In this chapter, we have,
I. Christ's casting the legion of devils out of the man possessed, and
suffering them to enter into the swine,
II. Christ's healing the woman with the bloody issue, in the way as he
was going to raise Jairus's daughter to life,
These three miracles we had the story of before
&c.) but more fully related here.
The Expulsion of Legion.
1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the
country of the Gadarenes.
2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met
him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind
him, no, not with chains:
4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains,
and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters
broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in
the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with
thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by
God, that thou torment me not.
8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean
9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered,
saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away
out of the country.
11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of
12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the
swine, that we may enter into them.
13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits
went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently
down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;)
and were choked in the sea.
14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city,
and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was
15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with
the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his
right mind: and they were afraid.
16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that
was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.
17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been
possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home
to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done
for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great
things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
We have here an instance of Christ's dispossessing the strong man
armed, and disposing of him as he pleased, to make it appear that he
was stronger than he. This he did when he was come to the
other side, whither he went through a storm; his business there was
to rescue this poor creature out of the hands of Satan, and when he had
done that, he returned. Thus he came from heaven to earth, and
returned, in a storm, to redeem a remnant of mankind out of the hands
of the devil, though but a little remnant, and did not think his
pains ill bestowed.
In Matthew, they were said to be two possessed with devils; here
it is said to be a man possessed with an unclean spirit. If
there were two, there was one, and Mark doth not say that there
was but one; so that this difference cannot give us any just
offence; it is probable that one of them was much more remarkable than
the other, and said what was said. Now observe here,
I. The miserable condition that this poor creature was in; he was under
the power of an unclean spirit, the devil got possession of him,
and the effect of it was not, as in many, a silent melancholy, but a
raging frenzy; he was raving mad; his condition seems to have been
worse than any of the possessed, that were Christ's patients.
1. He had his dwelling among the tombs, among the graves of dead
people. Their tombs were out of the cities, in desolate places
which gave the devil great advantage: for woe to him that is
alone. Perhaps the devil drove him to the tombs, to make
people fancy that the souls of the dead were turned into dæmons,
and did what mischief was done, so to excuse themselves from it. The
touch of a grave was polluting,
The unclean spirit drives people into that company that is
defiling, and so keeps possession of them. Christ, by rescuing
souls out of Satan's power, saves the living from among the
2. He was very strong and ungovernable; No man could bind him,
as it is requisite both for their own good, and for the safety of
others, that those who are distracted should be. Not only cords would
not hold him, but chains and fetters of iron would not,
Very deplorable is the case of such as need to be thus
bound, and of all miserable people in this world they are most
to be pitied; but his case was worst of all, in whom the devil was so
strong, that he could not be bound. This sets forth the sad
condition of those souls in which the devil has dominion; those
children of disobedience, in whom that unclean spirit works.
Some notoriously wilful sinners are like this madman; all are herein
like the horse and the mule, that they need to be held in
with bit and bridle; but some are like the wild ass, that
will not be so held. The commands and curses of the law are as
chains and fetters, to restrain sinners from their wicked
courses; but they break those bands in sunder, and it is an
evidence of the power of the devil in them.
3. He was a terror and torment to himself and to all about him,
The devil is a cruel master to those that are led captive
by him, a perfect tyrant; this wretched creature was night and day
in the mountains and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with
stones, either bemoaning his own deplorable case, or in a rage and
indignation against heaven. Men in frenzies often wound and destroy
themselves; what is a man, when reason is dethroned and Satan
enthroned? The worshippers of Baal in their fury cut
themselves, like this madman in his. The voice of God is, Do
thyself no harm; the voice of Satan is, Do thyself all the harm
thou canst; yet God's word is despised, and Satan's regarded.
Perhaps his cutting himself with stones was only cutting his
feet with the sharp stones he ran barefoot upon.
