Mark 5

Jesus delivers a man with a legion of demons. He raises up Jairus’s twelve-year-old daughter and heals a woman with an issue of blood.

As I write in the introduction to every chapter:

This translation and commentary is offered for free, gratis, across the worldwide web to Christians in oppressive (persecuting) or developing countries, who cannot afford printed commentaries or Study Bibles, though everyone can use the commentary and entire website, of course.

The translation is mine. I wrote it to learn what the Greek text really says. The translation tends to be literal, but complete literalism and readability are impossible, so adjustments had to be made. If readers don’t read Greek, they can ignore the left side of the tables. I include the language to check my work and for Greek readers, who can also check my translation.

Readers can go to and use the interlinear link to look up every Greek word, and then the links go to every occurrence of the word. They can also visit for many translations.

The commentary has a practical application (GrowApp) at the end of each section, for discipleship.

Links are provided for further study.

Let’s begin.

Jesus Expels Legion (Mark 5:1-20)

1 Καὶ ἦλθον εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν. 2 καὶ ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ, 3 ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν, καὶ οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο αὐτὸν δῆσαι 4 διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν πολλάκις πέδαις καὶ ἁλύσεσιν δεδέσθαι καὶ διεσπάσθαι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ τὰς ἁλύσεις καὶ τὰς πέδας συντετρῖφθαι, καὶ οὐδεὶς ἴσχυεν αὐτὸν δαμάσαι· 5 καὶ διὰ παντὸς νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν ἦν κράζων καὶ κατακόπτων ἑαυτὸν λίθοις.

6 Καὶ ἰδὼν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔδραμεν καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτῷ 7 καὶ κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγει· τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ υἱὲ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου; ὁρκίζω σε τὸν θεόν, μή με βασανίσῃς. 8 ἔλεγεν γὰρ αὐτῷ· ἔξελθε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἀκάθαρτον ἐκ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. 9 καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν· τί ὄνομά σοι; καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι, ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν. 10 καὶ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν πολλὰ ἵνα μὴ αὐτὰ ἀποστείλῃ ἔξω τῆς χώρας.

11 Ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πρὸς τῷ ὄρει ἀγέλη χοίρων μεγάλη βοσκομένη· 12 καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες· πέμψον ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, ἵνα εἰς αὐτοὺς εἰσέλθωμεν. 13 καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς. καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ὡς δισχίλιοι, καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ. 14 Καὶ οἱ βόσκοντες αὐτοὺς ἔφυγον καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν καὶ εἰς τοὺς ἀγρούς·

καὶ ἦλθον ἰδεῖν τί ἐστιν τὸ γεγονὸς 15 καὶ ἔρχονται πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν καὶ θεωροῦσιν τὸν δαιμονιζόμενον καθήμενον ἱματισμένον καὶ σωφρονοῦντα, τὸν ἐσχηκότα τὸν λεγιῶνα, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν. 16 καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο τῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων. 17 καὶ ἤρξαντο παρακαλεῖν αὐτὸν ἀπελθεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων αὐτῶν.

18 Καὶ ἐμβαίνοντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πλοῖον παρεκάλει αὐτὸν ὁ δαιμονισθεὶς ἵνα μετ’ αὐτοῦ ᾖ. 19 καὶ οὐκ ἀφῆκεν αὐτόν, ἀλλὰ λέγει αὐτῷ· ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου πρὸς τοὺς σοὺς καὶ ἀπάγγειλον αὐτοῖς ὅσα ὁ κύριός σοι πεποίηκεν καὶ ἠλέησέν σε.

20 καὶ ἀπῆλθεν καὶ ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν ἐν τῇ Δεκαπόλει ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ πάντες ἐθαύμαζον.

1 He went to the other side of the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 As he was getting out of the boat, a man coming out of the tombs, having an unclean spirit, met him. 3 He made his home in the tombs. No one was able tie him down with a chain anymore 4 because, after he was often bound with chains and shackles, the chains were broken by him and the shackles shattered; no one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Day and night he was crying out in the tombs and hills and cutting himself with stones.

6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt before him. 7 He cried out with a loud voice, “Mind your own business, Jesus, Son of God Most High! I implore you! Don’t torment me!” 8 (For he was saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”) 9 Then he asked him, “What is your name?” And he said to him, “My name is Legion, because we are many!” 10 And he begged him earnestly that he would not send him out of the region.

11 A huge herd of pigs was there on the hillside, feeding. 12 They begged him, saying, “Send us into the pigs, so that we may go into them!” 13 He permitted them, and the unclean spirits left and went into the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed headlong from a crest into the lake and drowned in the lake. 14 The ones tending them fled and reported this in the town and the fields.

They came to see what it is that happened. 15 They came to Jesus and observed the demoniac sitting clothed and sound-minded—the one having Legion—and they were frightened. 16 The ones who saw this recounted to them what had happened to the demonized man and about the pigs. 17 And they begged him to depart from their district.

18 As he was getting in the boat, the one who had been demonized begged him that he may be with him. 19 He did not allow him, but instead told him, “Go to your house and your family and report to them everything the Lord has done for you and how much mercy he showed you.”

20 And so he departed and began to proclaim in the Decapolis everything Jesus had done for him. Everyone was amazed.


This passage can be analyzed in five parts:

First confrontation between the demoniac and Jesus (1-3; 6-10)

Description of the demoniac plight (3-5)

Demons expelled into pigs (11-15)

Report to and reaction of the people (16-17)

Final interaction between the formerly demonized man and Jesus (18-20)

Let’s take the section in those stages.

1-3; 6-10:

As for the geography and location, you can google it. Criag Keener says in his commentary on Matthew: “As for Mark’s “Gerasenes” (Mark 5:1) and Matthew’s “Gadarenes,” “Gerasa was larger and more powerful in Mark’s time; hence Mark used the more prominent city to identify the region …; Matthew, probably writing to Christians in Syria who knew the region better, clarifies the matter by naming the prominent city near the lake itself … In both Gospels, the writer is simply identifying the region; Gadara and Gerasa were both parts of the Decapolis, a primarily Gentile area with a large Jewish population” (A Commentary on Matthew’s Gospel [Eerdmans, 1999] Keener, p. 282).

His explanation satisfies me. However, in the bigger picture, if there are discrepancies like this, please don’t allow your faith to be brittle, so that it snaps in two when even light pressure is applied. The variations in geographical names do not matter in the main teaching of the passage.

See these posts in a fifteen-part series on the reliability of the Gospels:

13. Are There Contradictions in the Gospels?

14. Similarities among John’s Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels (celebrate the countless numbers of similarities in the arc of the storyline!)

15. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels: Conclusion (start here for summaries of each part with links back to them)

In any case, this was a region where Gentiles lived, on the southeastern side of the lake of Galilee, for Jews considered pigs to be unclean (Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8). It is not likely that a community of Jews would allow so many pigs. Wessel and Strauss point out that limestone rock was in the region, where people cut out tombs. So these enclosures provided a home (of sorts).

It is not possible to know whether the crew arrived in the evening or morning. But it was light enough for people to see.

The disciples were with him, and they needed training in taking authority over demons. They may have been baffled as to why Jesus was called to go over to this Gentile region, but now they are no longer mystified. The man needed a large-scale deliverance session.

