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Delivered July 3, 2011 | Cleveland, OH | MetroAlliance Church

Who Is This Guy?

Discovering Jesus: A summer hike through Mark (4-6)

Click here to view the accompanying PowerPoint slides.

Series theme imagery

We’re currently on a trek through Mark that will take us all summer to complete. Danny kicked it off last week with a close look at Chapter 4, and a bit of 3. As he stated, we won’t be going through every chapter and verse of Mark; you’ll need to work on filling in the gaps.

This is not a day hike or walk around the block after dinner. It will be a summer-long, arduous trek. You’ll need the right gear. You’ll need your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace as stated in Ephesians 6, and the water of life which is the Holy Spirit.

We’ll look to Mark to act as our guidebook and compass, pointing us toward Jesus, revealing an ever-clearer picture of who he is.

As we travel together, making camp now and then, we’ll get to know each other better, and get to know Jesus better.

Just as a campfire in the dark of night pushes back the darkness around us, we’ll encounter truth and insight that will bring light to our own thinking and faith, as well as equip us to bring light into our neighborhoods and communities.

So, get your compasses and guidebooks out, make sure your hiking boots are laced up as we continue on this amazing trek.

Today, using a passage from Mark, I want to tell you a story about a man who was also God. His name is Jesus.

Today’s passage

There are five distinct scenes in this amazing story. But while each offers unique perspectives, they all share similarities, and they all reveal a facet of who Jesus was, and who Jesus is.

We’re going to be walking from Mark 4:35 all the way through Mark 6:6. I want to encourage you to follow along in your own Bibles marking verses and taking notes in the margin. If you don’t have a Bible, we have printed out copies of the NET version which is an excellent tool; please take a copy and write freely in it; it’s yours to use today and to study on your own whenever you want.

If you’d like to follow along in the NIV, please feel free to use one of our copies, but please take notes on your own paper.

By the way, these same stories are covered in Matthew and Luke a little differently. The styles are different because different men wrote them and they were addressing different needs and different audiences. Because there are differences does not mean there are contradictions or errors; it just means they present different angles and perspectives.

And now on to Mark and our story.

What’s happened so far

Prior to the section of Mark we’re going to walk through today, Mark has already reported quite a bit of very interesting detail building up to our five scenes.

For example, Mark has explained that John the Baptist came to prepare the way for the ministry of Jesus. In Mark 1:38, Jesus states that his ministry and mission is, in part: “[to] go elsewhere, into the surrounding villages, so that I can preach there too. For that is what I came out here to do.” All of this pointed to the cross and the culmination of the Old Testament prophecies.

Mark also shares how Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, received the Holy Spirit, was acknowledged audibly by God as His son, and then successfully endured temptation by Satan in the wilderness.

In addition, Mark reports how Jesus selected his disciples, cast out demons, healed the sick, and set an example of prayer.

Mark also describes how the Jewish religious authorities questioned and challenged Jesus, accusing him of getting his power from Satan and even being out of his mind.

Then, as Danny shared last week, Mark reveals how Jesus radically redefines our thinking of family, and how he began to teach his disciples, as well as preach to the crowds, using parables.

In this way Jesus was challenging the religious thinking of the day. He was throwing new light on their scriptures, which is our Old Testament, and beginning to push back the darkness in their minds and hearts.

He was revealing to them who he was. John chapter 5 sheds even more light on this topic.

And this leads to our five-part story for today.

Shifting gears

Jesus dramatically shifts from teaching to doing things in a way never before seen by Mark’s generation.
While the people knew the stories of the Old Testament; the stories of God acting and speaking into history; the stories of amazing miracles, decisive judgment, the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden; …they knew all about these things. But they had not seen or experienced this kind of power for hundreds of years.

But that was changing.

As we go through our passage, I’ll be reading from the NET version, but also recasting the passages to point out intriguing facets of the stories. I’m doing this to help bring us into the story, beyond just reading the words. My hope is that we can experience each of these scenes in a very real and personal way.

Scene one is actually the scene that Danny ended on last week. It occurs at the end of chapter 4, verses 35-41.

