Mark 5

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Mark 5:4 the chains had been plucked asunder by him and the fetters broken in pieces

Orson Pratt

"As...evidence that the devil can work miracles, Jesus says, 'There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.' As another example of the miraculous power of the devil, we are informed that the man who possessed a legion, 'had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces.' The miracle of breaking chains and fetters is equal to the miracle wrought by Samson in breaking new withes and new ropes." (Orson Pratt's Works [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 231 - 232.)

Mark 5:7 What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?

See commentary for Matthew 8:28-29.

Mark 5:9 My name is Legion: for we are many

What if we were able to see this legion of evil spirits? How would they appear? What would it feel like to get a glimpse into the realm of Satan's servants? Heber C. Kimball found out when he was a missionary in the British Isles in the early days of the church. Due to their success, Satan and his legion came to destroy them. Elder Kimball saw the evil army and described them as follows:

"...we saw the devils coming in legions, with their leaders, who came within a few feet of us. They came towards us like armies rushing to battle. They appeared to be men of full stature, possessing every form and feature of men in the flesh, who were angry and desperate; and I shall never forget the vindictive malignity depicted on their countenances as they looked me in the eye; and any attempt to paint the scene which then presented itself, or portray their malice and enmity, would be vain. I perspired exceedingly, my clothes becoming as wet as if I had been taken out of the river. I felt excessive pain, and was in the greatest distress for sometime. I cannot even look back on the scene without feelings of horror; yet by it I learned the power of the adversary, his enmity against the servants of God, and got some understanding of the invisible world." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 3: 99.)

Mark 5:12 the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine

LeGrand Richards

"...those spirits who 'keep not their first estate,' were cast out of heaven with Satan. They constitute the third of the hosts of heaven cast out as spirits with him and are thus deprived of the privilege of taking upon themselves bodies of flesh and blood. They therefore have not 'glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate.' We probably will never be able to understand in this life what it means to be deprived of the right and privilege of receiving a body.

"When Jesus had cast out the evil spirit from the man whom no man could bind with chains, he asked his name, and the spirit replied, 'Legion: for we are many.' (See Mark 5:2-9.) Upon being commanded to leave the body of the man who was possessed, the evil spirits asked the privilege of entering the bodies of swine feeding in the field, and when their request was granted, 'the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea.' (Mark 5:13.) It is so desirable to have a body that these evil spirits, who had forfeited the right to bodies of their own, were even willing to enter the bodies of swine.

"If we can understand the significance of this experience and the lesson it teaches, how can we be sufficiently grateful to our Father in heaven for permitting us to receive our bodies, and for the assurance that after we lay them down in the grave, through the atonement of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we will take them up again in the resurrection?

"In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord taught: 'For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.' (D&C 93:33-34.) Thus, the first purpose of earth life is to obtain a body, without which 'man cannot receive a fulness of joy.'" (A Marvelous Work and a Wonder [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1950], 293.)

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

"I have always thought that indicated very, very clearly how valuable an earthly body is,-that they were willing in order to have possession, apparently even for the moment, of a body, to go into the body of a swine." (Conference Report, October 1956, General Priesthood Meeting 84)

Mark 5:15 he that was possessed with the devil [was] sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind

What a remarkable transformation! The man who for years had been terrorizing the local travelers now was completely calm and serene. Indeed, the touch of the Master's hand is much greater than decades of institutionalization and years of counseling.

The first miracle performed since the organization of the Church produced a similar result. Joseph Smith came to find Newell Knight possessed of a devil:

"I went and found him suffering very much in his mind, and his body acted upon in a very strange manner; his visage and limbs distorted and twisted in every shape and appearance possible to imagine; and finally he was caught up off the floor of the apartment, and tossed about most fearfully.

"His situation was soon made known to his neighbors and relatives and in a short time as many as eight or nine grown persons had got together to witness the scene. After he had thus suffered for a time, I succeeded in getting hold of him by the hand, when almost immediately he spoke to me, and with great earnestness requested me to cast the devil out of him, saying that he knew he was in him, and that he also knew that I could cast him out.

"I replied, 'If you know that I can, it shall be done,' and then almost unconsciously I rebuked the devil, and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from him; when immediately Newel spoke out and said that he saw the devil leave him and vanish from his sight...This scene was now entirely changed, for as soon as the devil had departed from our friend, his countenance became natural, his distortions of body ceased, and almost immediately the Spirit of the Lord descended upon him, and the visions of eternity were opened to his view." (History of The Church, 1: 83.)

Mark 5:17 they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts

See commentary for Luke 8:37.