II. His application to Christ
When he saw Jesus afar off, coming ashore, he ran, and
worshipped him. He usually ran upon others with rage,
but he ran to Christ with reverence. That was done by an
invisible hand of Christ, which could not be done with chains and
fetters; his fury was all on a sudden curbed. Even the devil, in this
poor creature, was forced to tremble before Christ, and bow to him: or,
rather, the poor man came, and worshipped Christ, in a sense of
the need he had of his help, the power of Satan in and over him being,
for this instant, suspended.
III. The word of command Christ gave to the unclean spirit, to quit his
Come out of him, thou unclean spirit. He made the man desirous
to be relieved, when he enabled him to run, and worship him, and
then put forth his power for his relief. If Christ work in us
heartily to pray for a deliverance from Satan, he will work for us that
deliverance. Here is an instance of the power and authority with which
Christ commanded the unclean spirits, and they obeyed him,
He said, Come out of the man. The design of Christ's gospel is
to expel unclean spirits out of the souls of people; "Come
out of the man, thou unclean spirit, that the Holy Spirit may
enter, may take possession of the heart, and have dominion in it."
IV. The dread which the devil had of Christ. The man ran, and
worshipped Christ; but it was the devil in the man, that
cried with a loud voice (making use of the poor man's tongue),
What have I to do with thee?
Just as that other unclean spirit,
1. He calls God the most high God, above all other gods. By the
name Elion--the Most High, God was known among the
Phœnicians, and the other nations that bordered upon Israel; and by
that name the devil calls him.
2. He owns Jesus to be the Son of God. Note, It is no strange
thing to hear the best words drop from the worst mouths. There is such
a way of saying this as none can attain to but by the Holy Ghost
(1 Corinthians 12:3);
yet it may be said, after a sort, by the unclean spirit. There
is no judging of men by their loose sayings; but by their fruits ye
shall know them. Piety from the teeth outward is an easy thing. The
most fair-spoken hypocrite cannot say better than to call Jesus the Son
of God, and yet that the devil did.
3. He disowns any design against Christ; "What have I to do with
thee? I have no need of thee, I pretend to none; I desire to have
nothing to do with thee; I cannot stand before thee, and
would not fall."
4. He deprecates his wrath; I adjure thee, that is, "I
earnestly beseech thee, by all that is sacred, I beg of thee for God's
sake, by whose permission I have got possession of this man, that,
though thou drive me out hence, yet that thou torment me not,
that thou do not restrain me from doing mischief somewhere else; though
I know I am sentenced, yet let me not be sent to the
chains of darkness, or hindered from going to and fro, to
V. The account Christ took from this unclean spirit of his name. This
we had not in Matthew. Christ asked him, What is thy name? Not
but that Christ could call all the fallen stars, as well as the
morning stars, by their names; but he demands this, that the
standers by might be affected with the vast numbers and power of those
malignant infernal spirits, as they had reason to be, when the answer
was, My name is Legion, for we are many; a legion of
soldiers among the Romans consisted, some say, of six thousand men,
others of twelve thousand and five hundred; but the number of a legion
with them, like that of a regiment with us, was not always the same.
Now this intimates that the devils, the infernal powers, are,
1. Military powers; a legion is a number of soldiers in arms.
The devils war against God and his glory, Christ and his gospel, men
and their holiness and happiness. They are such as we are to
resist and wrestle against,
2. That they are numerous; he owns, or rather he
boasts--We are many; as if he hoped to be too many for
Christ himself to deal with. What multitudes of apostate spirits were
there, and all enemies to God and man; when here were a legion posted
to keep garrison in one poor wretched creature against Christ! Many
there are that rise up against us.
3. That they are unanimous; they are many devils, and yet
but one legion engaged in the same wicked cause; and therefore
that cavil of the Pharisees, which supposed Satan to cast out Satan,
and to be divided against himself, was altogether groundless. It was
not one of this legion that betrayed the rest, for they all
said, as one man, What have I to do with thee?
4. That they are very powerful; Who can stand before a
legion? We are not a match for our spiritual enemies, in our own
strength; but in the Lord, and in the power of his might, we
shall be able to stand against them, though there are legions of
5. That there is order among them, as there is in a
legion; there are principalities, and powers, and rulers of
the darkness of this world, which supposes that there are those of
a lower rank; the devil and his angels; the dragon and
his; the prince of the devils and his subjects: which makes those
enemies the more formidable.
