isn’t it – our view of Jesus Christ is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Those who expect little or nothing from Him find their attitude quite
confirmed. Here are some examples from the Scripture – from which we hope to
Mark 5:1-43 NASB
They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.
(2) When He got
out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met
Him, (3) and he
had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore,
even with a chain; (4)
because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had
been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was
strong enough to subdue him. (5)
Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the
mountains, and gashing himself with stones.
(6) Seeing Jesus from a
distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him;
(7) and shouting with a
loud voice, he *said, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son
of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!"
(8) For He had been
saying to him, "Come out of the man,
you unclean spirit!"
(9) And He was asking
him, "What is your name?"
And he *said to Him, "My name is Legion; for we are many."
(10) And he
began to implore
Him earnestly not to send them out of the country.
(11) Now there was a
large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain.
implored Him, saying, "Send us into the swine so that we may enter them."
(13) Jesus gave
them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and
the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand
of them; and
they were drowned in the sea. (14)
Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And
came to see what it was that had happened.
(15) They *came to
Jesus and *observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down,
clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the "legion"; and
they became frightened. (16)
Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the
demon-possessed man, and all
about the swine. (17)
And they began to implore Him to leave their region.
(18) As He was getting
into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that
he might accompany Him. (19)
And He did not let him, but He *said to him,
"Go home to your people and report to them
what great things the Lord has done for you, and
He had mercy on you."
(20) And he went away
and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him;
and everyone was amazed. (21)
When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large
crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore.
(22) One of the
synagogue officials named Jairus *came up, and on seeing Him, *fell at His
feet (23) and
*implored Him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of
come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live."
(24) And He went off
with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him.
(25) A woman who had
had a hemorrhage for twelve years,
(26) and had endured much at the hands of many
physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but
rather had grown worse-- (27)
after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind
Him and touched
His cloak. (28)
For she thought, "If I just touch His garments, I will get well."
(29) Immediately the
flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed
of her affliction. (30)
Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power
Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said,
"Who touched My garments?"
(31) And His
disciples said to Him, "You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say,
'Who touched Me?'" (32)
And He looked around to see the woman who had done this.
(33) But the woman
fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came 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 affliction."
(35) While He
was still speaking, they *came from the
house of the
synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher
But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, *said to the synagogue
official, "Do not be afraid
(37) And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except
Peter and James and John the brother of James.
(38) They *came to the
house of the synagogue official; and He *saw a commotion, and
weeping and wailing. (39)
And entering in, He *said to them,
"Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep."
at Him. But putting them all out, He *took along the child's father and
mother and His own companions, and *entered
the room where
the child was. (41)
Taking the child by the hand, He *said to her,
"Talitha kum!" (which
translated means, "Little girl, I say
to you, get up!").
(42) Immediately the
girl got up and began
to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely
And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He
said that something
should be given her to eat.
this lesson, please note four types of people:
mourners – who know that Jesus can do nothing
herdsmen – who want Jesus to do nothing
ruler – who thinks Jesus might be able to do something
woman – who knows Jesus can do all she wants
of these we must examine in terms of their attitude, their request of Jesus,
and his reaction.
The Mourners – Those Who Know
bit of local culture must come first. In this time, there were people who were
paid mourners. You hired them to do the proper weeping and wailing at a
funeral. If it sounds strange, remember that we hire funeral homes. One thing
is sure: you don’t call these people unless someone has died.
attitude is simple: we’re the ones in the know. We know the story; we’ll
tell you the answer, God.
may not think that applies to Christians today. But give some thought to it:
you ever given God detailed instructions on how to handle some crisis in
your life - or more importantly, in someone else’s life? As if He
couldn’t figure out what to do?
you ever gone to prayer just to list your complaints? Some of us are so
bitter that our prayers are nothing more than a complaint session. We
never ask anything; we complain about everything. Is it any wonder that
we receive nothing?
request? They don’t ask anything of Jesus. Why?