Mark 5:19 Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee

For anyone who has been healed by the Lord-either physically or spiritually-this advice has universal application. Many since the meridian of time have come out of the tombs, so to speak, or maybe they have been healed of their own inner demons to enjoy the peace, tranquility, and the joy of true discipleship. To these, the Lord declares, 'Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.'

Such is the message of missionary work. The good news of the gospel, on a personal level, is that the Lord has done great things for you and for me. Though Satan's power over us is stronger than chains and fetters, though we have done that which is opposite to the Lord's commandments, though the rest of humanity has long since written us off as a lunatic from the tombs, the Master has power over all. His compassion is such that he can and will heal us. Therefore, the natural tendency should be to share this pearl of great price with our friends. Should we not feel as the sons of Mosiah, who 'were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble' (Mosiah 27:3)?

Mark 5:20 he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him

Bruce R. McConkie

"No doubt this healed demoniac was commanded to testify in Decapolis, the region of ten cities, of his miraculous return to normality, because the bitterness against Jesus was not so great in that area, and some, perchance, hearing of the miracle would be led to investigate and believe the truth." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 313.)

Mark 5:22 one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet

Howard W. Hunter

"Matthew doesn't give the name of this chief elder, but Mark identifies him by adding to his title the words, 'Jairus by name.' Nowhere else in the scriptures does this man or his name appear except on this occasion, yet his memory lives in history because of a brief contact with Jesus. Many, many lives have become memorable that otherwise would have been lost in obscurity had it not been for the touch of the Master's hand that made a significant change of thought and action and a new and better life.

"'And when he saw him [that is, when Jairus saw Jesus], he fell at his feet.'

"This was an unusual circumstance for a man of rank and prestige, a ruler of the synagogue, to kneel at Jesus' feet-at the feet of one considered to be an itinerant teacher with the gift of healing. Many others of learning and prestige saw Jesus also but ignored him. Their minds were closed. Today is no different; obstacles stand in the way of many to accept him." ("Reading the Scriptures," Ensign, Nov. 1979, 65)

Mark 5:25-28 A certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years...said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole

Joseph B. Wirthlin

"[as President Kimball visited East Germany as the first General Authority in 36 years], he not only blessed and inspired the large congregation...but also a sister in a wheelchair, as well. Sister Margarete Hellmann had suffered an ailment of the hip since youth. As the years came and went, the affliction brought her an ever-increasing burden of pain. Finally, she could walk only with the aid of a pair of crutches. To facilitate her travel from place to place, and to alleviate the terrible pain she keenly felt with every single step, some of the Saints contributed money and bought her a wheelchair. But this relief was short-lived. Soon, even sitting in her wheelchair was accompanied by almost unbearable pain. Then an inflammation of the nerves on the left side of her face further intensified her suffering. One day she heard the heartening news: the prophet of the Lord was to be in Dresden. She had one all-consuming desire-to attend the conference and touch the prophet.

"She had faith and the absolute conviction that the prophet would not even have to take the time to lay his hands upon her head and give her a blessing. She felt assured that it would be with her as it was with a certain woman who, according to St. Mark, had suffered for twelve years and still grew worse. And 'when she had heard of Jesus, ... she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.' This she did, and Jesus 'said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.' (See Mark 5:25-34.)

"Sister Hellmann had asked her grandson, Frank, to bring her to the service at an early hour and position her wheelchair near the aisle where the prophet was to pass. This statement from her letter tells the rest of the story in her tender words: 'When our prophet came close to me,' she wrote, 'he warmly shook my hand and looked at me in the spirit of love, as did those who were with him. After that, I did not feel any more pain-not then, nor any to this day. That is the greatest testimony of my life!'" ("Let Your Light So Shine," Ensign, Nov. 1978, 36)

Mark 5:30 virtue had gone out of him

Bruce R. McConkie

"Giving blessings and performing priesthood ordinances is often the most physically taxing labor which the Lord's true ministers ever perform. There is nothing perfunctory or casual about the performance of these holy ordinances; great physical exertion and intense mental concentration are part of the struggle to get that spirit of revelation so essential in an inspired blessing or other performance.

"Joseph Smith, under date of March 14, 1843, wrote in his journal: 'Elder Jedediah M. Grant enquired of me the cause of my turning pale and losing strength last night while blessing children. I told him that I saw Lucifer would exert his influence to destroy the children that I was blessing, and I strove with all the faith and spirit that I had to seal upon them a blessing that would secure their lives upon the earth; and so much virtue went out of me into the children, that I became weak, from which I have not yet recovered; and I referred to the case of the woman touching the hem of the garment of Jesus. The virtue referred to is the spirit of life; and a man who exercises great faith in administering to the sick, blessing little children, or confirming, is liable to become weakened.' (Teachings, pp. 280-281.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 319.)

