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Jesus Heals the Gerasene Demoniac


They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. 3He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; 4for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. 6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; 7and he shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; 12and the unclean spirits begged him, “Send us into the swine; let us enter them.” 13So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.

14 The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. 15They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. 17Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood. 18As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 19But Jesus refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.” 20And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.

A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed

21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32He looked all around to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 5:3. And no man could bind him, not even with chains Naturally, he was not able to break the chains; and hence we infer that Satan is sometimes permitted to make extraordinary movements, the effect of which goes beyond our comprehension and beyond ordinary means. We often perceive in madmen much greater strength than belongs to their natural capacity; and we are not at liberty to deny that, in such cases, the devil does his part when God permits him: but the force, which is described by the Evangelists, was far greater.548548     “Mais l'effort et la violence que les Evangelistes deserlvent estoit bien autre et plus grande;” — “but the effort and the violence, which the Evangelists describe, was quite different and much greater.” It was indeed a sad and shocking exhibition, but may serve to remind us how wretched and alarming it is to be placed under the tyranny of Satan, and also that bodily agony, however violent or cruel, is not more to be dreaded than distress of mind.

Mark 5:6 Worshipped him549549     “S'enclina devant luy;” — “kneeled down before him.” The arrangement of the narrative may be thus stated. When the demoniacs came to meet him, Christ ordered the unclean spirits to go out of them, and then they prayed and entreated that he would not torment them before the time The worship, therefore, did not precede Christ’s words: nor did they complain that Christ gave them uneasiness,550550     “Et ils ne se sont point plainds que Christ les tormentast, sinon quand il les pressoit de sortir;” — “and they did not complain that Christ tormented them, till he urged them to go out.” till he urged them to go out. We ought to be aware that they did not come of their own accord into the presence of Christ, but were drawn by a secret exercise of his authority. As they had formerly been accustomed to carry men off, in furious violence, to the tombs, so now a superior power compels them to appear reluctantly at the tribunal of their judge.

Hence we infer, that the whole of Satan’s kingdom is subject to the authority of Christ.551551     “Que tout le regne de Satan est tenu en bride sous la domination de Christ;” — “that all the kingdom of Satan is kept in check under the government of Christ.” For the devils, when Christ summons them to appear before him, are not more at their own disposal than were the wretched men whom their tyranny was wont to drive about in every direction. At length, by the secret power of Christ, they are dragged before him, that, by casting them out, he may prove himself to be the deliverer of men. Reluctantly too they worship him, and their rebellious complaints testify that their confession was not made from choice, but was drawn from them by force.

Mark 5:9 My name is Legion. The devil was compelled by Christ to pronounce this word, that he might more fully display the greatness and excellence of his grace. There must have been good reasons why this man should have endured so severe a punishment as to have an army of devils, so to speak, dwelling within him. What compassion then was it, to rescue from so many deaths a man who was more than a thousand times ruined! It was a magnificent display of the power of Christ., that by his voice not one devil, but a great multitude of devils, were suddenly driven out. Legion denotes here not a definite number of men, but merely a great multitude.

Hence it is evident what a wretched creature man is, when he is deprived of the divine protection. Every man is not only exposed to a single devil, but becomes the retreat of vast numbers. This passage refutes also the common error, which has been borrowed by Jews and Christians from the heathens, that every man is attacked by his own particular devil? On the contrary, Scripture plainly declares, that, just as it pleases God, one devil554554     “A scavoir que chacun hornroe ha son diable et son mauvals ange qui lui fait la guerre;” — “namely, that each man has his devil and his evil angel who makes war with him.” is sometimes sent to punish a whole nation, and at other times many devils are permitted to punish one man: as, on the other hand, one angel sometimes protects a whole nation, and every man has many angels to act as his guardians. There is the greater necessity for keeping diligent watch, lest so great a multitude of enemies should take us by surprise.

Mark 5:10. And entreated him earnestly Luke says, they requested that they might not be sent into the deep Some explain these words to mean that they wished to avoid uninhabited places.555555     “Ce qu'aucuns exposent comme si les diables n'eussent point voulu aller en lieu desert;” — “which some explain as if the devils did not wish to go into a desert place.” I rather view it as referring to their rage for doing mischief. As the devils have no other object than to prowl among men, like lions in search of prey, they are grieved at being plunged into the deep, where they will have no opportunity of injuring and ruining men. That this is the true meaning may be inferred from the words of Mark, who says that they requested that they might not be compelled to go out of the country In a word, they manifest their disposition to be such, that there is nothing which they more eagerly desire than the destruction of mankind.

Mark 5:15. And they come to Jesus We have here a striking proof that not all who perceive the hand of God profit as they ought to do by yielding themselves to him in sincere godliness. Having seen the miracle, the Gadarenes were afraid, because the majesty of God shone brightly in Christ. So far they did right but now that they send him out of their territories, what could have been done worse than this? They too were scattered, and here is a shepherd to collect them or rather, it is God who stretches out his arms, through his Son, to embrace and carry to heaven those who were overwhelmed by the darkness of death. They choose rather to be deprived of the salvation which is offered to them, than to endure any longer the presence of Christ.

The apparent ground of their offense is the loss of the swine, but Luke assigns a loftier cause, that they were seized with a great fear;556556     “ ᾿Εφοβήθησαν, they were afraid, (Mark 5:15,) is by most Commentators understood of fear lest they might suffer a yet greater calamity; but it rather denotes awe at the stupendous miracle.” — Bloomfield and certainly, if they had been exasperated by the loss which they sustained, they would not have requested him, but would rudely have driven him out. They honor him as God’s minister, and yet are so struck with dread as to desire that he will go to a distance from them. Thus we see that they were not at all moved by a sense of the divine grace. And indeed, though all wicked men adore God, and bestow great pains on appeasing him, yet if they had their choice, they would withdraw to the greatest possible distance from him: for his face is terrible, so long as they contemplate him as a Judge, and not as a Father. The consequence is, that the gospel, which is more delightful than any thing that can be conceived, is everywhere considered to be so dismal and severe, that a good part of the world would wish that it were buried.

And yet it is true that their fear was partly occasioned by their loss. Thus at the present day, so long as men believe that the kingdom of God is opposed to their interest, either of a public or private nature, they are prepossessed by a depraved and carnal fear, and have no relish for his grace. Accordingly, when he comes, they think that God does not regard them with favor, but rather with anger, and, so far as lies in their power, they send him to another place. It is a mark of shameful insensibility in those men, that the loss of their swine gives them more alarm than the salvation of their soul would give them joy.

Mark 4:26. So is the kingdom of God. Though this comparison has the same object with the two immediately preceding, yet Christ appears to direct his discourse purposely to the ministers of the word, that they may not grow indifferent about the discharge of their duty, because the fruit of their labor does not immediately appear. He holds out for their imitation the example of husbandmen, who throw seed into the ground with the expectation of reaping, and do not torment themselves with uneasiness and anxiety, but go to bed and rise again; or, in other words, pursue their ordinary and daily toil, till the corn arrive at maturity in due season. In like manner, though the seed of the word be concealed and choked for a time, Christ enjoins pious teachers to be of good courage, and not to allow their alacrity to be slackened through distrust.

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