In the opening verses of this chapter, we behold the Lord Jesus and His little band of disciples in their boat, drawing close and landing upon the seashore after that miraculous calming of the stormy gale that they had experienced that night. And the first sight that met their eyes was a wild man running toward them on the shore – a man fearful to behold, who was possessed by an uncontrollable demon and did unusual and self-destructive things.
Jesus Christ came into this world to save lost and ruined humanity. His great objective was to deliver us out of the power of Satan; but He offers no mercy to those evil angels who had rebelled against Him in heaven, and who are now striving with Him for the sovereignty over mankind. With this in view, it was natural enough for the evil spirit that controlled this man to cry out, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God?” This demon had no hope in Christ; therefore, he only desired to be left alone. But let us now put the same question to ourselves, and see how we can answer it. “What have I to do with Jesus?” O that your reply, dear brother or sister, might be this: “I have everything to do with Him! He is my All in all, and my only hope. He is the Rock upon which I build for all eternity; He is the source of my present comfort, as well as of my future joy.” Can we say this? O that we may never view Christ as the demon did on the shores of the Sea of Galilee – as a tormentor, and not as a Savior. Those whom Satan has bound in his wretched captivity entertain awful views of Christ because they love the present world and its sinful pleasures, and they have no mind to renounce those things which are contrary to God’s will. Hence they try to put away all thoughts of Christ, because the thought of a rejected Savior is only a torment to them. If such is the case with any of us, may God open our eyes to see the danger before it is too late; for He is even now willing to save all who come unto Him with repentance and faith!
The legion of devils that held this poor man in bondage were intent on destruction, and so they begged Jesus to at least be allowed to go into a great herd of swine. These wicked spirits hoped that the destruction of the swine would arouse hatred in the minds of their owners toward Christ, for the love of worldly profit and the love of the Savior can never go together. And that is exactly what happened. The Gadarenes would not rejoice in the fact that the devil had been turned out of this poor man. Why? Because they were angry at the loss of their pigs. At the same time that Christ showed His miraculous power, He effected the destruction of the source of their unlawfully-gotten gains. Hence they begged Him to depart from them.
This poor man was miraculously released by Jesus from the power of Satan, and it was only natural for him to wish to abide with his merciful Deliverer; but for that time, Jesus desired him to show his love in another way. It is the same way with us. Christ has work for His people to do on earth, and He says to us – as He said to the man whom He had cured – “Go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee!”
In the history of the poor afflicted woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ robe, there is much instruction. For one thing, we see the vanity of all human help; for having spent all that she had upon her doctors, she was no better – but rather, she grew worse. The same is the case with our sinful souls. Despite all our own exertions, we shall not be bettered in any way; but rather, we shall grow worse unless we come to Christ! And we ought to observe that while many people followed Christ and thronged Him, it was upon this one woman alone that virtue went out of Him. So also, while many may gather to hear the preaching of the Gospel, Christ’s healing virtue only goes forth to those who approach Him as she did – with the touch of humble faith.
Jesus was on His way to heal the daughter of Jairus when this afflicted woman was healed. After that miracle, however, persons from Jairus’ house met him with some sad news. “Thy daughter is dead,” they told him; “why troubles thou the Master any further?” Now that last part of the sentence was the language of unbelief; and it represents the state of mind of many persons among us who occasionally make faint attempts to profit by the mercy which is offered to mankind through Jesus Christ, but they fall into temptations and despair. But instead of giving heed to the voice of despair, let such persons hear what Jesus says: “Be not afraid, only believe!” (verse 36) He is the Resurrection and the Life, in regard to both the soul and the body. Just as He raised the body of Jairus’ daughter from death; so also, He can raise to immortal life the soul that is dead in trespasses and sins.
But mark this: after Jesus had restored the life of the young girl, He did not wish her parents to suppose that she was to continue alive without using the proper means; He commanded that something should be given her to eat. Similarly, although we must trust wholly and entirely upon Christ for the life of our souls; we are not, therefore, to neglect the use of means. On the contrary, if Jesus has raised our souls from death to life, it is our business to feed upon the spiritual provision which He has made for us, and to walk in all the ways of holiness – as a proof of His grace and mercy to us. Then we may believe that when He shall return the second time, we shall appear with Him in glory!
Lord, we confess that our whole human nature has been reduced to a desperate state by the Fall, for thereby we have sold ourselves to be governed and dominated by the power of the devil. But we thank You for mercifully coming to us and driving the devil out of our hearts and lives! Amen.
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