SCENE 1: The Storm (Mark 4:35-41)

Jesus had been teaching all day to a predominantly Jewish audience on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee in what is part of modern Israel today. He was addressing people who had a pretty good grasp of their religious history and followed Jewish law, much of which is described in great detail in the book of Leviticus.

As Danny pointed out, in order to create a sort of outdoor auditorium, Jesus moved away from the crowd and stood in a boat to teach.

Think about being down at Edgewater Park, with the waves lapping into shore, on a hot day, teaching from a rocking boat. The sun goes down, the midges come out, and it’s time to move along.

So, Jesus says, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” The Sea of Galilee is smaller than Lake Erie, but it’s still a very big lake. It’s about 8 miles across and 13 miles long, a little over 100 square miles, surrounded by cliffs and steep shoreline.

Let’s read the passage:

4:35 On that day, when evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.”

4:36 So after leaving the crowd, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat, and other boats were with him.

4:37 Now a great windstorm developed and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was nearly swamped.

4:38 But he was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. They woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?”

4:39 So he got up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Be quiet! Calm down!” Then the wind stopped, and it was dead calm.

4:40 And he said to them, “Why are you cowardly? Do you still not have faith?”

4:41 They were overwhelmed by fear and said to one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and sea obey him!”

It was not uncommon for squalls to pop up on the lake. But, the first four disciples Jesus selected – Peter, James, Andrew, and John – we all experienced fishermen. They knew how to sail and they knew the lake. A few other hangers-on followed in their boats.

It was night. Jesus was tired. He slept while the disciples took turns at the sails and rudder. Perhaps the four experienced disciples took turns working with one or two of the others.

I’m sure that they discussed the events of the day, especially the part where Jesus had challenged their ability to grasp the meaning of the parables.

Suddenly, things changed as the perfect storm materialized in the darkness. The disciples are terrified for their lives.
Obviously something about this storm was unique.

Perhaps it was Matthew the tax collector that led the panic, not having any experience as a sailor or fisherman. But “they” – many of the disciples – went to Jesus in fear for their lives, waking him and asking. “We who are about to die, awake you!” Or something to that effect.

Perhaps the storm was larger than anything that had occurred in the experience of the fishermen disciples. Perhaps Satan was at work attempting to instill fear and doubt in their hearts, in the darkness – it was pitch black since the storm clouds covered the moon and stars. Perhaps it was all part of God’s plan to provide the platform for Jesus to demonstrate very dramatically who he was.

Jesus wakes up, stands in the rocking boat, and calmly, authoritatively, and definitively tells nature to shut up and get quiet.

“Be quiet! Calm down!”

Immediately the winds stop and the waves go flat. There is no winding down of the storm. As the NET puts it, “it was dead calm.” The whole 100 plus square miles of raging lake is now smooth as a mirror, and there is no wind.
If you were there, what would be going through your mind and heart in that moment? What would you be feeling? What would you be thinking?

Just as in chapter 4, verse 13, as Danny shared last week, where Jesus bluntly stated, “Don’t you understand this parable? Then how will you understand any parable?” Jesus calls the disciples to task here, in even stronger terms in 4:40, “And he said to them, ‘Why are you cowardly? Do you still not have faith?’”

Did he just call them cowards? Wow. And then, I’m guessing, Jesus went back to sleep to leave them alone to ponder what was going on.

Remember all that Mark has reported as to what they have seen Jesus do and heard Jesus say up to now. And, remember too, these men were familiar with the powerful stories of Genesis and the Old Testament.

This was one of what would be many moments where the disciples probably avoided eye contact with Jesus, looked around, mumbled under their breath, “I don’t know. I was scared. I’m new here ….” But thinking, “We’ve never seen anything like this before.”

There it is.

They’ve heard the stories of God acting in the history of the Old Testament, and now they are seeing it come to life in front of them through Jesus, the Son of the Creator.

And as the light begins to dawn in their hearts and minds, they solidly face the crucial question: WHO IS THIS GUY? WHO IS THIS JESUS?

This is a question we all must answer!

Who is Jesus to you? To me?

