT. The conduct of Christ has been recorded in detail, for the

      instruction and encouragement of all to whom the gospel comes.


Ø      Notice His recognition of the individual. This woman was one of a

                        multitude, yet she was not unobserved by the all-seeing and

                        affectionate Savior. He never overlooks the one among the many;

                        His heart can enter into every case, and succor every needy soul.


Ø      Notice the immediate and efficacious exercise of His healing power.

                        What others could not accomplish in long years, the Divine Healer                                    

                        effected in a moment. Thus Jesus ever acts. His grace brings pardon

                        to the penitent, justification to the guilty, cleansing to the impure.                                      

                        Immediate grace is the earnest of grace unfailing.


Ø      We see our Lord accepting grateful acknowledgments. Pleasing to

      Him was the courage that, spite of timidity, “told him all the truth.”

      He ever delights in the thankful tribute of His people’s praise and    



Ø      We hear our Lord’s gracious benediction. The language is very rich

      and full. There is an authoritative assurance of blessing; there is the            

      adoption of the healed one into the spiritual family, conveyed in the

      one word, “Daughter;” there is the recognition of her saving faith;

      there is the dismissal in peace; and there is the assurance that the

      healing is COMPLETE  and PERMANENT.


Let every hearer of the gospel bring his case to Jesus.  Let every applicant

to Christ be encouraged by the assurance of the Lord’s individual regard

and interest. Let faith lay firm hold of Christ, and that AT ONCE

                  WITHOUT DELAY!




Ministries Broken in Upon (vs. 21-34)


Seldom do we find Christ going straight through with a course of teaching

or work. Interruptions constantly occurring; many ministries making up the

one great ministry. The more intimate connection of v. 21 is given in

Matthew 9:18 (“while he yet spake these things”). Not that Matthew

means that Christ was still at table, nor that Mark’s order is wrong. The

feast of Matthew (here ch. 2:15) is not stated by Mark to have taken

place in immediate succession to the conversion, but is narrated in the

second instead of the fifth chapter, because of the obvious connection of

the two events. Accepting, therefore, the order of the first Gospel, we see:




Ø      In His teaching. (v. 21; Matthew 9:18.) Yet how full of interest

the subjects — eating with publicans, and fasting! How significant

these breaks! How natural, in a world so full of disturbing and

changing influences as this!


Ø      In His intended mercy. As He goes to the ruler’s house the incident of

The woman in the crowd takes place (vs. 25-34), and He is delayed.

Yet the prayer of Jairus was urgent, and broken with apprehensive

emotion.  Only this was still more pressing, for it was”


o       actual, present, long-endured suffering and shame;

o       a demand of faith on behalf of its own possessor (not, as in

Jairus’s case, for another).



time to lament the breaking off — the seeming incompleteness — ere we

are astonished at the commentary which is furnished in the incidents that

follow. He is the great Physician — to the ruler’s daughter, the woman

with the issue, and the two blind men alike; the Bringer of joy, too, to

many by His healing mercies and gracious words. All need Him, if they only

knew it; and, participating in the blessings of His presence, they cannot

mourn or fast, but must needs rejoice. And so in the case of the ruler; the

delay really rewarded his faith by an actual illustration of Christ’s power,

and so sustained him in the higher exercise of faith. “My daughter is even

now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live”

(Matthew 9:18). This is a picture of many lives. We cannot escape

interruptions. Yet are we not therefore to abandon unity of purpose. We

may fail to finish all we seek to do, or to do it as we would; but God holds

the connecting harmony, and will reveal it at last — or even sooner. The

sermon broken off, the merciful intention delayed or frustrated, may prove

greater blessings in the event than if suffered uninterruptedly to proceed to

a visible or immediate completeness within themselves. The life or work

divinely interrupted, but pursued with unity of faith and purpose to the end,

will be a grander, more Divine thing than otherwise it could possibly have





1. How infinite the resources of the Saviour!

2. His teaching is inseparable from action and life.




The Healing of the Issue of Blood  (vs. 25-34)


The magnifying power of faith. Twas but a touch, humanly speaking; yet

was it a means of salvation to the believing soul.




Ø      Many touches, but only one touch of faith. This alone was effectual and

saving. It is not human effort that saves, but the spirit of faith that lays

hold of Christ.


Ø      Only the hem of His garment. Yet as effectual as if she had touched the

body of Christ. How so? Because she touched Him spiritually. All

ordinances and outward means of grace are in themselves little — no better

than the hem of the garment of Christ. It is the Saviour who is great when

appealed to by a great faith.


Ø      Making use of what was within reach. Not perhaps the best means

possible. But enough when accompanied by faith.



