October 18, 2015
Next Lesson – October 23: Mark 6:7-56
Billy Graham Quote. “Only God himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.”
What does the Bible mean?
Today's text illustrates the power of Jesus over the sea, legions of demons who dwell with the dead among the tombs, death and the disease in a woman that had kept her unclean for twelve years.
The verses begin with that statement that they took a boat to the “other side.” They crossed the barrier (the lake) between Jew and Gentile. Jesus came to all – Jew and Gentile alike.
Jesus was sleeping in the stern of the boat. That was the place in the boats for the distinguished. They had a carpet and a cushion for comfort. The helmsman stood just forward so he could see ahead.
A sudden storm came. That was a frequent occurrence on the Sea of Galilee. The boat nearly swamped. In the Bible raging waters are a symbol of chaos. In Isa 51:9-10, the sea is calmed for the redeemed. In Ps 89:8-9, God rules the surging sea and stills the waves. In Gen 1:2,6-9, the earth was formed and God separated the waters from the dry land. In Ps 93:3-4, God is mightier than the sea. In Ps 69:1-2, 14-15; 107:23-30, the sea threatens the believer who cries out for deliverance.
In their peril, the apostles cry out. Jesus commanded the sea to “Quiet! Be still!” It did and he asked why they were afraid. Did they still have no faith? As God rescued his people time and again, Jesus rescues, but we too often “still have no faith.”
Read. Mark 5:1-13
They crossed to the region of the Gerasenes. The exorcism of the demons is one of the longest and most vivid among the New Testament miracles.
In Mark 1, Jesus' ministry begins by casting out an evil spirit from a man in the synagogue. Now Jesus comes to the Gentiles (where pigs may be raised) and he is confronted by a man who ran to him with an evil spirit(s). The people had not even been able to bind him. The spirit shouted and asked Jesus what he wanted with him. He called Jesus, “Son of the Most High God.” He asked not to be tortured but Jesus called him to come out. “What is your name?” “...Legion...for we are many.” They asked to be sent to a nearby large herd of pigs. Jesus sent them and 2,000 pigs rushed into the lake and were drowned.
That the demons were sent to the pigs and drowned on the sea begins the purification of the Gentiles since the water is subject to Jesus' power. The water now is the tomb for the evil spirits.
The work spread and the people came down to see. By now the man was dressed and in his “right mind.” When the story was told the people were afraid and asked Jesus to leave.
Now the man asks to go with Jesus. No. Instead tell your family “how much the Lord has done for you.” So the man did spread the news and the people were amazed. Jesus had found the first convert to become a missionary to the Gentiles!
Read. Mark 5:21-24a, 35-43
Jairus, a ruler in the synagogue comes to Jesus. It is a tragic scene. His daughter is gravely ill.
Jairus, like us in times of tragedy, came to Jesus. His prejudices were forgotten. We will even call on an outsider for help. His dignity and pride were forgotten. The ruler of the synagogue threw himself on the ground before a wandering teacher. In tragedy it is not important what we are.
The scene becomes darker. Messages come that the girl has died. “Why trouble the teacher any more?” the people say. But Jesus said, “Don't be afraid! Only keep believing!” He took only Peter, James and John. The people at the home were grieving as was the way in those times. Jesus asked why. The girl just is sleeping. But the people laughed in scorn at him.
Jesus put them all out except for Jairus, his wife and the apostles. He took the girl's hand and called her to “Arise.” Immediately she arose and walked. (Sounds like the resurrection, doesn't it? She arose.) All were amazed and all were warned not to tell about what had happened.
While we despair, there is hope in Jesus. While we are in unrestrained distress, Jesus is calm. Why? Because Jesus knows God completely and trusts him.
Read. Mark 5:24b-34
A crowd followed Jesus that was large enough to press in on him or to throng him. One in the crowd was a woman whose illness had kept her unclean for twelve years. Being unclean meant that she was shut off from the worship of God and the fellowship of her friends. She had tried all the cures and had spent all she had on doctors to get well. She wanted to touch Jesus, but being unclean she couldn't just announce herself so she tried to touch Jesus in secret.
Immediately she was healed!
Jesus knew power had left him. “Who touched my clothes?” The disciples asked in wonder how he could see who touched him from among a crowd so large. He looked around and the woman threw herself down and told Jesus what had happened. Her faith had cured her. She could go in peace free from her troubles.
We learn that there is a cost in healing. What we produce requires something from ourselves. We learn from the disciples that we may not realize or appreciate what it costs Jesus and his followers to serve. We learn the relief of confession from the woman. One embarrassed to speak out now can tell the world truth of her story.
Read. Mark 6:1-6
So, Jesus went to Nazareth to teach in the synagogue. The people were amazed. Isn't this just one of the local young people? And then they took offense. Jesus could do very little at his “home” church.
We must beware of the temptation to judge people by their cover. We cannot be healed if we refuse to be healed. Preaching is dead in the wrong atmosphere. We each bear much responsibility in either helping or hindering the work of Jesus.