Jesus wasn’t the only teacher of the day who had followers. A teacher with disciples was nothing new. But, still, they had sensed something different about this man. There was more to him than the others they had seen and heard.

Possibly, until this moment, they had not truly thought about exactly why they had both chosen and felt compelled to follow this particular man.

In life, storms of various kinds, as scary and awful as they may seem, can be catalysts for change and insight. This storm forced the disciples to get even more serious about what they were up to, and it began to reveal exactly who Jesus was to them.

Their darkened understanding, a sort of cluelessness, was being pushed back as the truth began to dawn and sink in.
Since they were in the middle of the lake and they needed to get to the other shore, they probably had to row the boat now that there was no wind. And, while it may have crossed their minds, no one was going to wake Jesus again and ask for just enough breeze to fill their sails. They’d had enough chastising for one day.

As their adrenaline levels returned to normal and their fear subsided replaced by awe, Jesus sleeps, and the disciples have some time to think and talk about this new revelation:

Jesus reveals that he is Lord over the natural world and that nature is subject to him.

SCENE TWO: The Legion (Mark 5:1-20)

As dawn breaks, they pull into shore on the east bank of the Sea of Galilee. They are entering what is part of Jordan today. This is the land of the Gentiles; those who are considered unclean and unworthy of God by the Jews. Basically, us! If you’re not a Jew, you’re a Gentile.

The good news is Jesus loves Gentiles and came so we, too, can receive the Gospel.

True to Mark’s fast-paced journalistic style, Jesus immediately gets out of the boat and is immediately confronted by a man horribly afflicted with demons.

In fact, Mark implies that there are actions taking place simultaneously in rapid fire.

5:1 So they came to the other side of the lake, to the region of the Gerasenes.

5:2 Just as Jesus was getting out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came from the tombs and met him.

5:3 He lived among the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain.

5:4 For his hands and feet had often been bound with chains and shackles, but he had torn the chains apart and broken the shackles in pieces. No one was strong enough to subdue him.

5:5 Each night and every day among the tombs and in the mountains, he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

5:6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him.

5:7 Then he cried out with a loud voice, “Leave me alone, Jesus, Son of the Most High God! I implore you by God – do not torment me!”

5:8 (For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of that man, you unclean spirit!”)

5:9 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

5:10 He begged Jesus repeatedly not to send them out of the region.

The demon-afflicted guy is coming to Jesus, calling out to him, and announcing that he knows who Jesus is!

At the same time Jesus, who knows who the demons are, is rebuking them and telling them to get out of the man.
In part, this is something the disciples have already seen Jesus do. In fact, it was normal practice of the day for Jewish Rabbis to also cast out demons.

But something very different is happening here.

The demons, or at least the spokes-demon, is addressing Jesus. He is crying out, “Leave me alone, Jesus, Son of the Most High God! I implore you by God – do not torment me!”

(Just as a side note, you may have questions about demons and the influence of evil and would like more information on how to deal with these. I encourage you to attend the Truth Jam when it comes around again this fall. The Truth Jam covers many of these issues. In the meantime, you may want to take a look at books by Neil T. Anderson, such as “The Bondage Breaker.” Or, for a different take, “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis is very insightful. Or, “Preparing for Battle: A Handbook on Spiritual Warfare” by Mark Bubeck from Moody Publishers is useful and one I had a hand in helping to write.)

The bottom line is, if you are in Christ, as James 4:7 states, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Okay, back to the story,

So here is this crazed, demon-wracked man who is running to Jesus. He is unclean by Jewish standards because, among other reasons, he lives with the dead in the tombs. He is clearly under the power of the demons.
So why is he running to Jesus?

Are the demons driving him to Jesus, knowing who Jesus is? Or, is the remnant of the man afflicted, who, underneath the torment sees a glimmer of hope, and that spark of hope is driving him to Jesus? Or both?

If you’ve watched some of the Star Trek series and are familiar with the Borg, who are robot or cybernetic creatures whose motto is “resistance is futile,” you’ll be familiar with the episodes where Jean Luc, the captain, is captured by these cruel aliens.