“having an unclean spirit”: There are two main ways in the Greek NT to express demonic attacks to varying degrees, from full possession to just attacks: “have a demon” and “demonized.” The latter term is used often in Matthew: 4:24; 8:16, 28, 35; 9:32; 12:22; 15:22, but only once in Luke (8:36), and Mark four times (1:32; 5:15, 16, 18). John uses the term once (10:21). In Luke 8:26-39, Luke uses both “have a demon” and “demonized,” so he sees the terms synonymously. “demonized” comes from the verb daimonizomai (pronounced dy-mo-nee-zo-my), which just adds the suffix –iz- to the noun daimōn (pronounced dy-moan). It is a very convenient quality about Greek (English has this ability too: modern to modernize). Just add this suffix to a noun, and it turns into a verb. So it looks like “have a demon” and “be demonized” are synonyms. The context determines how severe the possession was. In this passage Mark uses both forms, apparently meaning the same thing, without precision as to the depth of possession.

“unclean”: this means that the demon defiled the man, so it was a “defiling” spirit (Strauss).

“met”: it is the verb hupantaō (pronounced hoo-pahn-tah-oh), and it is used 10 times. The appearance of the verb surprised me at first, but on further study it should not have surprised me. It combines the prefix hup– and the verb antaō (related to anti-), as if to say “meet up with.” A clearer picture comes into focus. The word means (1) “to come opposite to, meet face to face, meet with”; (2) “to meet in battle” (Liddell and Scott). So the demonized man met up with Jesus, and a battle was about to take place.

What did the demonized man do when he saw Jesus? Of course he screamed. The demons’ number one enemy just got on shore. The demons were preparing to resist Jesus’s command to leave their poor victim. The man through the demons, however, fell down before the Son of the Most High.

His disciples have a difficult time knowing who Jesus was fully (4:41), but the demon knew!

“Mind your own business!”: Grammarian Decker says that the Greek idiom literally reads: “What is it to me and you?” Rhetorically it asks, “What have we to do with you?” That is, “What business is it of yours to interfere with us?” The Septuagint (pronounced sep-TOO-a-gent) is the third-to-second century translation into Greek from the Hebrew Bible. It uses this idiom in Judg. 11:12; 2 Sam. 16:10; 19:23; 1 Kgs. 17:18; 2 Kings 3:13; 2 Chron. 35:21. It is always abrupt, is often harsh, and consistently introduces distance between the speaker and hearer (p. 183). These demons were arrogant smart Aleks, but they had to acknowledge that he was the Son of God. In the spirit world, they saw Jesus rebuke Satan in the Great Temptation (Matt. 4:1-12). Decker: “This is a statement of ‘defensive hostility’ [NET note]; or as Danker puts it, ‘A diplomatic way of saying “mind your own business.”’”

Apparently these demons understood what their ultimate fate was. No, Jesus was not going to torment them personally, but he was going to send them into hell, which was prepared for Satan and his angels (demons), and that state was going to be torment enough (Matt. 25:41). The legion of demons understood that Jesus had authority to command them.

In his name, we also have authority to command demons.

“I implore”: it’s a Greek verb that has to with swearing an oath. “In God’s name, don’t torment me!”

Verse 8 is a narrative aside, telling us that Jesus had already told the demon to go, but before it left, it implored Jesus to allow it to remain. Apparently, demons are assigned territories. In Luke’s version, the demon begs Jesus not to send him into the abyss to await judgment (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6), which may be the same meaning. That is, to leave an assigned area means defeat (Matt. 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26), so the demons implore Jesus to let them enter the pigs, who are part of the local area (Wessel and Strauss). Little did they know what was about to happen! One thing is for certain: to command the demons to leave the human is a sure sign that Satan and his kingdom is being pushed back.

Jesus was saying to the demon that he should go. But something didn’t work. The tension in this real-life, spiritual confrontation story is building in the audience. Then Jesus found out the demon’s name, and the fuller truth. His name was Legion, for “we are many.” It is amazing to me how calm Jesus was in asking for the name of the demons. Authority and calm go together.

“Legion”: many demons entered him. A Roman legion was 3000-6000 foot soldiers with a cavalry. And Mark says the herd of pigs numbered about 2000 (v. 13). However, the number in the word legion should not be taken overly literally. Many demons had overtaken him.

A real battle is taking place.

Evidently the commands were not working, so Jesus had to dig more deeply. Some critics say this was an embarrassment for Jesus because he could not instantly make the demons go. In reply, however, people have to want to be set free. The demon in this man was defiant and had so deceived their human host that the man himself did not want to let them go. He ran right up to Jesus to scare the Lord, but Jesus stood his ground. Also, these demons, we come to learn, were deeply entrenched. Learning a demon’s name means you have authority over it. On the other hand, some commentators say this is unnecessary, for Jesus already had authority over it. I favor the view that we, his people, may sometimes have to learn a demon’s name to have authority over it. But don’t turn that “sometimes truth” into a necessary part of a ritual; just cast it out in Jesus’s name.

Some teachers say they can converse with demons, in order to find out why they refuse to go, why they have a root in the human, since Jesus asked the demon or demons for his or their name. I would never say no to this part of deliverance. I believe the mature believer must not follow a formula or ritual. However, do we have to take it so far and have a detailed conversation? No. But if it is necessary to ask an authoritative question, then do it.

In his comments on v. 9, France cautions us not to make too much of learning the demons’ name:

The dialogue continues with Jesus’ reciprocal demand for the demon’s name (see on v. 7), a demand which apparently cannot be resisted. It is often assumed that this was a necessary part of Jesus’ exorcistic ‘technique’, but Mark gives no hint that that was its purpose; neither here nor anywhere else in the gospels does Jesus use the name as part of a formula of exorcism. Rather the function of the name in this narrative is to provide a graphic indication of the multiple possession involved in this case, which in turn will explain the following incident with the pigs.


Mark backtracks and informs us that they were so dangerous—again indicating total possession—that people could not pass along the road by the tombs, an appropriate place for a demonized man. The seven sons of Sceva found out how dangerous demons could be. The demon-possessed man pounced on the seven men, overpowered them, and beat them up (Acts 19:11-17). Demons have super-human strength, enough to break chains and shackles (or literally “foot shackles”). I wonder how they put them on him since no one was strong enough to subdue him. Probably the answer is that the demons grew in strength. Or maybe the demons were toying with the men who put him in chains, and then the demons broke them, in mockery and as a sign of power.

The demon was powerful and moved the man’s muscles to break the chains. The demon used to drive him out into the tombs and hills. The possession went deep. The story is startling and scary to Mark’s ordinary readers. How would it end? We know Jesus will handle things, but how? And how do his methods relate to us?

Lane’s comment on these verses is right:

In the several features of the description, the purpose of demonic possession to distort and destroy the divine likeness of man according to creation is made indelibly clear. The attitude and actions of the people of the town were an added cruelty based on popular misunderstanding. But ultimate responsibility for the wretchedness of the man and brutal treatment he had endured rested with the demons who had taken possession of the center of his personality (p. 182)

I like this excerpt because it insightfully reveals that demon possession destroys God’s image in a person.


