For most of Jesus’ miracles, the disciples are observers: they watch Him healing the sick, raising dead bodies, and casting demons out of strangers. This time, however, it is the disciples—and even Jesus Himself—who are in danger. Maybe that’s why they are having such a hard time trusting that His power is greater than their situation.
They have seen Him cast out demons. They know He has powers that are not of natural origin. But they have never seen—or even heard of—anything like this. It’s one thing to heal human sickness or even to order demons around. But to order the waves and the wind? To command the sea and the storm? That’s a miracle of an entirely different order.
5 They traveled across the sea to the land of Gerasa[a] in Galilee. 2-3 When Jesus came ashore there, He was immediately met by a man who was tortured by an evil spirit. This man lived in the cemeteries, and no one could control him—not even those who tried to tie him up or chain him. 4 He had often been bound in chains, but his strength was so great that he could break the chains and tear the irons loose from his feet and hands. No one and nothing could subdue him. 5 Day and night, he lurked among the tombs or ran mad in the hills, and the darkness made him scream or cut himself with sharp-edged stones. 6 When this man saw Jesus coming in the distance, he ran to Him and fell to his knees in front of Him. 7-8 Jesus started commanding the unclean spirit.
Jesus: Come out of that man, you wicked spirit!
Unclean Spirit (shouting): What’s this all about, Jesus, Son of the Most High? In the name of God, I beg You—don’t torture me!
Jesus: 9 What is your name?
Unclean Spirit: They call me “Legion,” for there are thousands of us in this body.
10 And then Legion begged Jesus again to leave them alone, not to send them out of the country.
11 Since the Gerasenes were not Jews (who considered pigs to be unclean), there happened to be a large herd of swine, some 2,000 of them, feeding on the hill nearby.
Unclean Spirit (begging): 12 Send us into those pigs if You have to, so that we may enter into them.
13 Jesus granted the request. The darkness swept up out of the man and into the herd of pigs. And then they thundered down the hill into the water; and there they drowned, all 2,000 of them.
14 The swineherds ran away, telling everybody they met what had happened. Eventually a crowd of people came to see for themselves. 15 When they reached Jesus, they found the man Legion had afflicted sitting quietly, sane and fully clothed; when they saw this, they were overwhelmed with fear and wonder.
16 Those who had witnessed everything told the others what had happened: how Jesus had healed the man, how the pigs had rushed into the sea, and how they had destroyed themselves. 17 When they had heard the whole story, the Gerasenes turned to Jesus and begged Him to go away.
18 When Jesus climbed back into the boat, the cured demoniac asked if he could come and be with Him, but Jesus said no.
Jesus: 19 Stay here; I want you to go back home to your own people and let them see what the Lord has done—how He has had mercy on you.
20 So the man went away and began telling this news in the Ten Cities[b] region; wherever he went, people were amazed by what he told them.
This is the only time in the Gospels when Jesus seems to listen to the pleading of a demon or a demon-possessed person. The demons immediately acknowledge Jesus as all-powerful; the possessed man’s first reaction on seeing Jesus is to fall at His feet and call Him the “Son of the Most High.” Although we can’t know why Jesus listens to their pleading, the effect is clear: the people in that region see firsthand the power of evil and its ultimate destiny, namely, destruction.
Instead of being pleased that they are now free from the terror of the demon-possessed man, the people in the town ask Jesus to leave. After all, the local economy takes a pretty big hit when 2,000 of their choicest pigs rush into the sea.
21 After Jesus returned across the sea, a large crowd quickly found Him, so He stayed by the sea. 22 One of the leaders of the synagogue—a man named Jairus—came and fell at Jesus’ feet, 23 begging Him to heal his daughter.
Jairus: My daughter is dying, and she’s only 12 years old. Please come to my house. Just place Your hands on her. I know that if You do, she will live.
24 Jesus began traveling with Jairus toward his home.
In the crowd pressing around Jesus, 25 there was a woman who had suffered continuous bleeding for 12 years, bleeding that made her ritually unclean and an outcast according to the purity laws. 26 She had suffered greatly; and although she spent all her money on her medical care, she had only gotten worse. 27 She had heard of this Miracle-Man, Jesus, so she snuck up behind Him in the crowd and reached out her hand to touch His cloak.
Woman (to herself): 28 Even if all I touch are His clothes, I know I will be healed.
29 As soon as her fingers brushed His cloak, the bleeding stopped. She could feel that she was whole again.
30 Lots of people were pressed against Jesus at that moment, but He immediately felt her touch; He felt healing power flow out of Him.
He stopped. Everyone stopped. He looked around.
Jesus: Who just touched My robe?
31 His disciples broke the uneasy silence.
Disciples: Jesus, the crowd is so thick that everyone is touching You. Why do You ask, “Who touched Me?”
32 But Jesus waited. His gaze swept across the crowd to see who had done it. 33 At last, the woman—knowing He was talking about her—pushed forward and dropped to her knees. She was shaking with fear and amazement.
Woman: I touched You.
Then she told Him the reason why. 34 Jesus listened to her story.
Jesus: Daughter, you are well because you dared to believe. Go in peace, and stay well.
Jesus occasionally instigates His own miracles: He goes up to someone, such as a paralyzed man, and offers to heal him. More often, as in the case of Jairus’s daughter, people come to Jesus and ask for healings. But the woman in this story is unique because she receives her healing without asking for it—simply by touching Jesus in faith. He is surrounded by crowds pressing in on every side, but Jesus feels that one person’s touch is different, in a way that only He can perceive: one woman is touching Him deliberately, in hope and faith, knowing He has the power to heal her.
35 While He was speaking, some members of Jairus’s household pushed through the crowd.
Jairus’s Servants (to Jairus): Your daughter is dead. There’s no need to drag the Teacher any farther.
36 Jesus overheard their words. Then He turned to look at Jairus.
Jesus: It’s all right. Don’t be afraid; just believe.
37-38 Jesus asked everyone but Peter, James, and John (James’s brother) to remain outside when they reached Jairus’s home. Inside the synagogue leader’s house, the mourning had already begun; the weeping and wailing carried out into the street.
39 Jesus and His three disciples went inside.
Jesus: Why are you making all this sorrowful noise? The child isn’t dead. She’s just sleeping.
40 The mourners laughed a horrible, bitter laugh and went back to their wailing. Jesus cleared the house so that only His three disciples, Jairus, and Jairus’s wife were left inside with Him. They all went to where the child lay. 41 Then He took the child’s hand.
Jesus: Little girl, it’s time to wake up.
42 Immediately the 12-year-old girl opened her eyes, arose, and began to walk. Her parents could not believe their eyes.
Jesus (to the parents): 43 Don’t tell anybody what you’ve just seen. Why don’t you give her something to eat? I know she is hungry.