Mark 5:31 Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

"'Thy faith hath made thee whole.' (Mark 5:34.) This was said of the woman who was healed when she touched Jesus' garment. Many touched his garment at the same moment, but she received the blessing. Her active participation in developing and exercising faith placed her in a position to receive the greater power and blessing of the Lord." (Robert J. Matthews, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Jan. 1975, 22-23)

Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Even though he was surrounded by dozens of people who were pressing on him from all sides, Jesus immediately sensed that someone had drawn strength from him. He turned and asked, 'Who touched my clothes?' (Mark 5:30.)

"The disciples with him were probably stunned. Here were dozens of people crowding around him, and Jesus wanted to know who had touched him? The woman came forward and told all that had happened. Jesus responded: 'Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague' (Mark 5:34; see Mark 5:25-34).

"What impresses me about that story is how the Lord could find a way to bless the life of one individual despite the demands of the crowd around him. And it reminds me of how often we all find ourselves in similar situations. Do we care enough about each one of Heavenly Father's children that we can take time for the one despite the demands that may be placed upon us?

"The Savior was selfless. He viewed himself and his own needs as secondary, and he ministered to others tirelessly, lovingly, effectively. Nephi wrote: 'He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation' (2 Ne. 26:24)." ("Guided by His Exemplary Life," Ensign, Sept. 1995, 37-38)

Mark 5:32 he looked round about to see her that had done this thing

Spencer J. Condie

"Daily schedules are helpful in planning our time, but they cannot shield us from unpredictability, and this is an area in which great patience is required. The Savior's ministry was punctuated with interruptions from people who, for various reasons, needed His time and His blessing. The collision between planned protocol and spontaneous service was readily apparent when the little children were brought to Him during His teaching of the multitudes. The disciples, perhaps concerned about time schedules and the interruption of unplanned events (and opportunities for service), rebuked the crowds. 'But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' (Matt. 19:2, 13-14.)

"On another occasion, as the Savior was under way to visit the daughter of Jairus who lay ill 'at the point of death,' being thronged about by the people, He suddenly asked: 'Who touched my clothes?' His disciples responded: 'Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?' Little did they know that a miracle had taken place as a woman who had an 'issue of blood for twelve years' touched His garment and the Savior felt 'virtue had gone out of him.' It was extremely important for the Savior to take the time to find the person who in great faith had touched His clothing, and when He had identified her He said: 'Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.' (Mark 5:22-35.)

"Daily goals and plans are extremely important in bringing order to our lives, in helping us to establish priorities, and in assisting us to use our time most efficiently, but we must be cautious that we do not 'look beyond the mark' (Jacob 4:14) and become so caught up in maintaining efficient schedules that we have too little time for compassionate detours in our lives." (In Perfect Balance [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 22-23.)

Mark 5:34 Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole

Neal A. Maxwell

"There is such majesty in Jesus' meekness and such eloquent example in His refusal ever to self-aggrandize. Even in His healings, there was no boasting: 'Thy faith hath made thee whole' (Mark 5:34, italics added).

Mark 5:35 Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?

David O. McKay

"Poor Jairus! He had hurried from the bedside of his little girl only a half hour or so ago to plead with Jesus of Nazareth to come and save his little daughter. The Divine Physician had started immediately, but it was too late. The great Destroyer, Death, had claimed the little girl. Peter's heart must have ached in sympathy for the sorrowing father. But, listen! Following the gloomy announcement of death, they hear the comforting voice of Jesus: 'Fear not; believe only, and she shall be made whole.'" (Ancient Apostles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 31 - 32.)

Mark 5:36 Be not afraid, only believe

"Recently, I learned that someone very dear to me had been diagnosed with a serious illness. I was devastated. Here was the sweetest, kindest, most noble spirit I have ever known on this earth. My heart was aching to see this happen to such a special daughter of our Heavenly Father.

"After several sleepless nights, and praying to know what I could do, the Christmas issue of the Church News arrived. There, in a message by President Hinckley, was this scripture, specifically the last five words: 'Be not afraid, only believe.' Such a simple statement! But coming from the Savior, I knew it had to contain the answer to my prayer. This to me, was the whole gospel plan in five plain words: To remember that we are children of a caring Father; that we are here for a purpose, and if we will but believe in Him and obey the commandments, in the end, all hurt, all heartaches and sorrows will be healed.

"I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but I will keep praying and remember that Heavenly Father has a purpose for everything that happens. I will continue to take this sister's name to the temple...I know that through her faith, if it is Heavenly Father's will, this sister will be healed. 'Be not afraid, only believe.'" (William Stringfellow, LDS Church News, 1996, 02/10/96)

Gordon B. Hinckley

"The problem with most of us is that we are afraid. We want to do the right thing, but we are troubled by fears and we sit back and the world drifts about us.