VI. The request of this legion, that Christ would suffer them to go
into a herd of swine that was feeding nigh unto the mountains
those mountains which the demoniacs haunted,
Their request was,
1. That he would not send them away out of the country
not only that he would not commit them, or confine them,
to their infernal prison, and so torment them before the time;
but that he would not banish them that country, as justly
he might, because in this poor man they had been such a terror to it,
and done so much mischief. They seem to have had a particular affection
for that country; or, rather, a particular spite to it; and to
have liberty to walk to and fro through the rest of the
earth, will not serve
unless the range of those mountains be allowed them for their
But why would they abide in that country? Grotius saith, Because
in that country there were many apostate Jews, who had
thrown themselves out of the covenant of God, and had thereby given
Satan power over them. And some suggest, that, having by experience got
the knowledge of the dispositions and manners of the people of that
country, they could the more effectually do them mischief by their
2. That he would suffer them to enter into the swine, by
destroying which they hoped to do more mischief to the souls of all the
people in the country, than they could by entering into the body of any
particular person, which therefore they did not ask leave to do, for
they knew Christ would not grant it.
VII. The permission Christ gave them to enter into the swine, and the
immediate destruction of the swine thereby; He gave them leave
he did not forbid or restrain them, he let them do as they had a mind.
Thus he would let the Gadarenes see what powerful spiteful enemies
devils are, that they might thereby be induced to make him their
Friend, who alone was able to control and conquer them, and had made it
appear that he was so. Immediately the unclean spirits entered into
the swine, which by the law were unclean creatures, and naturally
love to wallow in the mire, the fittest place for them. Those
that, like the swine, delight in the mire of sensual lusts, are
fit habitations for Satan, and are, like Babylon, the hold of every
foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird
as pure souls are habitations of the Holy Spirit. The consequence of
the devils entering into the swine, was, that they all ran mad
presently, and ran headlong into the adjoining sea, where they were all
drowned, to the number of two thousand. The man they possessed
did only cut himself, for God had said, He is in your hands,
only save his life. But thereby it appeared, that, if he had not
been so restrained, the poor man would have drowned himself. See
how much we are indebted to the providence of God, and the ministration
of good angels, for our preservation from malignant spirits.
VIII. The report of all this dispersed through the country immediately.
They that fed the swine, hastened to the owners, to give an
account of their charge,
This drew the people together, to see what was done: and,
1. When they saw how wonderfully the poor man was cured, they hence
conceived a veneration for Christ,
They saw him that was possessed with the devil, and knew him
well enough, by the same token that they had many a time been
frightened at the sight of him; and were now as much surprised to see
him sitting clothed and in his right mind; when Satan was cast
out, he came to himself, and was his own man presently. Note, Those who
are grave and sober, and live by rule and with consideration, thereby
make it appear that by the power of Christ the devil's power is broken
in their souls. The sight of this made them afraid; it
astonished them, and forced them to own the power of Christ, and that
he is worthy to be feared. But,
2. When they found that their swine were lost, they thence conceived a
dislike of Christ, and wished to have rather his room than his
company; they prayed him to depart out of their coasts, for they
think not any good he can do them sufficient to make them amends for
the loss of so many swine, fat swine, it may be, and ready for the
market. Now the devils had what they would have; for by no handle do
these evil spirits more effectually manage sinful souls than by that of
the love of the world. They were afraid of some further punishment, if
Christ should tarry among them, whereas, if they would but part with
their sins, he had life and happiness for them; but, being loth to quit
either their sins or their swine, they chose rather to abandon their
Saviour. Thus they do, who, rather than let go a base lust,
will throw away their interest in Christ, and their expectations from
him. They should rather have argued, "If he has such a power as this
over devils and all creatures, it is good having him our Friend; if the
devils have leave to tarry in our country
let us entreat him to tarry in it too, who alone can control
them." But, instead of this, they wished him further off. Such strange
misconstructions do carnal hearts make of the just judgments of God;