Evidently demons don’t like to be without a physical body to possess (Matt. 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26). So they made a deal with Jesus. Send us into two thousand pigs. He allowed it, but they must not have realized that the pigs would do a swan dive—a pig dive—into the lake, where they died. Did they escape the pigs’ bodies upon their deaths? Unknown (to me at least). But it seems that when the pigs dissolved into nothing by now, they escaped the bodies. Yet let’s not speculate like this. Let’s move on.

Why did Jesus allow the swine to enter the pigs? Lane gives two reasons. First, Jesus recognized that the ultimate destruction of the demons had not yet come. His victory over these demons do not put an end to Satan’s power and authority. This waits for a future time. Jesus therefore allows the demons to work their destruction, but not on the man. Second, Jesus intended to show that demons was the total destruction of their host, and what they did to the pigs demonstrates it. They were doing to the pigs what they had been doing to the man.

A little Renewal theology. Yes, Jesus was God incarnate, but his unique divinity that he took with him to earth was hidden (not lost) behind his humanity. As he lived and moved on earth, he was subject to the everyday human limitations of life—hunger, sleep, fatigue and thirst, for instance. He was also anointed by the Spirit. He was the Anointed One.

What Is the ‘Anointing’?

So the Father and the Spirit worked in Jesus of Nazareth—the Trinity together, but we will never be able to figure out in detail how the three cooperated together. Here the Father willed that his Son—the Son of God—cast out a demon. We too are anointed by the Spirit, and through this lesson in this pericope (pronounced puh-RIH-koh-pea) or section of Scripture, kingdom citizens also learn how to cast out demons, after Jesus ascended to heaven.

It is amazing to me how calm Jesus was. Authority and calm go together. Flashy Renewalists who nervously beg the demon during their deliverance ministries are probably just insecure.

Jesus gave them permission—showing his authority—to lunge headlong into the lake. I translate the word as “crest,” but most other translations have “bank” or “cliff.” It’s hard to believe that the pigs just waded out into the water, so I envision a crest or cliff, and they were thrown out—leapt out—into the deep. This loss of two thousand pigs was costly to the swineherds.

They fled out of fear. The swineherds must have run back to the scene of deliverance and recounted what they saw. Also, maybe some of the people who saw the original event stayed around and then reported to the townsmen who came out to see what had happened. The man was delivered, clothed, and in his right mind.

The Greek verb for “sound-minded” is sōphroneō (soh-fro-neh-oh), and it can be translated, depending on the context, as “in right mind,” “clear minded,” “self-controlled,” “sober judgment” (NIV); “be of sound mind, be in one’s right mind, be reasonable, sensible, serious” (Shorter Lexicon).


“fields”: it could be translated as “countryside,” but “fields” makes it seem like farming communities. Decker has the term “hamlets.”

“they were frightened”: This is the standard Greek verb for fear (phobeomai, pronounced foh-beh-oh-my), and you can see phob– in it. It means a wide range of things, like “filled with awe,” but “afraid” is also correct. Mark says they literally “feared a great fear,” which works out to “greatly, doubly feared” (Mark 4:41)

Let’s be a little more definite. BDAG defines the verb as follows: (1) “to be in an apprehensive state, be afraid”; people can become “frightened.” “Fear something or someone.” (2) “to have a profound measure of respect for, (have) reverence, respect”; a person like God or a leader can command respect.

The Shorter Lexicon says adds nuances (1) “be afraid … become frightened … “fear something or someone” (2) “fear in the sense of reverence, respect.”and see v. 25 for comments. Wonderous miracles can scare unprepared people. There is nothing wrong with the reverential fear and awe of God, but let’s not be scared off from him. However, some people, not knowing how to relate to God, need to be instructed that God loves them and worked a miracle to help people and draw them to himself.

It always surprises me that the townspeople and agrarians chose the pigs over Jesus and the delivered man. Yes, the swine was their livelihood or business, but honestly! People first!

They ask him to leave their vicinity or district or borders. We don’t want a miracle worker! How deceived can these people be? That deceived.

Wessel and Strauss on v. 17:

They recognized that a mighty force was at work in Jesus and that they could neither understand nor control it. If it destroyed an entire herd of pigs, might not this power strike again with even more serious consequences? Fear, ignorance, and selfishness because material loss through the destruction of the pigs dominated their considerations rather than compassion for the former demoniac.

Garland has an insight on v. 17:

The demons begged Jesus to let them stay in the region (5:10); the townspeople now beg Jesus to leave the region. They are more comfortable with the malevolent forces that take captive human beings and destroy animals than they are with the one who can expel them. They can cope with the odd demon-possessed wild man who terrorizes the neighborhood with random acts of violence. But they want to keep someone with Jesus’ power at lake’s length.


The healed man wanted to remain with Jesus (literally “be with,” which is how I translated it). This is understandable because no one had shown him more love and compassion and power to deliver him than Jesus. He contrasts the townspeople’s over-reaction. “The kingdom either attracts or repels, depending on whether one has eyes to see and ears to hear (4:12)” (Wessel and Strauss). Nonetheless, Jesus told him to go back home and narrate his story of what the Lord did for him.

Jesus now has an emissary to speak to his own people, the Gentiles. France is insightful in his comment on v. 19:

The reason for refusal is rather the positive one that this man has an opportunity, which is uniquely his, to spread the news of what God is doing through Jesus of Nazareth among those who have known what he was before, and who therefore cannot ignore the dramatic change which has resulted from his encounter with Jesus. In emphasising this motivation Mark no doubt expects his readers to understand that the same principle applies to others whose lives Jesus has changed, even in less dramatic circumstances.

Jesus is expanding his outreach to Gentiles, by this emissary. He told his story. You too can tell your story of how God set you free.

Meanwhile, the man told the people what great things Jesus did for him. Of course the people were amazed, given Mark’s description of him before his deliverance. The people lived with his unpredictability and threats. He cried out day and night, which must have haunted the people in the area. Why does Jesus permit the man to go out and tell everyone, but in v. 43 he tells Jairus and his family not to let anyone know the resurrection of the girl? Here Jesus is in Gentile territory, where Messianism would not be a threat, but back in Capernaum (most likely), he will be in Israel, where misunderstanding about Messianic expectations can emerge.

On the use of “the Lord,” Decker writes out a quotation from another scholar:

Mark’s concluding remark repeats Jesus’s words almost verbatim with one significant difference: [Jesus] has taken the place of [the Lord] … At the narrative level, Jesus may be understood as speaking of the work and mercy of the Lord God, in which case Jesus, who has healed the man, identifies his own work with that of Yahweh. Mark’s concluding words, however, link Jesus not only to the work of God so that there is a unity of act between God and Jesus (what Jesus does, God does), but also to the title [the Lord] so that God and Jesus are united under the designation. Verse 20 is then not so much Mark’s interpretation of the referent of [the Lord] as it is a linking of Jesus to this title, which he, in Mark’s view, shares with God. (p. 127, quoting Daniel Johansson [Kurios or Lord] in the Gospel of Mark, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 33 (2010) 101-24)

Please see my posts about Satan in the area of systematic theology and a little practical theology (deliverance):

Bible Basics about Satan and Demons and Victory Over Them

Satan and Demons: Personal

Satan and Demons: Theology

Satan and Demons: Origins

Bible Basics about Deliverance

Magic, Witchcraft, Sorcery, and Fortunetelling

The whole point to this long pericope is that Jesus has power over the Satan’s kingdom. From then to now, God’s kingdom is reducing and diminishing Satan’s kingdom, being chipped away. We need more men and women anointed with power to push back the evil spirit beings.