SPIRITUAL ONES. The trembling and fearing woman not only secured

the physical bond; the Saviour said, “Thy faith hath saved thee,” — a word

that had a larger meaning than could be exhausted by a merely temporal

relief or physical wholeness.




Salvation Without Money and Without Price.  (vs. 25-34)


A figure of the spiritual experience of man.



These are expensive because:


Ø      They waste the spiritual nature of man.

Ø      They increase rather than diminish the evil. How forlorn the poor

woman! How great the contrast with the “sleeping” child! Death in

life is far worse than the natural death. It is not mourned for as the

latter, and has all the added sorrow of disappointment and despair.


Ø      They keep away from THE TRUE SAVIOUR!



cannot be stolen. The Saviour knows when a sinner receives His “virtue.”

There is only one way THE WAY OF FAITH!  The salvation of God is

given, not taken by force or stealth; graciously given, with a benediction

and a confirming assurance.







The Little of Things of Christ are Great Things for Men

(vs. 25-34)


How great an idea this woman had of Christ! If there was any fault, it was

that she believed in the power, but did not trust the love of Christ. Yet her

humility, which was as manifest as her faith, and her shame may account in

great part for the stealth and surreptitiousness of her action.




ritualism, etc., deprecated; yet an error incident to the opposite extreme.

We are not saved by works, neither (literally) are we saved by faith. It is

CHRIST that saves. This woman was touching Christ. God’s sufficiency is

so different from man’s.




The great end of religious acts is to bring us into communion with Christ.

This of the woman was a mere touch, scarcely perceptible in the pressure

of the crowd. The disciples had not observed it. But Christ felt that it had

taken place, and had been effectual. There are manifold ways in which He

reaches souls and is reached by them. The common experiences of life may

be channels of greater blessing than the ordinances of the Church, when

they are regarded in a believing, pious spirit.





Ø      Small things way often bring people to Christ, or keep them away from



Ø      Faith may often discover itself in the midst of ignorance and the

absence of conventional religion.


Ø      Spiritual privileges may hinder instead of helping religious progress if

they be not spiritually used. This poor woman will rise in judgment

against many who have made great show of religious observance, and

condemn them. We may hear too often, if we do not lay to heart and

obey. We require “grace for grace.”




The Magic of Faith (vs.25-34)



CURE. Magical belief universally prevailed. The principle of it was, an

operation on the nervous system through the wishes and the imagination. A

representation in the mind of a cure is assumed, and acted on as a reality.

So mysterious and great is the power of imagination over the mechanism of

life, that cures might occasionally occur without any real cause external to

the sufferer’s mind.



with the touch of the woman was the knowledge of curing virtue going

forth from Him, in the mind of Christ. Here is something impossible to

explain — a connection that defies thought; but a real connection. And the

great general lesson remains. Every change in the mind from sickness to

health implies the correspondence of a thought on the sufferer with a

reality without him. Whenever and however the energy of God is reflected

as a thought of reality or a faith in us, a change for the better must and will




                                                (Back to Jarius’ Daughter)


35 “While He yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house

certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any

further?”  Our Lord had lingered on the way to the house of Jairus, perhaps, as has

already been suggested, that the crisis might first come, and that so there might be

full evidence of His resurrection power. The ruler must have been agonized with the

thought that, while our Lord lingered, the life of his dying child was fast ebbing

away.  And now comes the fatal message to him. Thy daughter is dead.  - (ἀπέθανεν

apethanen -  died); the aorist expresses that her death was now a past event. Why

troublest thou the Master any further?  (τί ἔτι σκύλλεις τὸν διδάσκαλονti eti

skulleis ton didaskalonwhy still are you bothering the teacher). The Greek word

here is very strong. It is to vex or weary; literally, to flay. The messengers from

the ruler’s house had evidently abandoned all hope, and so probably would

Jairus, but for the cheering words of our Lord, “Fear not, only believe.”




Why Troublest thou the Master any Further? (v. 35)


A complaint that gives a glimpse of the harassing nature of Christ’s work;

drawn hither and thither by human distress and want, He was ever on the

march, as men discovered their need of Him.



complaint very rarely occasioned, still more rarely justified. On the present

occasion, however, it seemed reasonable enough. For:


Ø      Would not further urgency be useless? Thy daughter is dead;” and there

            was an end of the matter. Nothing more could be done. The sufferer had

            been taken out of the power of man. Surely it could not be expected that

            death would yield up its prey? Circumstances like this are constantly

            occurring in human experience. A distinction is made, often must be made,

            between things in which help may be looked and prayed for, and those in

            which it is inadmissible to pray. Are there not desperate cases of unbelief

            and sin for which we have given over praying?


Ø      There were others requiring His attention and help. It seemed wrong to

            monopolize Christ, especially when nothing could be done. Our grief may

            become a form of selfishness if it makes us inconsiderate of those who have

            perhaps suffered more than ourselves. If religion does anything for us, it

            should take us out of ourselves, and make us sympathetic with others.