He is “possessed” by them as they “absorb” him into their machinery. He eventually breaks free and describes the experience.

He felt the mind of the Borg and, in a sense, thought their thoughts; he knew their true purpose was to steal, kill, and destroy. But at the same time he retained a sense of himself as a human being. He was like a spy in their head.
I wonder if this was what this man, afflicted with what appeared to be thousands of demons, experienced?

He likely felt self-loathing, lost, dirty, alone, hopelessly oppressed, and ashamed. Have you ever felt like that?
At any rate, he comes to Jesus and the demons beg for mercy. This is the only time recorded in the New Testament that Jesus actually engages in conversation with a demon.

Jesus asks his name and he states it as Legion. Legion is a military term indicating a large contingent of soldiers. It could be 2,000 or 6,000 – but it’s a big group. By using this term, it gives the encounter a military feel. This is a battle, although it’s pretty one-sided.

Why is this Legion begging for mercy and asking to be sent into the pigs? Because this time has been preordained for Jesus to visibly demonstrate yet another aspect of who he is.

The demons, knowing they are going to be dealt with, beg to be sent into the herd of pigs abiding in the fields nearby. Sounds a little bit like the Christmas story!

Apparently, for demons, it’s better to live in the pigs than go wander in the wilderness. Pigs, for Jews, are unclean animals.

Anyway, did you know that Satan and his demons know that they are doomed to destruction? They know it! Here, they’re trying to buy a little more time.

Jesus gives them permission. Let’s jump in again:

5:11 There on the hillside, a great herd of pigs was feeding.

5:12 And the demonic spirits begged him, “Send us into the pigs. Let us enter them.”

5:13 Jesus gave them permission. So the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs. Then the herd rushed down the steep slope into the lake, and about two thousand were drowned in the lake.

(Slide 15)

5:14 Now the herdsmen ran off and spread the news in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.

5:15 They came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man sitting there, clothed and in his right mind – the one who had the “Legion” – and they were afraid.

5:16 Those who had seen what had happened to the demon-possessed man reported it, and they also told about the pigs.

5:17 Then they asked Jesus to leave their region.

The demons leave the man, enter the pigs. The pigs jump in the lake and drown and the pig-herders who had been watching their “flocks” by day, run into town to share this news.

Again, a little reminiscent of the Christmas story. But with a twist.

For the man, what’s happened is great news. For the pig-herders, this is horrible news!

So, what’s happened here?

The man is sitting there, completely free of demons, in his right whole mind, soaking in what has just happened. The darkness has been completely cleared away in his head and heart.

The disciples and the other hangers-on who crossed the lake with them are observing and absorbing what they’ve just seen. And, of course, what they’ve just heard – the demons referring to Jesus as the Son of the Most High God!
Dead pigs are littering that corner of the Sea of Galilee, and the people from the nearby town are arriving on the scene, taking it all in.

They see the man who had been afflicted with demons for years and years, sitting there unlike they had ever seen him before. There was a dramatic change in his demeanor. This was new. This was different. This was radical change. This was scary in a different way.

For years they had, in a sense, accommodated the evil in their midst because it didn’t respond to anything they did. Chains didn’t work, so the man was made an outcast to be avoided. And now what were they supposed to do with him?

Then there were the pigs. All dead. This was an economic disaster. This was scarier to them than the demons had been. This was personal to them! It wasn’t just about the demon guy anymore. And how could they be sure the demons wouldn’t come back as zombie pigs?

Their response? “Please, Jesus, whoever you are, go away!”

Wow. Jesus was rejected. Isn’t there a prophecy about that?

They were amazed by what He did for the man, but they are terrified of what they perceived as damaging to their livelihoods. Dealing with this guy could be risky; it might cost too much. But this isn’t the end of this part of the story yet. Jesus is going to give them time to believe.

Jesus and his disciples get back in the boat and the man who had been freed of the demons pleads to be allowed to come with Jesus.

(Slide 16) Side note: Jesus shares a story in Matthew 12 (Luke 11) "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."

Why is the condition worse in this little sidebar? Because once the evil or the demons were gone, the cleansed heart did not take in the new resident – namely Jesus.

