Mark 5:1-43 (AD 28)
Peripheral, nagging question first: Why did Jesus allow the demons to go into a herd of pigs which then drowned, causing significant economic damage to the pigs’ owner?
Maybe it was to provide proof that the exorcism was real. In Mark 9:6 a demon put a boy through wild spasms before leaving him, when commanded by Jesus, and it may be that this was a form of that.
Maybe it was a rebuke to the owner for rearing ceremonially unclean animals; after all, he wasn’t feeling free to do so because he knew the Messiah had come and figured old regulations were finished. He was flat-out disobeying the Law.
Maybe both of those things, one of them…or neither – God doesn’t clear that one up for us. Mark it down as another thing to ask Jesus when we get to heaven.
A few other things to note from today’s reading:
- The demons knew exactly who Jesus was, as soon as he got there (v.7). The people didn’t.
- Jesus’ demonstrably divine power scared people and they asked him to leave (v.17). Their own comfort and sense of not being freaked out was more important to them than finding out more from this man who was, at least, an important man sent by God. Not knowing or believing he was the Messiah was no excuse for their rejection of him, given what they had seen.
- How often do we want God in our lives enough to help us in comfortable ways, but not enough to freak us out or do things we find annoying or inconvenient?
- “Don’t be afraid, just believe” (v.36)
- There is a masochistic comfort for some people in being afraid. It says, ‘I’m taking this situation seriously and am not so arrogant or delusional to think it’ll sort itself out’. But that is simply another way to hide from dealing with your fears.
- The reason to not be afraid is not because you believe that what you’re afraid of will definitely get better, because it might not. You don’t need to be afraid because whatever you’re scared of isn’t a millionth as serious as losing your relationship with God, and God will never let that happen to you.
- After raising a girl to life, Jesus “gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat” (v.43).
- Jesus was trying to minimise the miracle-tourism surrounding him which after a time made it impossible for him to go into town centres because. Everyone would gather around waiting to be amazed by a miracle.