Jesus is outside of Jewish Galilee, on the eastern side of the lake in a region called Gerasenes, which is a part of the Decapolis (ten cities). It is primarily Roman, which explains why Jesus was willing to allow the man to go and testify to what Jesus had done for him. People there weren’t looking for a Messiah, and the religious leadership wasn’t looking to kill Him!
In fact, Jesus scared them senseless. Here was a disturbed, crazy man, possessed by multiple demons, and here comes Jesus. He casts them out of the man, but the demons, recognizing Him, plea for mercy. Apparently, if Jesus casts them out, they end up somewhere they don’t want to go (8:31). He allows them to go into the pigs, which seems to drive the pigs mad, and they drown themselves. The residents can’t handle it and ask Him to leave!
Some points to ponder:
- Many Jews wouldn’t have wanted to be in the region of pig farmers, since pigs were unclean animals. Jesus went anyway.
- Some people wonder how Jesus could allow such a loss of livestock and money. One point being driven home is that the man is more valuable than any animals.
- Jesus is also giving us a picture of the end. The demons are concerned about going to the abyss, but we get a picture of what will ultimately happen to them. The event foreshadows when Satan and his demons are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
- When people catch a glimpse of the power and majesty of God it can be scary. If the Holy Spirit isn’t working on them the kind of awe that falls is one that can make them afraid.
- Isn’t it wonderful the kind of work that God can do in a life? Isn’t it wonderful what He has done in yours? Are you willing to tell others?
But there is another story here. A synagogue ruler has a sick twelve year old daughter, and he goes to Jesus for help. Not all of the religious leadership was against Jesus, just most of them! Jesus has to travel to her, and is it possible that He intentionally tarried on the way so that she would die? I think that it’s quite likely. He has a greater lesson to teach us: He is Lord and creator and has power over death! He tries to help them understand when He says that she is simply sleeping, but they ridicule Him. So Jesus raises her from the dead, and she becomes a foreshadowing of the resurrection that all believers will share.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22 “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
Note here that Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him. They are frequently with Him during significant events, and seem to form a sort of inner circle or leadership council.
On the way to help Jairus, Jesus heals a woman. The woman with the hemorrhage is a fascinating account that has brought about all kinds of speculation. I don’t believe that Jesus is a supernatural battery that someone just touches and gets a charge from. Jesus knew that He had been touched, knew what the problem was, and willingly honored her faith. Remember, lots of people had been touching Him, but she is the only one who was healed! Jesus asked who touched Him not out of ignorance, but because He wanted her to share her story. Hopefully we all have our own stories to tell about how God has helped us!