In this case with the freed-demon-afflicted man, his heart has been ignited with the reality of who Jesus is and he wants to share this good news. The demons are gone and Jesus has taken up occupancy.

What Jesus does here is remarkable and a clear lesson for us. Let’s jump back in at 5:18-20. Keep in mind that Mark is writing this after the fact, and is reporting on what happened after they left Jordan:

5:18 As he was getting into the boat the man who had been demon-possessed asked if he could go with him.
5:19 But Jesus did not permit him to do so. Instead, he said to him, “Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you, that he had mercy on you.”

5:20 So he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him, and all were amazed.

Jesus sends this man, whose name we never learn, into Jordan (Decapolis; the yellow shape on the map) as an evangelist! He is the first missionary to Jordan! He has no religious training, no idea of theology, no familiarity with Jewish scriptures.

All he has is the story of his powerful encounter with Jesus, and his personal experience of mercy and grace.

Without hesitation, the man obeys, spreads the word throughout the vast area of Jordan, and people are “amazed” by his story. As Danny talked about last week, this man prepares the soil for the full Gospel that comes to them later. His story amazes them. It intrigues them. It leaves them open for more. He is making camp and lighting campfires all along the trail that begin to push back the darkness as he points people to Jesus.

As they sail and row back across the Sea of Galilee, the disciples ponder what they have witnessed.

Unlike any other encounter with demons they have seen or heard of, Jesus spoke with authority and thousands of demons were sent packing.

Jesus reveals that he is Lord over the spiritual realm and that evil cannot resist him.

Scene 4 introduced: The little girl (5:21-24)

Mark is reporting chronologically and introduces what is actually scene 4 at this point. He sets up the scene and then, with dramatic flair, puts it on hold. It’s a great way to build tension and interest.

(Slide 21)

5:21 When Jesus had crossed again in a boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he was by the sea.

5:22 Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came up, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet.

5:23 He asked him urgently, “My little daughter is near death. Come and lay your hands on her so that she may be healed and live.”

5:24 Jesus went with him, and a large crowd followed and pressed around him.

Jesus, his disciples, and the hangers-on sail back across the Sea of Galilee, back to where they had left the night before. Perhaps they land ashore in the late afternoon. The people they left behind were still there. As soon as Jesus leaves the boat, he’s thronged by the masses.

They’ve waited all night and all day for Him to come back. They have sicknesses they want healed, they want to see signs and wonders, they want entertainment, and some are even interested in what he has to say. A few have only bad intentions.

Parting the crowd, a ruler of the local synagogue comes through. The crowd makes way. Jairus, a prominent Jewish leader, is the executive manager of the local Jewish church. His job is to make sure everything runs smoothly and that all the elements of the law are followed to the letter. He would be considered a righteous and clean man, someone who would shun and pull away from anyone who was considered unclean or who had touched another unclean person or thing.

He approaches Jesus on behalf of his daughter who is sick. And he comes to Jesus in reverence, respect, and awe. He bows. He acknowledges Jesus as a superior falling at his feet!

Perhaps he had heard Jesus teach the day before, and his heart was good soil into which faith had sprung up and taken root! At any rate, there he his, a prominent Jewish leader, bowing before Jesus, the man other Jewish leaders are already plotting against!

Jairus has faith that Jesus can heal his daughter. Jesus agrees to go with him. The crowd presses in, eager to see what’s going to happen next, and this is only the introduction to scene 4.

It’s at this point that scene 3 breaks in. We’ll pick up scene 4 later in verse 35. But first, something really interesting is going to take place.

Scene 3: The bleeding woman (Mark 5:25-34)

In this thronging, throbbing crowd is a woman – an unclean woman according to Jewish law – pushing her way through to Jesus, desperate to simply touch the hem of his robe.

This woman has been suffering from sort of menstrual problem that has caused her to bleed every day for 12 years. For 12 years she has been an unclean outcast, forced to remain essentially alone.

Why? For the details, take a look later at Leviticus 15. Anyone with an issue of blood was considered unclean. They were required to not touch others, and to wash everything they wore or sat on every day they were unclean. This means this woman had to wash her clothing and her furniture every single day for 12 years.