Some insightfully argue that this is Jesus’s first full outreach to Gentiles. It foreshadows the proclamation of the Gospel to all nations (Wessel and Strauss on v. 20).

In v. 7, since this pericope contains an element of demons recognizing Jesus and who he was, the Son of God Most High, let’s discuss what his Sonship means with a brief excursus into systematic theology.

Jesus was the Son of the Father eternally, before creation. The Son has no beginning. He and the Father always were, together. The relationship is portrayed in this Father-Son way so we can understand who God is more clearly. Now he relates to us as his sons and daughters. On our repentance and salvation and union with Christ, we are brought into his eternal family.

6. Titles of Jesus: The Son of God

When Did Jesus “Become” the Son of God?

Another quick excursus into systematic theology about the Trinity. The Father in his role as the Father is over the Son; the Father guides the whole of creation and the plan of the ages. The Son carries out the plan, notably by being born as a man, humbling himself, taking on the form of a servant (Phil. 3:7-8). He humbled himself so deeply and thoroughly that he died a death on the cross, the instrument of the death penalty.

However, the Father and Son are equal in their essence or nature. The Father is fully God and the Son is fully God, in their essence. Phil. 2:6: Jesus did not regard equality with God as something to hold on to, but he surrendered the environment of heaven and took the form of a servant.

Boiled down:

Function or role: the Father is over the Son in his incarnation and role in the redemptive plan

In their essence or essential nature: Father and Son are equally fully God.

The Trinity: What Are the Basics?

The Trinity: What Are Some Illustrations?

The Trinity: Why Would God Seem So Complicated?

The Trinity: What Does He Mean to Me?

Now let’s move on to the GrowApp.

GrowApp for Mark 5:1-20

A.. Read Eph. 6:10-12. How do you overcome Satan’s attack on your life?

Jesus Raises Up Jairus’s Daughter, Part One (Mark 5:21-24a)
21 Καὶ διαπεράσαντος τοῦ Ἰησοῦ [ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ] πάλιν εἰς τὸ πέραν συνήχθη ὄχλος πολὺς ἐπ’ αὐτόν, καὶ ἦν παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν. 22 Καὶ ἔρχεται εἷς τῶν ἀρχισυναγώγων, ὀνόματι Ἰάϊρος, καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν πίπτει πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ 23 καὶ παρακαλεῖ αὐτὸν πολλὰ λέγων ὅτι τὸ θυγάτριόν μου ἐσχάτως ἔχει, ἵνα ἐλθὼν ἐπιθῇς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῇ ἵνα σωθῇ καὶ ζήσῃ. 24 καὶ ἀπῆλθεν μετ’ αὐτοῦ. 21 After he crossed back to the other side in a boat, a huge crowd gathered to him, and he was alongside the lake. 22 One of the synagogue rulers, by the name of Jairus, came and saw him and fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at her end. Come and place your hands on her, so that she may be healed and live. 24 He departed with him.


From here to the end of the chapter, Mark is about to interlock the stories of two very different people. On the one side stands Jairus the synagogue ruler, who was rich and powerful, but his daughter is dying. And on the one side stands an unnamed, unclean woman, who was socially degraded and rejected in her unclean status. Jairus has to fall at the feet of Jesus, and he has his plea answered. He was raised up. Even the rich can be accepted if they humble themselves. A real lesson there. The unclean woman was already very humble and needy and also fell at the feet of Jesus. She too was healed and raised up.


He must be in Capernaum again, where he spent so much time. Of course a huge crowd gathered to him. He was a healer and excellent teacher. Healing and teaching is a winning combination. He was again along side the lake of Galilee.


“ruler”: A synagogue ruler, who was important in this society, was not part of the priestly class necessarily, but his duties were to maintain the synagogue and organize worship serves and administration. This man was also rich; note how big his house was (vv. 38-39). But what is wealth when your daughter is dying? Mark’s version preserves the name of the synagogue ruler (Jairus), and Luke follows him. In Mark’s version, Jairus was one of the synagogue rulers, so he was part of a committee of sorts. Or it could just mean a “certain” synagogue ruler.

“fell before”: this one verb in Greek can often be translated as “worship,” but here he fell before him. He prostrated himself. The ruler was desperate and shows proper respect. His humility leads to his answer.


“little daughter”: Mark adds the diminutive “little.” It adds poignancy to the story.

“at her end” it means she is at the end of her life. She was about to die. She was in extremis.

The synagogue ruler had some faith in him. If Jesus comes and lays hands on her, she shall be saved and live.

“healed”: The verb is sōzō (pronounced soh-zoh and used 106 times in the NT), and is passive (“be saved”). Since the theology of salvation (soteriology) is so critical for our lives, let’s look more closely at the noun salvation, which is sōtēria (pronounced soh-tay-ree-ah and used 46 times) and at the verb sōzō (pronounced soh-zoh and used 106 times)

Greek is the language of the NT. BDAG, considered by many to be the authoritative lexicon of the Greek NT, defines the noun sōtēria as follows, depending on the context: (1) “deliverance, preservation” … (2) “salvation.”

The verb sōzō means “save, rescue, heal” in a variety of contexts, but mostly it is used of saving the soul. BDAG says that the verb means, depending on the context: (1) “to preserve or rescue from natural dangers and afflictions, save, keep from harm, preserve,” and the sub-definitions under no. 1 are as follows: save from death; bring out safely; save from disease; keep, preserve in good condition; thrive, prosper, get on well; (2) “to save or preserve from transcendent danger or destruction, save or preserve from ‘eternal’ death … “bring Messianic salvation, bring to salvation,” and in the passive voice it means “be saved, attain salvation”; (3) some passages in the NT say we fit under the first and second definition at the same time (Mark 8:5; Luke 9:24; Rom. 9:27; 1 Cor. 3:15).

Clearly the first definition and “saved from death” is the best one here

As noted throughout this commentary on Mark, the noun salvation and the verb save go a lot farther than just preparing the soul to go on to heaven. Together, they have additional benefits: keeping and preserving and rescuing from harm and dangers; saving or freeing from diseases and demonic oppression; and saving or rescuing from sin dominating us; ushering into heaven and rescuing us from final judgment. What is our response to the gift of salvation? You are grateful and then you are moved to act. When you help or rescue one man from homelessness or an orphan from his oppression, you have moved one giant step towards salvation of his soul. Sometimes feeding a hungry man and giving clothes to the naked or taking him to a medical clinic come before saving his soul.

All of it is a package called salvation and being saved.

Word Study on Salvation

What Does ‘Salvation’ Mean?

What Is the Work of Salvation?


This half verse, completed in the next pericope, is interrupted by an appropriately strong-minded and bold woman—though not so bold that she approaches him to his face. But she does show resolve. But let’s wait until her story is told, next.

GrowApp for Mark 5:21-24a

A.. It was a fact that Jairus’s daughter was dying, yet he seemed to have some humility and faith. When you got a bad report from the “facts,” how did you respond? In faith or desperation (not the same thing)?

Jesus Heals Woman with Issue of Blood (Mark 5:24b-34)

καὶ ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ ὄχλος πολὺς καὶ συνέθλιβον αὐτόν.