Ø      Christ was probably weary. It had been an exciting day. The multitude

            thronged and pressed Him. One poor sufferer had ventured to touch His

            garment, and at once He detected the action. Was it because He had to

            husband His force that He had taken such notice of it? Perhaps there were

            signs of weariness in His features and gait. It was thoughtfulness and

            respect for Him that dictated the words. “The Master:  there were,

            therefore, disciples of Jesus in the family of Jairus” (Bengel).


  • THE FALLACIES IT INVOLVED. It is obvious that a great portion

of the previous considerations apply only to the human state of Christ, the

days of His flesh and feebleness. But there are many objections to

importunate and unceasing prayer that depend for their validity upon very

human and limited conceptions of God the Son. It will be evident,

therefore, that if the conduct of Jairus can be defended in troubling the

Master” when He was on earth, and subject to the conditions and infirmities

of our nature, much more the urgency of those who besiege the throne of

grace night and day with their requests. Doubtless Christ was often

troubled by suitors for His aid and sympathy; but:


Ø      It troubled Him more when men did not care to seek him. He reproved

the unbelieving Jews: “Ye will not come to me, that ye may have life”

(John 5:40). Indifference is more hateful to Him than the greatest

importunity. It is better to have a superstitious faith than no faith at all.

let us bless the weakness or the sorrow that brings us to Him, making

us feel our need of Him. For, whether we think it or not, we cannot do

without Him.  (John 15:5)


Ø      He Himself encouraged men to troubleHim. What bold promises were



o        I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and

            he that believeth on me shall never thirst,”(John 6:35);

o        “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me,

      though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25);

o        “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also;

      and greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12);

o        “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23);


and how often as here:  “Only believe”! How universal His invitations!


o       “ If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37);

o       Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will

      give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

o       “Ask, and it shall be given you,” etc. (Matthew 7:7).


Ø      There is no case too desperate TO BRING TO CHRIST!  No disease could

baffle Him whilst He was amongst men; even the grave gave up its dead at

His potent word. And now all power in heaven and earth” is His. let us

trouble Him, therefore, with our sorrows and difficulties until He gives us

relief. The care or desire which is not brought to Him will sever us from

Him. We need not fear offending Him; He is the Saviour, and it was that He

might comfort and save men He came. Even whilst we think our case

desperate, or say within ourselves, “It is no use; it is not seemly to trouble

him,” we grieve His Spirit and resist His grace. The sinner who has sinned

above measure, and is altogether vile, may come. How is that promise

fulfilled in Him, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:

though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they

                        be red like crimson, they shall be as wool!” (Isaiah 1:18.)


36 “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler

of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.”  The words of the narrative, as

they stand in the Authorized Version, are:  As soon as Jesus heard the word that

was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe”

But there is good authority for the reading παρακούσαςparakousas instead of

εὐθέως ἀκούσαςeutheos akousasimmediately hearing which requires the

rendering,  but Jesus, not heeding, or overhearing. This word (παρακούω

parakouodisobey; neglect to hear) occurs in one other place in the Gospels,

namely, in Matthew 18:17, “And if he refuse to hear them”(ἐὰν δὲ παρακούσῃ

αὐτῶνean de parakousae autonif ever yet he should be disobeying them ). 

Here the word can only have the meaning of “not heeding,” or “refusing to hear.”

This seems to be a strong reason for giving the word a somewhat similar meaning

in this passage. And therefore, on the whole, “not heeding” seems to be the best

rendering.  Indeed, it seems to cover both meanings. Our Lord would overhear,

and yet not heed, the word spoken.


37 “And He suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John

the brother of James.”  Here we have the first occasion of the selection of three

of the apostles to be witnesses of things not permitted to be seen by the rest. The

other two occasions are those of the transfiguration, and of the agony in the garden.

We now follow our Lord and these three favored disciples, Peter and James and John,

to the house of  death. They are about to witness the first earnest of the



38 “And He cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the

tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.”  Matthew here says (Matthew 9:23)

that when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, He “saw the minstrels (τοὺς αὐλητὰς

tous aulaetasthe flutists),” i.e. the flute-players, “and the people making a noise.”

This was the custom both with Jews and with Gentiles, to quicken the sorrow of

the mourners by funeral dirges. The record of these attendant circumstances is

important as evidence of the fact of death having actually taken place.


39  “And when He was come in, He saith unto them, Why make ye this ado,

and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.”  Some have regarded the words

of our Lord, the child is not dead, but sleepeth as really meaning that she was only

in a swoon. But although she was actually dead in the ordinary sense of that word,

namely, that her spirit had left the body, yet Christ was pleased to speak of death

as a sleep; because all live to Him, and because all will rise at the last day. 