She did not have a washing machine or Clorox Cleaners. There were no convenience stores where she could send her man down to pick up a box of pads.

While the text doesn’t state it, it’s possible that she had been married, developed the bleeding issue as a result of sexual intercourse or childbirth, and been divorced or left by her husband because of the bleeding. I don’t know.
I do know she had to wash her furniture with water drawn from a well or carried from a river. She then had to wash her cleaning rags and her blood-stained clothing. You can imagine how other people talked about her and shunned her as she hung out her stained items to dry.

In addition, the medical arts were not as sophisticated as what we have access to now. There were no female gynecologists; all the doctors were men. This was a huge embarrassment. Who knows the abuse she suffered looking for a cure? It cost her all her money and she only got worse.

Add to this that constant bleeding leaves a person anemic and weak. Anemia is not fun – I’ve been dealing with it for months. Last winter my iron counts were so low that I could barely stand up at times. I’m okay now because I’ve gotten good medical treatment and iron infusions. This woman did not have access to this level of treatment.
She was isolated, embarrassed, shamed, alone, weak, and desperate. Have you ever felt like this?

At any rate, she seeks Jesus out. She’s heard that he heals the sick. She’s heard some of his teaching. A spark has been lit in her heart and is growing. She gathers up what little strength she has, makes her way as anonymously as possible through the crowds, seeking out Jesus.

Let’s read 5:25-5:34:

5:25 Now a woman was there who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years.
5:26 She had endured a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet instead of getting better, she grew worse.

5:27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,

5:28 for she kept saying, “If only I touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

5:29 At once the bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.

5:30 Jesus knew at once that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”

5:31 His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you and you say, ‘Who touched me?’”

5:32 But he looked around to see who had done it.

5:33 Then the woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.

5:34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

As she approaches Jesus, over and over she keeps thinking, “If only I touch his clothes, I will be healed.” What’s she doing? She’s praying! She’s expressing her faith! She’s hoping against hope that tomorrow she’ll wake up and the bleeding will have stopped!

But what she receives is even better – instant healing. Sometimes, that’s the way the Lord chooses to work.

Jesus knew he had been touched in a special way.

The disciples, still not fully up to speed with who they’re dealing with, thinks he’s a little bonkers asking who touched him. “Are you kidding, Jesus?”

Why did Jesus insist on calling this woman out? He knew what was going on with this woman. And he knew she needed to be affirmed in her faith.

As Jesus is looking around, he sees her, they lock eyes, and she is terrified. She shouldn’t even be there because everyone she’s touched is now technically unclean! And here was Jairus, the synagogue ruler who understood the consequence of her actions. What would he do? What would all these people think?

But, compelled, she confesses her full, heart-breaking story in front of everyone.

Please hear this: Confession within the body of Christ should always be a freeing action, not something that elicits one iota of condemnation. Jesus was about to model this truth.

He looks at her with compassion and reassures her that her faith, not the act of touching his robe, has healed her. Touching his robe was an expression of her faith, it wasn’t the solution, his robe is not some kind of magical talisman.

He demonstrated that people others view as unclean and outcasts, he views as worthy of his attention and he makes them clean. She leaves assured of her healing and affirmed in her actions to seek him out.

And everyone marvels at this new revelation:

Jesus reveals that he is Lord over the physical realm and sickness is no match for him.

Scene 4 continued: The little girl (5:35-43)

Just as Jesus is reassuring the woman that she has been healed, men come with a message for Jairus. They bring word that his daughter has already died.

Now, there’s an odd tone to their message. Instead of focusing on presenting the information in a comforting way to Jairus, they seem more intent on keeping Jesus from coming to see the girl.

Let’s read the whole scene:

5:35 While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue ruler’s house saying, “Your daughter has died. Why trouble the teacher any longer?”

5:36 But Jesus, paying no attention to what was said, told the synagogue ruler, “Do not be afraid; just believe.”
5:37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.

5:38 They came to the house of the synagogue ruler where he saw noisy confusion and people weeping and wailing loudly.