25 Καὶ γυνὴ οὖσα ἐν ῥύσει αἵματος δώδεκα ἔτη 26 καὶ πολλὰ παθοῦσα ὑπὸ πολλῶν ἰατρῶν καὶ δαπανήσασα τὰ παρ’ αὐτῆς πάντα καὶ μηδὲν ὠφεληθεῖσα ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εἰς τὸ χεῖρον ἐλθοῦσα, 27 ἀκούσασα περὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, ἐλθοῦσα ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ὄπισθεν ἥψατο τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ· 28 ἔλεγεν γὰρ ὅτι ἐὰν ἅψωμαι κἂν τῶν ἱματίων αὐτοῦ σωθήσομαι. 29 καὶ εὐθὺς ἐξηράνθη ἡ πηγὴ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτῆς καὶ ἔγνω τῷ σώματι ὅτι ἴαται ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγος. 30 καὶ εὐθὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐπιγνοὺς ἐν ἑαυτῷ τὴν ἐξ αὐτοῦ δύναμιν ἐξελθοῦσαν ἐπιστραφεὶς ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ἔλεγεν· τίς μου ἥψατο τῶν ἱματίων; 31 καὶ ἔλεγον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ· βλέπεις τὸν ὄχλον συνθλίβοντά σε καὶ λέγεις· τίς μου ἥψατο; 32 καὶ περιεβλέπετο ἰδεῖν τὴν τοῦτο ποιήσασαν. 33 ἡ δὲ γυνὴ φοβηθεῖσα καὶ τρέμουσα, εἰδυῖα ὃ γέγονεν αὐτῇ, ἦλθεν καὶ προσέπεσεν αὐτῷ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν. 34 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ· θυγάτηρ, ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε· ὕπαγε εἰς εἰρήνην καὶ ἴσθι ὑγιὴς ἀπὸ τῆς μάστιγός σου.

24b A huge crowd was following him and pressing him. 25 A woman, having an issue of blood for twelve years, 26 suffering greatly by many physicians, spending everything she had but in spite of this not benefiting at all, but instead getting worse, 27 hearing about Jesus, she, coming in the crowd, touched his garment from behind. 28 For she was saying, “If I just touch his cloak, I will be healed.” 29 Instantly her flow of blood dried up and she knew in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30 Instantly Jesus recognized in himself that power from him went out, and he turned around in the crowd and was saying, “Who touched my cloak?” 31 His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing you and you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He was looking around to see who did this. 33 And the woman, frightened and trembling, knowing what happened to her, came and fell before him and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be healthy from your affliction.”


For those interested in a literary feature, the placement of this pericope in the middle of the synagogue ruler’s story is called intercalation (“sandwiching”). It adds vivid storytelling (and I believe it happened this way too). In his ministry, Jesus had to pivot quickly to meet the hungry people’s needs—those hungry for God and his Son.


Mark informs his readers of the background. The crowd was pressing him. Mark’s readers were asking themselves: Why is this fact important? They are about to find out that everyone near him was touching him, but only one woman touched him in faith and got her healing.


I couldn’t resist a string of participles, because that’s how the Greek reads. The main clause reads: “A woman … touched his garment.” All the participles add to the scene. She was desperate, which drove her forward. You have to reach out for your miracle. You cannot be passive and have faith.

For your information, in his version Dr. Luke does not go into the detail that she was suffering by the doctors, and was not benefiting from their treatment, but getting worse.

“blood”: what caused her inability to stop the blood flow for twelve years? A cyst? A lesion? We don’t know, but God did. Read the laws in Lev. 15:19-30 at my post:

Childbirth, Bodily Discharges in Leviticus 12, 15 from a NT Perspective

She herself was unclean. Anything she sat on was unclean. Anyone who touched her was unclean. If anyone touches her or anything she touched, then he shall have to rinse his hands, but if he does not, then he has to take a bath and wash his clothes. The rituals go on. I can understand the law from a sanitation point of view. Bodily fluids from a man (Lev. 15:3-6, 16-17) or woman can spread disease, without proper washing. Good law. Yet it is still remarkable that he did not mind one bit about her touching him. He was clean, and she was unclean. When the story finishes, she was made clean.


She got her healing, instantly. The verb could be translated as “saved.” The verb is sōzō (pronounced soh-zoh and used 106 times in the NT). Here it is to be translated as “healed.” See v. 23 for more details on this rich word.

“affliction”: It is the Greek noun mastix (pronounced ma-stix), and it literally means “whip, lash” (Acts 22:24; Heb. 11:36); figuratively it means “torment, suffering, illness” (Mark 3:10; 5:29, 34; Luke 7:21). And in those verses, that’s all the times the noun appears in the NT.

The verb is mastigoō (pronounced ma-stee-go-oh), and it literally means “whip, flog, scourge” (Matt 10:17; 20:19; 23:34; Mark 10:34; Luke 18:33; John 19:1); figuratively it means “punish” or “chastise” (Heb 12:6). Those are all the times this verb appears in the NT.

Still another verb is mastizō (pronounced ma-stee-zoh), and it means “scourge” or “whip” or “flog” (Acts 22:25, and it appears only once).

Source for those definitions: Shorter Lexicon.

In the context of diseases, the noun mastix means to be afflicted and tormented with diseases and bodily ailments. Anyone who has suffered from a disease, as common as a strong flu, feels afflicted or tormented in body.


“power”: it is the noun dunamis (pronounced doo-nah-mees): It is often translated as “power,” but also “miracle” or “miraculous power.” It means power in action, not static, but kinetic. It moves. Yes, we get our word dynamite from it, but God is never out of control, like dynamite is. Its purpose is to usher in the kingdom of God and repair and restore broken humanity, both in body and soul. For nearly all the references of that word and a developed theology, please click on my post here:

What Are Signs and Wonders and Miracles?

“from him”: Renewalists believe that the healing power of God can flow out of a person. They can sense information in their body. Jesus was walking through another crowd, and when they touched him, healing came from him, and the people were healed (Luke 6:19). That is a remarkable phenomenon. Here the people do not seem to have the same level of faith in him. But she did.

Mark uses the imperfect tense, which means Jesus “was saying,” as if the action had a continuous quality to it.


The disciples were using logic without discerning the sequence of events and therefore were surprised at his question.

“disciples”: The noun is mathētēs (singular and pronounced mah-they-tayss), and it is used 261 times in the NT, though many of them are duplicates in the three synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. BDAG says of the noun (1) “one who engages in learning through instruction from another, pupil, apprentice”; (2) “one who is rather constantly associated with someone who has a pedagogical reputation or a particular set of views, disciple, adherent.”

Word Study on Disciple


“looking around”: Once again the verb is imperfect, indicating that he was doing this for a few seconds, in a process. She slinked away, after all, and hid in the crowd. His looking stopped everyone. He called out: “Who touched me?” The crowd must have fell silent. Would she come forward? The next verse answers the question.


Her humility and fear and trembling are very moving to me. She fell before him. Wow. She had sneaked up to him, from behind, unseen by him. She must have asked herself: Is he going to scold me? “You! You made me unclean! Shame on you! Now I withdraw your healing! Leave my presence, woman!” She told him the whole truth. He found out about her uncleanness and desperation. Now he was going to scold her, right? No. Just the opposite. Jesus values active faith. O ye people who read these words in the commentary! Let your faith be active as it reaches out to Jesus!