instead of being by them driven to him as they ought, they set him at
so much the greater distance; though he hath said, Provoke me not,
and I will do you no hurt,
IX. An account of the conduct of the poor man after his deliverance.
1. He desired that he might go along with Christ
perhaps for fear lest the evil spirit should again seize him; or,
rather, that he might receive instruction from him, being unwilling to
stay among those heathenish people that desired him to depart. Those
that are freed from the evil spirit, cannot but covet acquaintance and
fellowship with Christ.
2. Christ would not suffer him to go with him, lest it should
savour of ostentation, and to let him know that he could both protect
and instruct him at a distance. And besides, he had other work for him
to do; he must go home to his friends, and tell them what great
things the Lord had done for him, the Lord Jesus had done; that
Christ might be honoured, and his neighbours and friends might be
edified, and invited to believe in Christ. He must take particular
notice rather of Christ's pity than of his power, for
that is it which especially he glories in; he must tell them what
compassion the Lord had had on him in his misery.
3. The man, in a transport of joy, proclaimed, all the country over,
what great things Jesus had done for him,
This is a debt we owe both to Christ and to our brethren, that he may
be glorified and they edified. And see what was the effect of it;
All men did marvel, but few went any further. Many that cannot
but wonder at the works of Christ, yet do not, as they ought, wonder
The Healing of the Bloody Issue.
21 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other
side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the
22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the
synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his
23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth
at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on
her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had
spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and
touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and
she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had
gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who
touched my clothes?
31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude
thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this
33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done
in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee
whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
The Gadarenes having desired Christ to leave their country, he did not
stay to trouble them long, but presently went by water, as he came,
back to the other side
and there much people gathered to him. Note, If there be some
that reject Christ, yet there are others that receive him, and bid him
welcome. A despised gospel will cross the water, and go where it
will have better entertainment. Now among the many that applied
themselves to him,
I. Here is one, that comes openly to beg a cure for a
sick child; and it is no less a person than one of the rulers of the
synagogue, one that presided in the synagogue-worship or, as some
think, one of the judges of the consistory court, which was in every
city, consisting of twenty-three. He was not named in Matthew,
he is here, Jairus, or Jair,
He addressed himself to Christ, though a ruler, with great humility and
reverence; When he saw him, he fell at his feet, giving honour
to him as one really greater than he appeared to be; and with great
importunity, he besought him greatly, as one in earnest, as one
that not only valued the mercy he came for, but that knew he could
obtain it no where else. The case is this, He has a little
daughter, about twelve years old, the darling of the family, and
she lies a dying; but he believes that if Christ will but come,
and lay his hands upon her, she will return even from the gates
of the grave. He said, at first, when he came, She lies a dying
(so Mark); but afterward, upon fresh information sent him, he saith,
She is even now dead (so Matthew); but he still prosecutes his
Christ readily agreed, and went with him,
II. Here is another, that comes clandestinely to steal a
cure (if I may so say) for herself; and she got the relief she came
for. This cure was wrought by the way, as he was going to raise
the ruler's daughter, and was followed by a crowd. See how Christ
improved his time, and lost none of the precious moments of it. Many of
his discourses, and some of his miracles, are dates by the
way-side; we should be doing good, not only when we sit in the
house, but when we walk by the way,
1. The piteous case of this poor woman. She had a constant issue of
blood upon her, for twelve years, which had thrown her, no
doubt, into great weakness, had embittered the comfort of her life, and
threatened to be her death in a little time. She had had the best
advice of physicians, that she could get, and had made use of the many
medicines and methods they prescribed: as long as she had any thing to
give them, they had kept her in hopes that they could cure her; but now
that she had spent all she had among them, they gave her up as
incurable. See here,
(1.) That skin for skin, and all that a man has, will be give for life
and health; she spent all she had upon physicians.