Hence in the Holy Scriptures the dead are constantly described as sleeping,

in order that the terror of death might be mitigated, and immoderate grief for

the dead be assuaged under the name of sleep, which manifestly includes

the hope of the resurrection. Hence the expression with regard to a

departed Christian, that “he sleeps in Jesus.” Then, further, this child was

not absolutely and irrecoverably dead, as the crowd supposed, as though she could

not be recalled to life; since in fact our Lord, who is the Lord of life, was going at

once to call her back by His almighty power from the realms of death into which

she had entered. So that she did not appear to Him to be dead so much as to sleep

for a little while. He says elsewhere,  “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that

I may awake him out of sleep.”  (John 11:11)  Christ, by the use of such language

as this, meant to show that it is as easy with Him to raise the dead from death as

sleepers from their slumbers.


40 “And they laughed Him to scorn. But when He had put them all out, He taketh

the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with Him, and

entereth in where the damsel was lying.”  They laughed Him to scorn.  He suffered

this, in order that the actual death might be the more manifest, and that so they

might the more wonder at her resurrection, and thus pass from wonder and

amazement to a true faith in Him who thus showed Himself to be the

Resurrection and the Life.   (John 11:25-26)  He now put them all forth; and then,

with His three apostles, Peter, James, and John, and the father and the mother of the

child, He went in where the child was. The common crowd were not worthy to see

that in which they would not believe. They were unworthy to witness the great reality

of the resurrection; for they had been deriding Him who wields this power.  In the

same manner Elisha (II Kings 4:33) cleared the room before he raised the son of the



41 “And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which

is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.”  The house was now set free

from the perfunctory and noisy crowd; and He goes up to the dead child, and takes

her by the hand and says, Talitha cumi literally Little maid, arise. The

evangelist gives the words in the very language used by our Lord — the

ipsissima verba (the precise words), remembered no doubt and recorded by

Peter; just as he gives Ephphatha in another miracle – (ch. 7:34)



The Dead Maiden (v. 41)


There are three instances of Christ’s raising the dead recorded by the

evangelists. In them a suggestive progression may be observed. On this

occasion, a child had but recently died, and was laid upon the bed in her

own home, amongst those who could still see the dear face, which was

now void and irresponsive. On another occasion (Luke 7:11-17) a young man had

been dead long enough for his funeral to have begun, and he was being carried

forth on a bier through the village in which he had lived. On the third

occasion (John 11:17) we read that when Jesus came to Bethany he found that

Lazarus “had been dead four days already,” and that the grave had closed on him.

In all these He gave evidences of His life-giving power, and this with ever-growing

intensity until that glorious day when He Himself, in spite of the

Sanhedrim’s seal and the Roman guard, appeared as being in His own

person the Conqueror of death and the grave. In answer to the prayer of

Jairus, and perhaps to the prayer of his child before she died, Jesus came

into the ruler’s house. He found it filled with hired mourners, and heard the

music of their flutes, the droning of liturgical chants, the wails and cries by

which they sought, not only to express grief, but further to excite it. There

was something stern about His utterance — “Give place!” Such an

exhibition could not be other than offensive to One so sincere and true and

natural as He was. And they who have His Spirit would rather be lamented

by the few whose hearts are really touched with sadness, than by a

multitude who offer ceremonial lamentation. Christ Jesus “put them all

out.” And we must get rid of all that is artificial and false if we would feel

that Jesus is near, and we must be out of the company of the mockers who

“laugh Him to scorn” if we would hear His voice. It is in the quiet hour that

he speaks, and we then can say —


“In secret silence of the mind,

My God and there my heaven I find.”


We may look upon that dead maiden:


  • AS AN EXAMPLE OF PHYSICAL DEATH. When Jesus said, “She is

not dead,” He did not mean, as some suppose, that she was in a trance. He

spoke metaphorically, just as He did when He said, “Our friend Lazarus

sleepeth  (John 11:11) though immediately afterwards He said “plainly,

Lazarus is dead.”  (ibid. v. 14)  A boaster would have laid stress on the

fact of her death in order to exalt his own power in restoring her, but Christ

spoke of it as a sleep, because He wished, not to magnify Himself, but

lovingly to prepare her friends for the overwhelming joy that awaited them.

Sleep is a true image of death. like it, death follows weariness when the

work of life has been hard and its sorrows many; it gives quietude of which

the stillness of the body is but an outward sign; and it will be followed by

a glorious awakening on the morning of the eternal day. CHRIST IS

 “the resurrection and the life.” (ibid. v. 25)  He who gave this child back

to her parents, and the lad at Nain back to his widowed mother, and Lazarus

back to his sisters, will restore to us all those dear ones who now