In his comments on vv. 30-33, France writes:

Jesus’ sudden challenge takes everyone by surprise. The commonsense response of the disciples (to which Jesus does not even deign to reply) serves to heighten the peculiarity of his question; how can one ‘touch’ be singled out among a jostling crowd? The effect is again to set Jesus apart as one with supernatural insight, who can perceive the special situation of the one among the many. That supernatural insight does not, however, apparently extend to an instant recognition of the culprit, and the woman, who has already begun to make her escape, is obliged to return … and own up to her temerity. Her fear may derive not only from her awe in the presence of the miraculous healer and the general embarrassment of the situation, but also from the awareness that in touching Jesus without permission she has made him ritually unclean; if that is the case, however, neither Jesus nor Mark mentions the point.


He calls her “daughter.” Let’s say she reached puberty at age twelve. When did she get her blood flow that did not stop for twelve years? At fourteen or fifteen years old? Twenty? Whatever her age, we have to add twelve years on to it. So she was at least in her mid-twenties, maybe in her thirties. So when Jesus called her “daughter,” he was showing, yes, authority, but also compassion. He saw himself as a minister-Rabbi to her. Another reason he call her daughter is to inform her that despite her disqualifying ailment, she really is part of his new and true family (see his comments at 3:31-35). He accepts her.

“faith”: the noun is pistis (pronounced peace-teace), and it is used 243 times. Its basic meaning is the “belief, trust, confidence,” and it can also mean “faithfulness” and “trustworthy” (Mounce p. 232). It is directional, and the best direction is faith in God (Mark 11:22; 1 Thess. 1:8; 1 Pet. 1:21; Heb. 6:1) and faith in Jesus (Acts 3:16; 20:21; 24:24; Gal. 3:26; Eph. 1:15; Col. 1:4; 1 Tim. 3:13). Believing (verb) and faith (noun) is very important to God. It is the language of heaven. We live on earth and by faith see the invisible world where God is. We must believe he exists; then we must exercise our faith to believe he loves us and intends to save us. We must have saving faith by trusting in Jesus and his finished work on the cross. True acronym:



Forsaking All, I Trust Him

Let’s discuss the verb believe and the noun faith more deeply. It is the language of the kingdom of God. It is how God expects us to relate to him. It is the opposite of doubt, which is manifested in whining and complaining and fear. Instead, faith is, first, a gift that God has distributed to everyone (Rom. 12:3). Second, it is directional (Rom. 10:9-11; Acts 20:21). We cannot rightly have faith in faith. It must be faith in God through Christ. Third, faith in Christ is different from faith in one’s ability to follow God on one’s own. It is different from keeping hundreds of religious laws and rules. This is one of Luke’s main themes in Acts, culminating in the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) and Paul’s ministry for the rest of Acts. Faith in Jesus over faith in law keeping. Fourth, there is faith as a set of beliefs and doctrines, which are built on Scripture (Acts 6:7). Fifth, there is also a surge of faith that is poured out and transmitted through the Spirit when people need it most (1 Cor. 12:9). It is one of the nine charismata or manifestations of grace (1 Cor 12:7-11). Sixth, one can build faith and starve doubt by feasting on Scripture and the words about Christ (Rom. 10:17).

Faith has to reach out. It is active, not static. It connects with the power of God.

Word Study on Faith and Faithfulness

“peace”: It speaks of more than just the absence of war. It can mean prosperity and well-being. It can mean peace in your heart and peace with your neighbor. Best of all, it means peace with God, because he reconciled us to him.

Let’s explore more deeply the peace that God brings.

This word in Hebrew is shalom and means well being, both in the soul and in circumstances, and it means, yes, prosperity, because the farm in an agricultural society would experience well being and harmony and growth. The crops would not fail and the livestock would reproduce. Society and the individual would live in peace and contentment and harmony. Deut. 28:1-14 describes the blessings for obedience, a man and his family and business enjoying divine goodness and benefits and material benefits.

With that background, let’s explore the Greek word, which overlaps with shalom. It is the noun eirēnē (pronounced ay-ray-nay, used 92 times, and we get the name Irene from it). One specialist defines it: “Peace is a state of being that lacks nothing and has no fear of being troubled in its tranquility; it is euphoria coupled with security. … This peace is God’s favor bestowed on his people.” (Mounce, p. 503).

BDAG has this definition for the noun: (2) It is “a state of well-being, peace.” Through salvation we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). We have peace that has been brought through Christ (Col. 3:15). We are to run towards the goal of peace (2 Pet. 3:14; Rom. 8:6). It is the essential characteristic of the Messianic Age (Acts 10:36; Rom. 10:15). An angel greeted and promised the shepherds peace on earth for those in whom God is well pleased, at the birth of the Messiah (Luke 2:29). In the entire Gospel of Luke, Jesus was ushering in the kingdom of God.

Word Study on Peace

Do I Really Know God? He Is the God of Peace

In this case, peace is related to wholeness. It is also related to the word “healthy.” It could also be translated “sound” “physically well” or “free” from your affliction. It can be translated as “undamaged” (BDAG). So it looks like her healing left her body undamaged and was complete.

In this pericope, both physical and spiritual healing or salvation is in mind. Her affliction excluded her from participation in Israel’s worship, but not in God’s new family. Further, for all we know, she either had been married but her husband divorced her, or she was never married because of her affliction. The text is silent, but let’s face it. She was not marriageable or worthy to remain happily married, by the standards of society back then. But Jesus made her “undamaged” goods.

“affliction”: see v. 29 for more comments on the noun mastix.

GrowApp for Mark 5:24b-34

A.. She reached out to him in faith. Her faith was active, not passive. How about your faith? It is active and outreaching, or passive and idle? How was her (and your) faith activated?

Jesus Raises Up Jairus’s Daughter, Part 2 (Mark 5:35-43)

35 Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος ἔρχονται ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀρχισυναγώγου λέγοντες ὅτι ἡ θυγάτηρ σου ἀπέθανεν· τί ἔτι σκύλλεις τὸν διδάσκαλον; 36 ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς παρακούσας τὸν λόγον λαλούμενον λέγει τῷ ἀρχισυναγώγῳ· μὴ φοβοῦ, μόνον πίστευε. 37 καὶ οὐκ ἀφῆκεν οὐδένα μετ’ αὐτοῦ συνακολουθῆσαι εἰ μὴ τὸν Πέτρον καὶ Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάννην τὸν ἀδελφὸν Ἰακώβου. 38 καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ ἀρχισυναγώγου, καὶ θεωρεῖ θόρυβον καὶ κλαίοντας καὶ ἀλαλάζοντας πολλά, 39 καὶ εἰσελθὼν λέγει αὐτοῖς· τί θορυβεῖσθε καὶ κλαίετε; τὸ παιδίον οὐκ ἀπέθανεν ἀλλὰ καθεύδει. 40 καὶ κατεγέλων αὐτοῦ. αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκβαλὼν πάντας παραλαμβάνει τὸν πατέρα τοῦ παιδίου καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ τοὺς μετ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰσπορεύεται ὅπου ἦν τὸ παιδίον. 41 καὶ κρατήσας τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ παιδίου λέγει αὐτῇ· ταλιθα κουμ, ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον· τὸ κοράσιον, σοὶ λέγω, ἔγειρε. 42 καὶ εὐθὺς ἀνέστη τὸ κοράσιον καὶ περιεπάτει· ἦν γὰρ ἐτῶν δώδεκα. καὶ ἐξέστησαν [εὐθὺς] ἐκστάσει μεγάλῃ. 43 καὶ διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς πολλὰ ἵνα μηδεὶς γνοῖ τοῦτο, καὶ εἶπεν δοθῆναι αὐτῇ φαγεῖν. 35 While he was still speaking, they came from the synagogue ruler’s household, saying, “Your daughter has died. Why bother the teacher anymore?” 36 But Jesus, ignoring the spoken message, said to the synagogue ruler, “Don’t fear, only believe!” 37 He did not allow anyone to accompany him except Peter, James, and John (James’s brother). 38 They went into the synagogue ruler’s home and observed a big commotion and weeping and loud wailing. 39 Going in, he said to them, “Why are you distraught and weeping? The child has not died but is sleeping.” 40 They laughed him to scorn. But he shooed everyone outside and took the child’s father and mother and those with him and entered where the child was. 41 Taking the child’s hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum!” (This is interpreted as “Little girl,” I say to you, “arise!”) 42 Instantly the little girl stood up and walked around (for she was twelve years old). They were really, really stunned. 43 He gave them strict orders that no one should know this. Then he said to give her something to eat.