"I confess to you that by nature I was a very timid boy. When I left to go on a mission my great father said, 'I want to give you only one verse of scripture.' I think this has become, perhaps, the greatest help of my life, these words of the Lord to the ruler of the synagogue whose daughter was reported dead. And the Lord turned to the ruler of the synagogue and said: 'Be not afraid, only believe.' (Mark 5:36.)

"'Be not afraid, only believe.' I commend to you these wonderful words of the Lord as you think of your responsibilities and opportunities." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 129.)

James E. Faust

"'Be not afraid, only believe.' (Mark 5:36.) These five words comprise my message to you.

"We must believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. (See Mosiah 4:9Mosiah 4:9.) We must believe in the Atonement and the Resurrection of the Savior. We must believe in the words of the prophets, both ancient and modern. We should also believe in ourselves...If you take each challenge one step at a time, with faith in every footstep, your strength and understanding will increase. You cannot foresee all of the turns and twists ahead. My counsel to you is to follow the direction of the Savior of the world: 'Be not afraid, only believe.' (Mark 5:36.)" (James E. Faust and James P. Bell, In the Strength of the Lord: The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 306-307.)

Mark 5:37 he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James

"Latter-day Saints believe that the New Testament apostles-Peter, James, and John-comprised a First Presidency with Peter as the presiding officer, and with James and John as counselors. As an ancient First Presidency, they functioned in a manner similar to the First Presidency today. For instance, the Bible describes occasions when Jesus dealt with Peter alone (Matt. 18:19; Luke 24:34), and others when the three apostles were involved (Matt. 17:1-3; 26:37-39; Mark 5:37-42). These passages suggest that the roles of these three men were different from the roles of the other apostles." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 512.)

Mark 5:40 he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying

See commentary for Luke 8:49.

Mark 5:42 they were astonished with a great astonishment

Gordon B. Hinckley

"Small wonder that they were astonished with a great astonishment. None other in all of their acquaintance ... had done as He had done. He raised the damsel from death to life. And as it was with her, so it was and even more so with Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, who had been dead and entombed when the Master called him forth to life, and he came forth. Surely Jesus was the Master of life and death, yet He accepted the ignominy and the horrendous pain of the cross as cruel and barbarous men planned His death. As He hung in agony, His evil tormentors cried out, 'He saved others; himself he cannot save' (Matt. 27:42)." ("The Empty Tomb Bore Testimony," Ensign, May 1988, 67)

Mark 5:43 he charged them straitly that no man should know it

Marvin J. Ashton

"During his mortal ministry, Jesus raised Jairus's daughter to life. 'And her parents were astonished,' Luke says, as well they should have been, 'but he charged them that they should tell no man.' (Luke 8:56.) Mark's account says, 'he charged them straitly that no man should know it.' (Mark 5:43.)

"This wondrous deed that turned death into life, that bore record of the divinity of the One who even now was forecasting his own future victory over the grave, and that could be performed only in righteousness and only by the power of God-this mighty miracle should, as Matthew says, send Jesus' fame into all the land on its own merits. (See Matthew 4:24.)

"Indeed, the parents of the young women could not enshroud in secrecy what was already public knowledge. Because of the way Jesus himself had handled the successive events, everyone in the whole area would soon know that the girl who once was dead now lived. Her death had been announced openly to the multitude. Jesus himself had replied before the multitude that, notwithstanding her death, she would 'be made whole.' (Luke 8:50.) All the people would soon know that she now lived, and they could only be expected to wonder how and by what means life had come to her again. Though the parents were charged to 'tell no man,' they told of this wondrous event to outsiders who were aware of the miracle.

"We counsel and encourage those who enjoy the gifts of the Spirit and who possess the signs that follow those who believe that they must not boast of these spiritual blessings. In our day, after naming the miraculous signs that always attend those who have faith and those who believe the very truth taught by Jesus anciently, the Lord has said: 'But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation.' (D&C 84:73.)

"Perhaps Jesus' charge to 'tell no man' meant that Jairus's family were not to tell the account in a boastful way, lest a spirit of pride-a spirit of self-adopted superiority-should come into their souls. There were times when Jesus told the recipients of his healing power to go forth and testify of the goodness of God unto them, and other times when he limited the extent and detail of their witness.

"The many admonitions in the scriptures to avoid boasting send the message that we should realize the source of all our blessings. Everything is given by God. All talents, creativity, ability, insight, and strength come from him. In our own strength we can do nothing, as Ammon admitted to his brother. When we seek the praise of man more than the praise of God, it will become easy to fall. But when we seek the Lord's help and thank him for all that we have and are, boasting will be erased." (The Measure of Our Hearts [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 58.)