For the full text of Mark 5, click here.
As we saw in chapter four, there continues to be the same events happening at slightly different times between this gospel and that of Matthew. The chapter begins with the story about the legion of demons possessing a man in Gerasenes. It is similar to a story from Matthew 8 with two men from Gadarenes who are possessed and have the demons go into some pigs. Both Gerasa and Gadara are in modern day Jordan but Gerasa is much further inland. Enough that I would hardly call it “the other side of the sea”. Regardless of which city it was and whether it was one man with a legion or two men with a demon each, the exchange between them and Jesus is pretty much the same and both accounts end with the pigs drowning and Jesus’s party getting kicked out of the town.
The next story is also in Matthew 9 where Jesus is on His way to heal the daughter of a ruler and a woman touches His garment to be healed along the way. Though this story is already covered, there are a few new details in this gospel. The ruler is the ruler of a synagogue which we did cover back in Matthew but this is where that is confirmed. Also, Mark gives us the ruler’s name, which is Jairus.
The woman who touches His garment plays out pretty much the same but I’m struck by that moment. She’s so sure that everything will be okay if she just touches something that’s touching Him. She doesn’t even need His absolute attention, not even an acknowledgement. What if it didn’t work? I mean, I get the idea that if He was mad, it would have been too late. If He was mad and it worked, the important thing would have been working. Yes, it’s wrong to be all “better to ask forgiveness than permission” with Jesus but she was bleeding for TWELVE YEARS. I don’t know about you, but I had a miscarriage that caused blood for three weeks before I was begging medical professionals to just make it stop. They could have said the only way to make it stop was hysterectomy and I would have considered it. This woman was bleeding for twelve years. I don’t really blame her.
On top of that, she was unclean for that long. Remember that in their culture and under the Law of Moses, she could not live among the people, could not offer sacrifice or atone for sins. She could not be touched. That said, whoever she did touch would normally become unclean just because she touched them. She risked putting this on Jesus and making Him unclean for the day. But after hearing so much about Him healing others that were considered unclean, I can see how this isn’t much of a consideration at that. Still, there are plenty of people who have a much easier time with sick people than periods.
Following this encounter, Jesus goes to see the Jarius’s daughter and not only tells everyone that she is sleeping and tells her to rise like in Matthew, but also includes that she was twelve years old and that He told them not to tell anyone, even though they did. How could anyone not say anything after something like that? I would hardly be able to contain myself if I thought my child was dead and then someone walked in and so effortlessly brought her back.