Hi I’m Josh Hawkins and this is Episode 71 of Opening Up the Gospels. Since Episode 61 I’ve been chronologically walking through some of the events of the time period I’ve called Jesus’ Middle Galilean ministry, which stretches from the Sermon on the Mount in early 28AD to just a few months later through the Sending of the Twelve. In the last episode we looked at the absolutely mind-blowing story of Jesus calming the storm. The Gospels make clear that the calming of the storm took place on the same day as many of Jesus’ parables, which we looked at back in Episode 69. I hope that you’ve been able to follow the chronology that the Gospels develop for us. More than a random collection of teachings and miracles, the Gospels show us that Jesus is purposeful in his movements, willful in his words, and deliberate in all of his actions. Remember - He is seeking those in Israel who will bear the fruits of repentance. The very God of Israel has come to personally reckon with His people.
In today’s episode I want to give a brief overview of the next several events in the Gospels that are part of this Middle Galilean period. Let’s take a quick look at our timeline:
We began in this period by looking at:
- The Sermon on the Mount, which we looked at in Episodes 63, 64, and 65
- The healing of the Centurion’s servant in Episode 66
- The raising of the Widow’s son in Nain and the Third Circuit throughout Galilee, also in Episode 66,
- Jesus’ words about John the Baptist
- The sinful woman at Jesus’ feet, in Episode 67
- Return to Capernaum and the encounter with Jesus’ mother and brothers, in Episode 68
- Jesus’ teaching in parables, in Episode 69
- Jesus calms the storm, in Episode 70
And now today, we’re going to look at the next three events:
- Deliverance of a demonized man in the region of the Gerasenes
- Jesus returns to Capernaum, Jairus’ daughter healed
- Woman with the issue of blood healed
Let’s read a little bit from Mark 5:
"They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”"
(Mark 5:1–8 ESV)
We’re picking the story just a short while after Jesus had calmed the storm, so don’t forget that the disciples are probably still in freak out mode. They finally land at the other side, probably with their clothes and hair still wet from the wild wind and rain that they had been battered with. As soon as Jesus steps out of the boat, Mark says that immediately a man with an unclean spirit approaches them. What must this guy have been like? Mark says that he lived among the tombs and was so strong that he couldn’t be restrained by chains and shackles. Not only that, he always yelled and screamed and would cut himself with sharp stones. If I were one of the disciples, I’m sure I would have to chalk up this day to be one of the craziest in my life. I was just on a boat thinking I’m about to drown and die, and now I’m finally safe on the beach only to now have a zombie come up to me and act all crazy. Maybe I should have just stayed in bed this morning?
What the demon says to Jesus is very important, and is not a minor point here. And what is that point? Even the demon knows who Jesus really is. It’s the one who the angel Gabriel told Mary about back in Luke 2, it’s who the disciples have believed Him to be back in John 1, and it’s the one whom the Pharisees and Jewish authorities refuse to acknowledge. Jesus is the son of God, the promised king of Israel who will rule from Jerusalem. All of the prophets boldly declare that on that great future day called the Day of the Lord, God will establish His kingdom and the forces of darkness will be punished once and for all.
Look at this passage from Isaiah 24:
"In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days."
(Isaiah 24:21–22 NIV)
The demon clearly knows Jesus’ identity, what He is capable of, and what He will do on the Day of the Lord. James chapter 2 says that even the demons believe. How much more should we?
Well, I’ll let you read the rest of the details on your own from Mark or Luke's Gospel. The narrative ends with the demonized man completely healed and in his right mind, heading back to his village to tell everyone what Jesus had done for him. Let’s continue with the story and look at Luke’s account in Luke 8:
"Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. As Jesus went, the people pressed around him."
(Luke 8:40–42 ESV)
Here we are again on the boat crossing the sea of Galilee, heading back home. Once again, as soon as Jesus arrives, a huge crowd gathers around Him. What else is new, right? This time, we hear about a ruler of the synagogue in Capernaum named Jairus whose daughter was very sick and near death. Jairus has clearly heard of Jesus’ miraculous power and is undoubtedly desperate for whatever He could get from Him. Imagine how distressed this man must have been. For anyone to lose a child is absolutely devastating. He’s out of options, and so He falls at Jesus’ feet and begs Him to come to his house to lay His hands on his daughter so that she might live. Jesus agrees and heads towards the house. But as he goes, something else happens. Let’s keep reading in Luke:
"As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”"
(Luke 8:42–48 ESV)
As I’ve mentioned before, crowds were the norm with pretty much everywhere Jesus went. They press about him, trying to get close to hear Him or to lock eyes with Him in hopes of receiving something from Him. And here we see a woman who had been ill for twelve years do that very thing. She manages to find a way through the crowds, pressing about them, inching closer to Jesus. Just like Jairus, imagine the determination this woman had. Though we know nothing else about her except that she was ill, we have to wonder what was going on in her heart and mind in the days and moments leading up to her meeting with Jesus. How did she feel after she had been miraculously healed? What was the expression on her face when she was found out? How much were her knees trembling as she came and fell before Jesus and acknowledged that she was the one who had touched Him? There’s so much to ponder and meditate on here, so take some time to do just that.
Let’s finish up Luke chapter 8:
"While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened."
(Luke 8:49–56 ESV)
While Jesus is still speaking after the healing of the woman with the issue of blood, someone from Jairus’ house comes and gives the bad news. Jairus’ daughter is dead. Picture Jairus here. He had just seen the woman healed and commended for her faith, which surely must have encouraged him. But what devastating news must it have been when he heard that his daughter had died. I love what Jesus does here - He just looks at Jairus and basically says “it’s going to be ok, don’t worry. Just keep that same faith in me you had just a few minutes ago. She is going to be fine.” And what happens? Jesus is ridiculed and laughed at because He said the girl was just sleeping. He then raises her up and her parents are astounded. Again, don’t pass by these details too quickly. Think about what it would have been like to be the mother of the girl. How much emotional turmoil would she have gone through watching her daughter slip away and die? How many sleepless nights did she have as her mind raced and her heart worried exceedingly? These were two real people in real history, and God in the flesh was in their house! My gosh! You’ve got the story of a lifetime to tell! God raised your daughter from the dead!
We are out of time for this episode, but I really want to encourage you - plan out some time to meditate on these scenes. Whether you’re in your car or on a walk or just sitting around at home - open up to Mark 5 or Luke 8 and take some time to talk to Jesus. Get caught up in the story and what’s really going on, and let your heart marvel more and more at who Jesus really is. In the next episode, we’ll look at the final events of the Middle Galilean ministry. God bless, and be sure to come back next time.