they are so “wise.” They are so wise that they will decide who is God –
for whatever purpose is at hand. God is God on Sunday mornings, when we
need a beautiful worship service to be proud of. But Monday He’s not so
if you decide who is God, day by day, the truth is that you have made
yourself your own little god.
one sense Jesus proves that these people are right. They expected that he
could do nothing – and that’s just about what they get. It’s self-fulfilling
in another sense he gives them what they need. He gives them a sign, if they
will only see it. Here, it is the awakening of the dead girl. In our time His
signs are numerous; if the church is active.
a little sympathy for these guys; they didn’t ask for trouble.
are the people who are content with the status quo. It’s a quiet life.
The house is good; the car is running fine; the kids aren’t in trouble
with the law; life is good. Why are you bothering me, Jesus?
they want to do is make a buck – or more precisely, a few more bucks.
They’re not asking for riches, nor for miracles – just a little more.
These guys are herding swine – forbidden to the Jews. I’m sure they could
rationalize it in their minds. After all, it’s profitable, and I need the
money. It’s not like I was eating the pork, after all.
willing to tolerate the evil around them – the demoniac, after all, lived
nearby – as long as it isn’t personal. Hey, what’s the problem? I’ve
never had an abortion, personally (not surprising, considering I’m
“him.”) As long as the pornography’s in plain brown wrappers, what’s the
of all, they don’t want to feel guilty. Don’t remind us about that pork.
request is simple: go away. Do we ever act like that?
we ask Christ to hide in the church? Stay where he belongs – out of our
lives and in the sanctuary?
particularly, do we want him to let sleeping worms lie? Not to bother us
about the guilt on our consciences?
gives them exactly what they ask for. He goes away. It is sad to think of it
that way, but if the things of this world crowd Him out of your life, He will
He will leave someone behind – a witness. Miracles you don’t care about;
signs you will not see. So he leaves behind a person, a witness. If you want
to know if you’re a herdsman, check around for the witness in your life.
one of the nice guys. He resembles a lot of us.
a man of little faith – but not “no faith.” He’s educated in the Scriptures,
and he knows the “theoretical” answers to the questions. We may conclude from
the fact that Christ does not rebuke him (as he did the Pharisees) that this
man is indeed a righteous man. His life is full of good works – but something
is missing. That something is a full and complete faith.
one other thing: he’s come to a crisis in his life. His daughter is dying.
knows what he wants – his daughter’s life. He also knows the “right way” to
get it – by asking God. It’s important to remember here: little faith is not
the same thing as no faith. He’s asking in the little faith he has for the
great thing he wants most of all. Sound familiar?
gives him a three-fold response:
– by way of the woman who was bleeding – he gives him an example of the faith
he should have, and its results. He strengthens the little faith to make
by his explicit command, he removes the fear that blocks that faith from
he grants his request.
a pattern there for us. Look for the examples around us, and let our faith be
strengthened. Listen to his command: do not be afraid. Then look for his
need to understand the desperation of this woman. A woman in her monthly
period was considered ceremonially unclean. For that time of the month, she
could not participate in the synagogue, the center of life in a Jewish
village. But for this woman, her “period” never ended. She would be unclean –
an outcast – all the time. She was slowly bleeding to death – alone.
attitude is a joy to behold. She has that great faith.
that having that faith still means she waits until God’s moment for
healing. It is not a magic talisman; it is faith.
puts it simply: “if only.” She knows the character of God; the question
is whether or not she can get close enough. How many of us desire to get
“close enough” to God?
she does not consider anyone’s opinion (the virtue of being an outcast)
but acts on faith. Action still counts.
response can be summed up in the name of God: I Am. She has relied on his
eternal, unchanging nature – the nature of God. She knows that God is good;
that he is merciful.
might just be a solid definition of faith: to rely on the nature of God. He
does not change; yesterday, today or forever. What changes is our reliance on
this: no explicit action by Christ is required. Her faith alone, when in
touch with his nature, is sufficient. He is God in the flesh; therefore, He