(2.) It is ill with those patients whose physicians are their worst
disease; who suffer by their physicians, instead of being
relieved by them.
(3.) Those that are not bettered by medicines, commonly grow
worse, and the disease gets the more ground.
(4.) It is usual with people not to apply themselves to Christ, till
they have tried in vain all other helpers, and find them, as certainly
they will, physicians of no value. And he will be found a
sure refuge, even to those who make him their last
2. The strong faith that she had in the power of Christ to heal her;
she said within herself, though it doth not appear that she was
encouraged by any preceding instance to say it, If I may but touch
his clothes, I shall be whole,
She believed that he cured, not as a prophet, by virtue derived
from God, but as the Son of God, by a virtue inherent in
himself. Her case was such as she could not in modesty tell him
publicly, as others did their grievances, and therefore a private cure
was what she wished for, and her faith was suited to her case.
3. The wonderful effect produced by it; She came in the crowd
behind him, and with much ado got to touch his garment,
and immediately she felt the cure wrought,
The flux of blood was dried up, and she felt herself perfectly
well all over her, as well as ever she was in her life, in an instant;
by this it appears that the cure was altogether miraculous; for those
that in such cases are cured by natural means, recover their strength
slowly and gradually, and not per saltum--all at once; but as
for God, his work is perfect. Note, Those whom Christ heals of the
disease of sin, that bloody issue, cannot but experience in themselves
a universal change for the better.
4. Christ's enquiry after his concealed patient, and the encouragement
he gave her, upon the discovery of her; Christ knew in himself that
virtue had gone out of him,
He knew it not by any deficiency of spirits, through the exhausting of
this virtue, but rather by an agility of spirits, in the exerting of
it, and the innate and inseparable pleasure he had in doing good. And
being desirous to see his patient, he asked, not in displeasure, as one
affronted, but in tenderness, as one concerned, Who touched my
clothes? The disciples, not without a show of rudeness and
indecency, almost ridiculed his question
The multitudes throng thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? As
if it had been an improper question. Christ passed by the affront, and
looks around to see her that had done this thing; not
that he might blame her for her presumption, but that he might
commend and encourage her faith, and by his own act and
deed might warrant and confirm the cure, and
ratify to her that which she had surreptitiously
obtained. He needed not that any should inform him, for he had
presently his eye upon her. Note, As secret acts of sin, so secret acts
of faith, are known to the Lord Jesus, and are under his eye. If
believers derive virtue from Christ ever so closely, he knows it, and
is pleased with it. The poor woman, hereupon, presented herself to the
fearing and trembling, not knowing how he would take it. Note,
Christ's patients are often trembling, when they have reason to be
triumphing. She might have come boldly, knowing what was done in
her; yet, knowing that, she fears and
trembles. It was a surprise, and was not yet, as it
should have been, a pleasing surprise. However, she fell down
before him. Note, There is nothing better for those that fear and
tremble, than to throw themselves at the feet of the Lord Jesus; to
humble themselves before him, and refer themselves to him. And she
told him all the truth. Note, We must not be ashamed to own the
secret transactions between Christ and our souls; but, when called to
it, mention, to his praise, and the encouragement of others, what he
has done for our souls, and the experience we have had of healing
virtue derived from him. And the consideration of this, that
nothing can be hid from Christ, should engage us to confess all to him.
See what an encouraging word he gave her
Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. Note, Christ puts
honour upon faith, because faith gives honour to Christ. But see how
what is done by faith on earth is ratified in heaven; Christ
saith, Be whole of thy disease. Note, If our faith sets the seal
of its amen to the power and promise of God, saying, "So it is,
and so let it be to me;" God's grace will set the seal of its
amen to the prayers and hopes of faith, saying, "So be it, and
so it shall be, to thee." And therefore, "Go in peace; be well
satisfied that thy cure is honestly come by, is effectually wrought,
and take the comfort of it." Note, They that by faith are healed of
their spiritual diseases, have reason to go in peace.
The Daughter of Jairus Restored to Life.
35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the
synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why
troublest thou the Master any further?
