Matt Carter speaks on Mark 5:21-42
Series: Jesus, The Person Of Power
When we talk about Jesus, we tend to focus on His humanity. We have a tendency in our thinking to lean towards the human aspect of His nature. It’s because He’s an amazing human and wonderful person.
When you read the gospels, you see the way He talks to people and interacts with them. You quickly realize that Jesus was a human. He was compassionate. He was kind, and gentle, and merciful, and forgiving.
Its easy to forget that Jesus had another aspect to his nature.
Jesus was not just fully man, but he was also fully God.
“For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” Colossians 2:9 (ESV)
Paul is describing an interaction between the Lord’s divinity and His ‘humanness’. He’s saying that Jesus was God in a human body. In His body, Jesus had all that God is and encompasses.
We need our thinking about Jesus to evolve. When we think about and interact with Him, we should not just look at Him and pray to Him as a wonderful person, who is full of tenderness, love and compassion. We should see Him as a person of ultimate power.
The fullness of God dwelled in Him. That is who we worship, know and love.
Last week we saw Jesus encounter a guy who was arguably the most messed up guy in all of the Bible. He lived in a graveyard and would stay up all night shrieking and screaming and cutting himself with rocks. We learned the source of his torment was he was demon possessed. The demons actually started talking to Jesus and calling themselves Legion, which is a Roman military term. It means a group of roman soldiers which could number up to eight thousand soldiers. Jesus tells these demons to get lost, they leave the guy and Jesus completely heals the man, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Through this story we see that Jesus uses His ultimate power not to oppress us, (which He could have), but rather to set us free from our brokenness.
Three Arenas of Power
There are three different arenas of life where Jesus has ultimate power, authority and dominion.
• Jesus has ultimate power over demonic forces, the forces of Satan.
• Jesus has ultimate power over human sickness.
• Jesus has ultimate power over our ultimate enemy, death.
Jesus’ Power over Satan
As we think about last week’s message of Jesus healing the demon possessed man, its important to understand that was a story not just about Jesus having a tender and compassionate heart.
It was also a story about Jesus having the power to do something about the man’s brokenness.
You can see His power come forth in His interaction with the demons that possessed the man.
Theology of Demons
First of all, they’re real. I have heard enough stories from people whom I trust and believe and I’ve seen enough myself that I believe in demons. They are real.
Secondly, the Bible says demons are real.
But what are demons? Scripture tells us demons are fallen angels. Satan and a group of angels rebelled against God. They said they weren’t cool with being just His servants and not being equal with Him, so they rebelled. God kicked them out of heaven.
Now Satan and his group of fallen angels, whom we call demons, are in the world, continually working out evil in opposition against the gospel.
As we talk about how powerful Jesus really is, a good place to start is to talk about how powerful demons really are. Then we can begin to understand how great His power is over them. To get a picture of how powerful these demons are, we look at Acts 19.
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Acts 19:13 (ESV)
There was a group of Jewish exorcists who would find people that were demon possessed and try to cast the demons out. As they’re doing this, they heard there was a guy named Paul, who was having success in doing this by using the name of Jesus. These Jewish exorcists didn’t know who Jesus was, but they had heard that Paul was having success using His name, so they thought they’d do it too.
Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. Acts 19:14 (ESV)
What we’re about to see is a battle between seven Jewish exorcists and one demon. Its like an MMA fight between seven Jewish exorcists and a demon. The seven Jewish exorcists come into this house where a guy is demon possessed. One of them raises their hand and tells the demon in the name of Jesus he must get out. Watch what the demon does to these guys.
But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Acts 19:15-16 (ESV)
I love that story. These seven guys try to exorcise demons in the name of Jesus and the demon responds by saying he knows Jesus and Paul, but not them, then jumps on them, beats them down, strips them naked and kicks them out of the house. That was just one demon. It sounds pretty powerful.
What we’re about to see in Mark is Jesus, one man, is about to encounter not just one demon, but eight thousand demons. That’s doesn’t sound like a fair fight.
Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 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.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea. Mark 5:5-13 (ESV)
Look at the difference between the story in Acts and in the gospel of Mark.
In Acts, its seven Jewish exorcists against one demon. The demon beats them down and kicks them out.
But in Mark, with Jesus, its one man against eight thousand demons and they know exactly who He is, they call Him by His first name, they call Him by His title, Son of the Most High God, they throw themselves at His feet and beg for mercy.
“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” James 2:19 (ESV)
Why is that important to us? Why is it important for us to know that demons are terrified of Jesus and that He has complete control over them?
Scripture says you and I are, right now, in a battle with these demons. A lot of us don’t see it with our eyes, or don’t feel it, or understand it, because its not a part of the physical world we live in.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
We’re in a fight against those same forces that are in the book of Mark. In light of that, we’re not suppose to be afraid, but rather remember whose on our team.
Can demons attack us? Its very clear in Scripture the answer is yes. The book of Job is a clear picture of this.
