Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mark 5 - Miracles, Deliverance, and Healing Ministry

LINK: Mark 5

BACKGROUND

Jesus' works authenticated His words. The following miracles demonstrate Jesus' sovereign power and authority: 

88. Jesus sends demons into a heard of pigs: Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39 

This event probably occurred in a small town called Gersa which is now modern day Khersa. It is located on the Sea of Galilee's eastern shore, and most of the people who lived there were Gentiles. We know this because farmers on the east side of the Sea of Galilee were raising pigs for the predominantly Gentile population since Jews considered pigs "unclean" (Leviticus 11:7). 


The man came out of the tombs which were sometimes places where demented people dwelt. Matthew mentioned two demoniacs, but Mark and Luke put their attention on just one who asked to become a disciple of the Lord. The demons possessing the men knew that Jesus was the "Son of the Most High God."  This title was often used in the Old Testament by Gentiles in order to refer to the God of Israel as above any of their pagan gods (Genesis 14:18-24; Numbers 24:16; Isaiah 14:14; Daniel 3:26; 4:2). 


The name of the demon was Legion. This was a Latin word denoting a Roman army of about 6,000 soldiers. These men were greatly oppressed by a host of demons! Jesus' authority was demonstrated because He gave the demons "permission" to go into the swine. 


The significance of Jesus delivering the Gerasene demoniacs is that they were obviously Gentiles. Jesus was showing that His ministry reach and care was not just to the Jews but to the Gentiles also. It was God's plan all along that Gentiles would be reached with the Good News. 


After one of the men was healed, he asked to accompany Jesus, but Jesus told him to go and tell his family all that the Lord had done. This spread the Good New among the Gentiles in the Decapolis (a league of 10 Greek cities with all but one east of the Jordan).   


89. Jesus restores a girl to life and heals a bleeding woman: Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-43, Luke 8:40-56

The story of Jairus' daughter is "sandwiched" around the story of the bleeding woman in all three gospel accounts.

Jairus asked Jesus to heal his dying daughter, but he had to wait for Jesus to heal the bleeding woman. It was a test of faith for him because his daughter died as he waited, but it was an opportunity for Jesus' power over death to be displayed!

Jesus told him to not be afraid (it might be wise to mark how many times Jesus said this in His ministry).  Essentially, He was saying, "Stop fearing in unbelief, and just keep believing." Mark records Jesus as speaking in Aramaic (a Jewish language related to Hebrew). He translated it into Greek, perhaps for his Greek-speaking, Gentile readers: "Little girl . . . get up." 

The bleeding woman had what might have been a menstrual disorder or a uterine hemorrhage. This would make her ritually "unclean" (Leviticus 15:25-27) and would exclude her from social relations. This was a double whammy of physical illness and socio-religious isolation!

Many touched Jesus, but He realized the touch of faith of this woman, and she was instantly healed. He called her "daughter," and this is the only recorded use of this term by Jesus in the gospel accounts. 

REFLECTION and APPLICATION

Miracles. healing, and deliverance were a big part of Jesus' ministry to authenticate His authority.  Do you believe it should be a part of our ministry today? 

You can read about this issue in these excellent (and short) articles by John Piper (the audio is much longer, but the written articles are succinct):

What Are We Up Against? 
How is the Kingdom Present?  
Are Signs and Wonders for Today? 
Gifts of Healings and Workings of Miracles

Also, it would be really valuable for you to gain insight into demonic oppression by reading this book by my good friend, Tom White:
The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare

He just came out with an updated version that my husband is reading with the other elders in our church. You can buy it on Amazon HERE

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, we praise You for Your power and authority over death, sickness, and demonic oppression. Greater are You than he who is in the world!  Lord, help us to armor up in these times when Satan's kingdom is challenged. Keep us in Your Word. Keep us close to Your heart for people as we go out to minister in Your name and in Your love. In Your name we pray, Amen. 

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