A bad report had come. And now a worse report than before is delivered, because she had been dying. She wasn’t dead yet. There was still hope. Then the ultimate bad report arrived. She was dead. Stop the whole plea and procession. He no longer needs to come to Jairus’s house. No more hope.

Maybe Jairus said to himself that if that unclean woman had not interfered, then Jesus would have been to his house already. But Jesus had a call and mission. He was going to his house to heal her (vv. 23-24b).

Jesus ignored or paid no attention to the bad report. The verb is the standard one for hear or listen, and Mark adds a prefix to it that means the opposite. So these translations are apt: “paid no attention” or “ignored” or “did not heed” or “did not listen to” in the sense of knocking him off from his mission. He countered the spoken message with faith. “Don’t fear!” That’s a command with the standard verb for fear (phobeomai, pronounced foh-beh-o-my), and here it means the fear that paralyzes you and stops your faith. But Jesus told him not to fear. That’s exactly what those with the gift of healing must do. They must speak words of faith after the doctor speaks (accurate) words of science. Natural and medical facts do not have the last word. God does.

“believe”: the verb is pisteuō (pronounced pea-stew-oh) and means to “believe, be convinced of something.” The command could be translated as “Just believe.” See v. 34 for a deeper look at believing.


The Inner Three. I wonder how the other nine felt about being left out? What about Peter’s brother Andrew? In any case, these three are about learn by modeling how to heal the sick and raise the dead. Recall that Peter raised Dorcas-Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9:36-43) in much the same way Jesus raised this girl from the dead (see comments at vv. 41-42, below).


Were the weepers and mourners in the house—no doubt a big house to host all the people who were there? Mark says that when they got to the house the crowd was outside weeping and wailing and then some were emoting inside the house too. Luke assumes that the readers would guess that the crowd would be outside too, in his version. It is not good to allow in doubters and skeptics and those who don’t have faith.

Sleeping is a common metaphor for death (John 11:11-14; 1 Cor. 15:21; 1 Thess. 4:13-14). Jesus was about to interrupt the girl’s temporary pause in her mortal life (Strauss, p. 234).


Jesus was about to teach the crowd a lesson by speaking words of irony, a deeper truth. Yes, the girl really was dead, but it is as if she were sleeping, as far as his limitless perspective was concerned. To them, she really was dead. To him, she was only asleep. This means that Jesus gave them hope. But rather than celebrate, they ridiculed, because they were operating according to what they saw. The Greek word for ridiculed has a sharp edge to it, implying “scorned, mocked him.” They used their own eyes and tested her breath and concluded, correctly, that she was dead. But Jesus sized up the true and higher situation—he was the resurrection and the life (John 11:17-27)—and concluded that this raising her from the dead was easy for him. She was merely sleeping. Now all he had to do was wake her up. So the lesson he was teaching the crowd was that nothing is impossible with God. He didn’t defend himself or give a theology lesson. He acted. He healed her. That quieted the mockery.

“he shooed them outside”: no doubt the three men helped “facilitate” the crowd or expelled them. It was aggressive action: “Now people! Just back away from the house. You aren’t allowed in! And you inside, shoo, shoo! Let the Teacher handle this!” Crowd control is important, too. Apparently this crowd did not have much faith, unlike the crowd in Mark 2:10, who touched the Lord, and they were healed. This crowd on this day was a distraction. Crowds are fickle. Don’t listen to them.

The child’s mother is mentioned for the first time. She may have gone outside to greet the Lord and the three disciples. But the parents have ultimate authority over the twelve-year-old, so they had to be in their own house with their only child.

See your situation from a God’s-eye view. Have faith. Don’t doubt or fear. Your perspective and ability are limited. God’s perspective is infinite and his power to heal when his Son is on the scene speaking words of faith is strong.

Jesus took decisive action and shooed them out—or his disciples did. The Greek could be translated as “expelled.”


Now Jesus initiates action because he knew the results.

First, he took her by the hand. That act takes faith in his Father, who was about to work a miracle.

Talitha koum”: it is an Aramaic term, which Mark conveniently translates for his Greek readers. Please don’t turn it into a magical formula or incantation.

“arise”: it could be translated simply as “get up!”

This process will be repeated in 9:27: “grasping,” “raising,” “getting up” (Strauss’s comment on 9:27).

In a related episode, Peter will raise Tabitha-Dorcas from the dead, and he shooed the weepers and mourners out of the room (Acts 9:36-43). Peter too will also command the girl to get up, and she will. He learned from his Lord and was in fact filled with the Spirit of the Lord (Acts 2:1-4), who empowered him to work the same miracle. But the Father through his Son actually worked the miracle by the power of the Spirit.

Other accounts of resurrections (resuscitations) are recorded in the OT. In contrast to Jesus, who moved with more authority, Elijah stretched himself over a boy and raised him from the dead (1 Kings 17:21), and Elisha touched a child with his staff and then later lay over him (2 Kings 4:31, 34-35).

Second, Jesus issued a command and took the girl by the hand to get her up. You have to take action and help people move towards faith. And don’t hesitate to speak to the person or to the disease. In Luke’s version, Jesus called out. Even professional grammarians, so reserved in their comments, add these nuggets:

The verb here [phōneō] could either be used in the sense of ‘to speak with considerable volume or loudness’ … or ‘to communicate directly or indirectly to someone who is presumably at a distance, in order to tell such a person to come.’ On the one hand, the former fits with the notion that the girl is ‘sleeping (v. 52) and needs to be roused from her sleep’ … On the other hand, the context also suggests that Jesus is summoning the girl back from death. (Culy, Parsons, Stigall, Luke: Handbook the Greek Text, [Baylor UP, 2010] p. 294)

That’s profound. In other words, Jesus used a loud voice to rouse her from “sleep” or to call her back from the dead. He spoke into the Other World and ordered her back home into her body. Wow. A deep lesson there.

Third, while he took her hand and called out, her spirit returned to her. It had been absent from her body. Where was it while she was dead? We don’t know for sure, but it was probably heading towards God.

What Happens to Children after They Die?

