Three Healings – Mark 5
Read the Passage: Mark 5
Mark 5 narrates three separate miracles of Jesus, which are the ninth, tenth, and eleventh miracles of Christ that Mark records. Note that each of these miracles is also found in Matthew and Luke. The first miracle reported is the healing of the Gadarene demoniac. This miracle is significant in that it is the first miracle in Mark’s Gospel done outside of Galilee, it is the first miracle done for a Gentile, it is the first miracle that provokes fear among the crowd, and it is the first miracle that Jesus’ commands should be made public. Observe that the casting out of demons into a heard of swine, who then abruptly kill themselves, is meant to communicate: (1) the uncleanness of that from which the man had been delivered (cf. Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8); (2) the immense number of demons whom had been cast out (cf. Mark 5:9); and (3) the fact that the end result of all sin is death (cf. Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:23).
Mark’s account of the healing of Jairus’ daughter is noteworthy, for while each of the Synoptic Gospels narrates this miracle, Mark—the shortest of the Gospels—gives the longest and most detailed account of this event. Note that five of the nine previous miracles that Mark records involved healing. Therefore, Jairus’ request that Jesus heal his daughter is not unreasonable. However, given Jairus’ position as a ruler of the synagogue, as well as the other religious leaders’ general hostility toward Christ (cf. Mark 2:24; 3:6), Jairus’ faith is somewhat unexpected. Observe that Jesus’ earlier healing of a demon-possessed man (cf. Mark 1:21–28), which is the first miracle that Mark records, likely occurred in Jairus’ synagogue. As we’ll see in this narrative, Jairus’ daughter becomes the first person Jesus’ raises from the dead, and the fourth of nine individuals who are resurrected in the Bible.
Perhaps in order to highlight his emphasis upon faith in this chapter, Mark interrupts his narrative about Jairus’ daughter in order to give an account of the healing of a woman with an incurable flow of blood. Interestingly, both Matthew and Luke interrupt their accounts about Jairus’ daughter in order to narrate this same event. In comparing these two intertwined miracles we can draw several conclusions. First, it is clear that Jesus treats those with weak faith (cf. Mark 5:36) or strong faith (cf. Mark 5:28, 34) the same. Second, Christ ministers to leaders (cf. Mark 5:22) and to outcasts (cf. Mark 5:25) alike, showing equal kindness to both. Third, while physical healing and resurrection are great miracles, since both the woman and Jairus’ daughter eventually died, we can conclude that Jesus’ healing miracles are but a temporal earthy preview of an eternal heavenly glorification.
At Mark 5:35, news reaches Jesus and Jairus that his daughter had passed away. Matthew indicates that this news was not unexpected, for Jairus—anticipating his daughter’s death—had earlier said to Jesus, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hands on her and she will live” (Matt. 9:18). In response to the news, Jesus encouraged Jairus, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (Mark 5:36). Interestingly, at this point, Mark notes that Jesus “permitted no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John” (Mark 5:37). This is the first of four times that Mark references this special inner circle of disciples (cf. Mark 9:2; 13:3; 14:33). Next, with these three men in tow, Jesus came to Jairus’ house and saw “a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly” (Mark 5:38). When the crowd saw Jesus and heard His declaration that Jairus’ daughter was sleeping (cf. Mark 5:39), they ridiculed him.
After being ridiculed by the crowd, which indicates scorn and laughter, Mark records that Jesus put the crowd outside of the house. Then, in the presence of only Peter, James, John, Jairus, and Jairus’ wife, Christ “took the child by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha, cumi,’ which is translated, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’ Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement” (Mark 5:41–42). Interestingly, only Mark records the actual Aramaic words that Jesus spoke on this occasion, which is further evidence of Mark’s reliance upon Peter for information, for Peter was one of only six people present at the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter. Note that when Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s son (cf. Luke 7:14), as well as Lazarus (cf. John 11:43), He also spoke directly to the decedent, commanding each to arise from the dead.
- After telling others not to spread news of His miracles (cf. Mark 1:34, 44; 3:12; 5:43), why does Christ command the healed man differently (cf. Mark 5:19–20)?
- What do you think prompted such faith within Jairus? Would he have listened to and sought out Jesus if his daughter had not fallen ill?
- Why, at Mark 5:41, did Jesus ask, “Who touched Me?” Was Christ unaware that the woman with the flow of blood had been healed by His power?
- Why did Jesus only permit Peter, James, and John, as well as her parents, to witness the great miracle of the of raising Jairus’ daughter?
- Why are most people scared, or even terrified, of death? Are you scared of death? What are some commonalities between biblical accounts of resurrection?