5:39 When he entered he said to them, “Why are you distressed and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.”

5:40 And they began making fun of him. But he put them all outside and he took the child’s father and mother and his own companions and went into the room where the child was.

5:41 Then, gently taking the child by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up.”

5:42 The girl got up at once and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). They were completely astonished at this.

5:43 He strictly ordered that no one should know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

As we saw in the earlier verse where Mark introduced this story, Jairus comes to Jesus on behalf of his daughter. He’s demonstrating that when people can’t come to Jesus, we can take Jesus to them.

Then when the men announce that his daughter has died, Jesus rebuffs the messengers by telling Jairus to not be afraid, only believe. Jairus has just witnessed the healing of the woman with the bleeding illness, so his faith is bolstered by the words of Jesus.

As they approach the home, there’s a lot of noise. It was common then to hire professional mourners, and they are busy doing their jobs. They aren’t really in grief, which becomes readily obvious when Jesus rebukes them saying, “She’s not dead, she’s only sleeping.”

If one of our relatives had just died and Jesus came to us saying they were only asleep, what would our reaction be? Probably something that expressed a wee bit of hope and expectation.

These mourners just laughed and mocked Jesus. The attitudes were derisive. Jesus puts them out and closes the door. Just as Jesus ignore them, we are to ignore those who mock us as we do ministry.

Jairus and his wife, while hopeful, are probably heartbroken, confused, wondering as they see their little girl laying there not breathing, pronounced dead by the doctors.

Jesus is demonstrating that he does not give up on those others have given up on. Even those we may think are too far gone and hopeless cases, He says they’re just sleeping.

Jesus touches the girl, who, because she is dead is unclean, and speaks to her. Immediately, without hesitation, she gets up and starts walking around as if nothing has happened. He tells them to keep this to themselves. Why? Because he is already pressed everywhere he goes, making his travels difficult as he completes his mission and ministry of preaching the Gospel.

What they have just witnessed is something new and dramatic: raising someone from the dead and doing it with authority. Jairus’ view of his religion and faith are being radically challenged. If word spread too quickly about Jesus raising the dead, even more crowds would press him wanting to see these signs and wonders, not really caring to hear his message.

Everyone would learn soon enough. For now, the disciples who were with him witnessed and began processing this latest revelation.

Jesus reveals that he is Lord over the soulish realm and death cannot defy him.

Scene 5: The unbelievers (6:1-6)

As Danny pointed out last week, Jesus frequently tried to pull away from the crowds. Ministry is exhausting and all ministers need to rest, recuperate, and recharge. Jesus was no different. He was God and he was fully man, and as a man, he got tired.

So, Jesus decides to go to his hometown for a visit and a little R&R.

Keep in mind all that had happened just over the last couple of days:

He had taught the crowds for hours and hours.

Spent time giving special education to the disciples.

He’s crossed the Sea of Galilee twice.

He’s calmed a massive storm, delivered a man of thousands of demons, healed a woman who had been sick for years, and raised a little girl from the dead.

And he’s been constantly pressed in upon by large, noisy crowds.

So now, he wants to go where he can find quiet acceptance and rest. He wants to go home and hang out with his childhood friends and family, who know him and love and accept him just as he is. Right?

But what happens? Let’s read:

6:1 Now Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.

6:2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue. Many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did he get these ideas? And what is this wisdom that has been given to him? What are these miracles that are done through his hands?

6:3 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” And so they took offense at him.

6:4 Then Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his own house.”

6:5 He was not able to do a miracle there, except to lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.

6:6 And he was amazed because of their unbelief. Then he went around among the villages and taught.

What in the world? Is this how you are treated when you go home? Well, for some, maybe. It’s not unusual for people to accuse those who have found success as putting on airs or being uppity, and to express jealousy toward them.

Sadly, that’s what Jesus encountered. While others in the preceding scenes had expressed some sort of emotion, his friends just turned a cold shoulder. And they were insulting!

In Jesus’s day, when a son was introduced, the correct and honorable way to do it was to say, “This is the son of so-and-so his father.” To refer to Jesus as merely a carpenter and as his mother’s son was a slap in the face.