Fourth, he ordered those in the household to give her something to eat (v. 43). Apparently he perceived she needed strength. She had not eaten for a time. Dying does that to someone!

This girl’s “resurrection” is not the same as Jesus’s resurrection, for his body was transformed and glorified. Her body simply recovered from the dead and when she was older she died, like everyone else of her generation. So we should call it a “resuscitation” from the dead.


Jesus then gives a seemingly odd command. So many people witnessed the results—the girl was dead; now she is alive—but he orders or instructs the parents not to tell anyone what happened. He often downplayed the miracles and his Messianic title before people outside of the twelve (Luke 4:35, 41; 5:14; 8:56; Matt. 9:30; 12:16; Mark 1:34; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He wanted to teach them, not dazzle and thrill them with signs and wonders.

I believe this seemingly useless order meant three possible things, with the third one being the most likely:

First, Jesus had a conversation with Jairus on the way to his house (v. 36), in compressed form. He assured him that she would live. In an expanded conversation, not recorded here, he may have even said that he was the resurrection (John 11:25). He did not want the fuller message to get out. But this possible reason draws much from the silence of the text, so let’s be cautious with this one.

Second, he did not want the parents to reveal the details of what happened, outlined in those four actions he took raise her from the dead (vv. 41-42). As noted with Peter’s story in Acts, Jesus is the one who raised this only child from the dead. No one should believe that he can also work miracles outside of the Father’s authority, much like the seven sons of Sceva thought they could cast out demons (Acts 19:14) (though Jesus didn’t mind when someone else tried to cast out demons [Luke 9:49-50], but that was when the Lord was still ministering on earth. The man may have followed Jesus for a time and learned some things and then went out on his own).

Third, Jairus the synagogue ruler would have had enough knowledge to make the connection that raising the dead was the sign of the Messiah, and Jesus did not want this fact to be announced by an authority figure like Jairus. At this early stage in his ministry, Jesus preferred the people to just be happy with the miracle and be rebuked for laughing him to scorn.

Maybe all three reasons are possible at the same time, but the third one is the strongest.

Let’s further explore the order not to broadcast the miracle.

First, Jesus simply wanted to spread the message his way without the false expectations from noninformed people. Second, the exuberant expectation from the masses may spark an insurrection, which would hinder his message and his mission: to proclaim the kingdom of God, backed up by sings and wonders. People had to learn about his Messiahship through their thirst and hunger for the knowledge of God. They had to connect the dots. This is one of the purposes of teaching in parables. Only the hungry seekers could understand.

Let’s talk about the signs of the Messiah or the Messianic Age, to find out which dots they had to connect.

As I note in various places throughout the commentary on the Gospels, one sign of the Messianic Age was the healing of diseases and broken bodies. Is. 35 describes this age. After God comes with a vengeance to rescue his people, these things will happen:

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy” (Is. 35:5-6).

Is. 26:19 says of the Messianic Age: “But your dead will live, LORD, their bodies will rise—let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout with joy” (Is. 26:19, NIV).

The phrase “in that day” refers to the age that the Messiah ushers in: “In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll and out of gloom and darkness the eyes will see” (Is. 29:18, NIV).

The Lord’s Chosen Servant will do many things. Here are some: “I am the LORD: I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for my people, a light for the nations, to open they eyes that are blind, to bring the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness” (Is. 42:6-7, ESV). Is. 42:18 connects hearing and seeing with walking in God’s ways, and deafness and blindness with national judgment. As for leprosy, Jesus referred to the time when Elijah the prophet healed Namaan the Syrian of his skin disease, and the return of Elijah was a sign that the Messiah was here (Mal. 4:5-6; Luke 9:28-36).

GrowApp for Mark 5:35-43

A.. When you get a bad report—a real, live fact–what do you do? Panic and fear or “only believe”? Can you hear Jesus’s words spoken to Jairus two thousand years ago speaking to you today?

Summary and Conclusion

Jesus reached out to an oppressed man in Gentile territory. He was reclaiming territory from Satan, but he did not speak out into the atmosphere; rather, he simply rebuked the demon, soon to be found out that it was a small army of demons. The demons had defeated, deformed, defaced and debilitated the poor man, who was an outcast. He shrieked at night and cut himself with stones. The image of God in him was pushed aside and destroyed (Gen. 1:26-27). The ancient text of Genesis says that humankind was called to have dominion over animals. But now people tried to chain him up and tame him like wild animal. The demonic attack dehumanized him and turned him into an animal. He had lost his personhood. But then Jesus came on the scene and transformed him. Jesus can do the same for you. He left the man there to be a witness to his countrymen. He was his outreach vessel. The mission of Jesus expanded. It can now expand through you. Just tell your story.

Then we have two interwoven stories: one a man of high social standing, and the other a woman of low social status. She was an outcast because of her impurity. Jewish law did not allow her to participate fully in Judaism. She could not enter sacred ground or touch anyone. She took great risk to go through a crowd. What if someone touched her? In the comments section, I speculated that she never got married, or her husband, if she did marry, had reason to divorce her. And divorce in Jewish law was easy for the men (Mark 10:1-12). She was not a marriageable woman. She walked alone. Jairus was a man a high society. The size of his house indicates that he was rich. No doubt he owned land. He may have even invested in some shipping, where wealth can accumulate quickly—we don’t know—but big houses denote wealth. He threw himself at the feet of Jesus, humbling himself. Desperation does that to a man. Jesus was probably ministering close to his new home base of operation: Capernaum. Jairus must have been open to Jesus, not allying himself with those who rejected him. He had heard about all the healings and big crowds. Now it was his turn for a miracle.

The one thing that equalized the two divergent persons was faith. Jesus told the man: “don’t fear, only believe.” Jairus heard a bad report. Jesus delayed going to his house because of an unclean woman. Was Jairus secretly angry at the interruption? Probably not (but I would be). He stood behind Jesus, when he and the Inner Three got to his house. It is amazing to me that Jesus walked and healed with such confidence. He had heard from God. No doubt at least one person in the area died that month, but Jesus did not raise them up. He could see Jairus’s desperate plea and he would turn it into faith. And it happened. He too got his miracle. Don’t allow Satan to attack your mind with unbelief. Don’t allow your mind to turn against itself and devolve into unbelief. Seek God hard, when you are desperate. No, don’t weep and wail like the professional mourners did. That’s not faith. Jesus had to put them out of the house—especially when they laughed at him. Their sneering, mocking unbelief excluded them from the story of victory; they were not part of the miracle. Instead, follow Jesus’s word: “don’t fear, only believe” (or “keep on believing”).

Fear ≠ Faith

Faith stands alone, on God’s word.


Decker, Rodney J. Mark 1-8: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Baylor UP, 2014).

France, R. T. The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Eerdmans, 2002).

Garland, David E. Mark: The NIV Application Commentary (Zondervan, 1996).

Lane, William L. Mark: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes (Eerdmans, 1974).

Strauss, Mark L. Mark: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Zondervan, 2014).

The Greek New Testament. Fifth Revised Edition by Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger (United Bible Society, 1993). The Greek text in the tables comes from the Nestle-Aland 28th ed, available here:

Wessel, Walter W. and Mark L. Strauss. Mark: The Bible’s Expositor’s Commentary, Vol. 9, Rev. ed. (Zondervan 2010).

Works Cited

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