Can they hurt you? Yes, again, the book of Job clearly points that out.
Can they have influence over the events in your life? Yes, they obviously can and do.
• Scripture teaches us that nothing happens to us apart from God’s permission. Nothing happens to us apart from God’s loving, sovereign control in our lives.
• The one who has power over the demons lives in you. He lives in you! If you’re in Christ Jesus today, Christ Jesus is in you.
I think most of us walk around not thinking about the fact that Jesus, who had complete dominion and control over every single demonic force, lives in you.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1John 4:4 (ESV)
The man who has ultimate power lives in us. We have access to that power.
Jesus’ Power over Human Sickness
And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him. Mark 5:21-24 (ESV)
Jesus just healed a guy possessed with eight thousand demons, immediately gets back in the boat, goes back across the sea of Galilee, and responds to a man whose little girl is dying.
While He follows the man toward his house something happens. Jesus gets interrupted.
And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. Mark 5:24-26 (ESV)
On his way to heal the little girl, there is a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years, full of disease.
Mark is trying to explain the suffering this woman is enduring. She spent all that she had, but was not healed. In other words, she was not only suffering from her disease, but also from her cures. She was completely spent emotionally, physically and financially. It was in that condition that she sees Jesus.
She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” Mark 5:27-28 (ESV)
She thinks in her mind that if she could just get her hands on His clothes, she would be healed. So in faith, she reaches out and touches Jesus.
And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:29-34 (ESV, emphasis added)
Look at verse thirty, there’s a key word. The word power. It’s the first time that Mark uses that word in his gospel. He’s showing us there’s something that just happened that is showing us more than just Jesus having a compassionate heart.
The word power is the Greek word dunamas, which is where we get our English word dynamite. Mark is explaining to us that power flowed out of Jesus and into this woman. He’s showing us that Jesus is more than just a man with a tender heart. He is a man that has the power to do something about our brokenness and illness.
Because Jesus has the power to heal you doesn’t mean that he’s always going to heal you. Scripture says that the apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh. Not a thorn in the spirit, but in the flesh. We don’t know what that thorn in the flesh was. It could have been epilepsy.
Paul says to the church he was thankful they didn’t spit on him. Back then, when someone was having an epileptic seizure, people would spit on them, because of superstition. They believed evil spirits would jump off the person and leap onto them. So they would spit on them to keep the evil spirits from doing so.
When Paul says he’s thankful they didn’t spit on him, some people speculate that it meant he had epilepsy. Some also speculate that he might have had very poor eye sight.
What we actually know is Paul begged God three times to heal him.
Three times God said no.
Some say its because Paul didn’t have enough faith. Yeah right.
If you read the context of this verse, the reason Paul got the thorn in his flesh is because he just saw heaven. The Lord revealed to him heaven. Paul says he received the thorn of the flesh to keep himself from bragging about the revelations he just saw. Its not because he didn’t have faith, its because he had faith that God gave him the thorn in the flesh.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9a (ESV)
Here’s what the Lord just said: sometimes He wants to show His ultimate power through healing you. But sometimes, He wants to show His ultimate power through not healing you, so that the world can see you depend on His grace through your suffering.
Either way, God is going to show up in your life with power.
Jesus’ Power over Death
While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler's house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” Mark 5:35-39 (ESV)
In the midst of this unbelievable sorrow and sadness, Jesus makes an interesting statement. He asks why everybody is crying, that the girl isn’t dead, she’s just asleep. The people are confused.
The only way you could ever look into the face of death and talk about it the way Jesus does is if you were about to defeat it. That’s exactly what Jesus is about to do.
And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child's father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise/” Mark 5:40-41 (ESV)
Jesus looks at the little girl and calls her Talitha. In English, that translates into “little girl”. In the original language it has a deeper and richer meaning. It was a pet name, a term of endearment that fathers called their daughters.
Jesus says, Talitha cumi. The word cumi is a very soft, gentle way of saying, “get up”.
He doesn’t say, “Little girl, be resurrected!” He doesn’t do it like he did with Lazarus saying, “Come forth!”
He just sits down on the bed, grabs her by the hand and says, “hey sweet girl, get up”.
Immediately the girl got up and began walking. Everybody was overcome with amazement.
This story should make us worship. Jesus just faced death, the greatest enemy and fear of the human race, and such was His power over it that He simply and gently lifts a little girl out of it.
When Jesus has you by the hand, its nothing more than a nap that you’re going to wake up from.
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55 (ESV)
We need to shift our thinking and let it grow about who Jesus is and how He interacts with us. He gets in boats, goes into foreign countries just to find us, to heal us and make us whole.
Whatever attack you’re going through right now, He’s greater than that attack. Whatever sickness or death you’re facing, He has overcome it in victory.
So what do we do with all of this that we’ve learned about Jesus?
The answer is found in what Jesus said to the little girl, “Do not fear, just believe”.