Now, on one hand, they correctly discerned that his “authority” did not come from his earthly connections or status. But they were totally wrong to assume he had no authority at all; this was a stark denial of the miracles and teachings they clearly were aware of. They were denying God, not just the man Jesus.

What was the result? They had no faith, no awareness of their own needs, and therefore Jesus had nothing to offer them. He can’t give you what you won’t accept; what you won’t acknowledge you need.

He was amazed at their unbelief. I’m sure this broke his heart. Not because they rejected him as much as he wasn’t able to meet needs he knew were there.

If you were to come into a million dollar inheritance, who are you most likely to help and share your money with? Your family and friends! What Jesus had to offer was way better than a measly million bucks, but his hometown folks were not interested.

So, instead of accepting Jesus, his hometown folks raise the second significant question. Remember, the first question was raised by his disciples: They asked, “Who is this guy?” and have now seen him demonstrate the answer.

Now, the question raised is, “Who does this guy think he is?” It’s a dismissive and rude question.
It’s the kind of common response we get when we speak out against cultural sins like divorce, pornography, homosexuality, drugs, alcohol abuse, and more; those who are indulging in these lifestyles sneer at us and question, “Who do you think you are telling us how to live? Who made you God?”

They reject us, but worse, they reject the truth and they reject God. When this happens, we need to move on just as Jesus did in this last scene.

Since he wasn’t able to do a miracle there, except to lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them, he left, and he went around among the villages and taught, carrying on his ministry and mission of preaching the Gospel to those would were good soil and willing to receive him because…

Jesus wants you to come to him, in faith, believing He is Lord over your life, so he can give you what you need.

Conclusion

So, here we are, on this July 4th weekend, celebrating our freedom and independence, and being confronted with two questions:

Who is Jesus to you?

The question the disciples raised was, Who is this guy? They then witnessed the answer as they continued to follow him as he:

  • reveals that he is Lord over the natural world and that nature is subject to him.

  • reveals that he is Lord over the spiritual realm and that evil cannot resist him.

  • reveals that he is Lord over the physical realm and sickness is no match for him.

  • reveals that he is Lord over the soulish realm and death cannot defy him.

And then there’s the dismissive question his homey’s raised as they walked away from him: Who does this Jesus think he is? Their assessment was that he was a nobody, and so he was unable to do anything for them, because…
Jesus wants you to come to him, in faith, believing He is Lord over your life, so he can give you what you need.

Who is Jesus to you?

What about you?

Are you being tossed around by the tempests and storms of life and need a savior who will bring you peace?
He can speak peace into your life if you come to him.

Are you being pressed in by the enemy, hounded by demonic forces or personal demons of sinful habits and need real freedom?

He can free you if you come to him.

Are you experiencing physical illness, the flu or a chronic ailment, and need healing? He can heal whatever your issue is if you come to him.

Are you in a place where you feel spiritually, emotionally, or mentally dead? Have others given up on you? Do you need a lift, a rising from your spiritual grave?

Have you never given your heart to the Lord, but sense a tugging toward him right now?
He will give you new life if you come to him.

Jesus is

If you need prayer for any of these reasons, after I close in prayer, I want you to come forward. Juri, I, and others here will pray with you, one on one, for whatever your need is.

Mark, in this passage, has taken us on a trek of discovery, revealing Jesus along the way, pointing us to his authority as the son of the living God, and leading us to the one who is the way, the truth, and the life.
Part of the discovery includes seeing how much we need Jesus.

Today, whatever has you in chains, Jesus can give you true and lasting freedom, if you will come to him. If you are literally unable to get out of your chair to come up front, then grab someone around you and they will bring Jesus to you right there.

But if you will not come, Jesus cannot do for you what you need him to do. So, after I pray, please come. Don’t be afraid, don’t be embarrassed, don’t hesitate. Jesus is ready to meet you where you are, as you are, right now.

Let’s stand and pray, and then come if you need peace, healing, or new life.

[Lord, help! Amen.]

Please come.

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

God's Man: A Daily Devotional Guide to Christlike Character

 

 
     
   
     
     
 

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