36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith
unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
37 And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James,
and John the brother of James.
38 And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue,
and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
39 And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye
this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.
40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all
out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them
that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.
41 And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her,
Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto
42 And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was
of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a
43 And he charged them straitly that no man should know it; and
commanded that something should be given her to eat.
Diseases and deaths came into the world by the sin and disobedience of
the first Adam; but by the grace of the second Adam both are conquered.
Christ, having healed an incurable disease, here goes on to triumph
over death, as in the beginning of the chapter he had triumphed over an
I. The melancholy news is brought to Jairus, that his daughter is
dead, and therefore, if Christ be as other physicians, he comes too
late. While there is life, there is hope, and room for the use of
means; but when life is gone, it is past recall; Why troublest thou
the Master any further?
Ordinarily, the proper thought in this case, is, "The matter is
determined, the will of God is done, and I submit, I acquiesce; The
Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. While the child was alive, I
fasted and wept; for I said, Who can tell but God will yet be gracious
to me, and the child shall live? But now that it is dead,
wherefore should I weep? I shall go to it, but it shall not
return to me." With such words we should quiet ourselves at
such a time, that our souls may be as a child that is weaned from
his mother: but there the case was extraordinary; the death of the
child doth not, as usually, put an end to the narrative.
II. Christ encourageth the afflicted father yet to hope that his
application to Christ on the behalf of his child should not be in vain.
Christ had staid to work a cure by the way, but he shall be no sufferer
by that, nor loser by the gain of others; Be not afraid, only
believe. We may suppose Jairus at a pause, whether he should ask
Christ to go on or no; but have we not as much occasion for the grace
of God, and his consolations, and consequently of the prayers of our
ministers and Christian friends, when death is in the house, as when
sickness is? Christ therefore soon determines this matter; "Be not
afraid that my coming will be to no purpose, only believe that I
will make it turn to a good account." Note,
1. We must not despair concerning our relations that are dead, nor
sorrow for them as those that have no hope. See what is
said to Rachel, who refused to be comforted concerning her
children, upon the presumption that they were not; Refrain thy
voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for there is hope in
thine end, that thy children shall come again,
Therefore fear not, faint not.
2. Faith is the only remedy against disquieting grief and fear at such
a time: let that silence them, Only believe. Keep up a
confidence in Christ, and a dependence upon him, and he will do what is
for the best. Believe the resurrection, and then be not afraid.
III. He went with a select company to the house where the dead child
was. He had, by the crowd that attended him, given advantage to the
poor woman he last healed, and, having done that, now he shook off the
crowd, and suffered no man to follow him (to follow with
him, so the word is), but his three bosom-disciples, Peter, and
James, and John; a competent number to be witnesses of the miracle, but
not such a number as that his taking them with him might look like
IV. He raised the dead child to life; the circumstances of the
narrative here are much the same as we had them in Matthew; only here
we may observe,
1. That the child was extremely well beloved, for the relations and
neighbours wept and wailed greatly. It is very afflictive when
that which is come forth like a flower is so soon cut down, and
withereth before it is grown up; when that grieves us, of which we
said, This same shall comfort us.
2. That it was evident beyond dispute, that the child was really and
truly dead. Their laughing Christ to scorn, for saying,
She is not dead, but sleepeth, though highly reprehensible,
serves for the proof of this.
3. That Christ put those out as unworthy to be witnesses of the
miracle, who were noisy in their sorrow, and were so ignorant in the
things of God, as not to understand him when he spoke of death as a
sleep, or so scornful, as to ridicule him for it.
4. That he took the parents of the child to be witnesses of the
miracle, because in it he had an eye to their faith, and
designed it for their comfort, who were the true, for
they were the silent mourners.
5. That Christ raised the child to life by a word of power, which is
recorded here, and recorded in Syriac, the language in which Christ
spoke, for the greater certainty of the thing; Talitha, cumi;
Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise. Dr. Lightfoot saith, It was
customary with the Jews, when they gave physic to one that was
sick, to say, Arise from thy disease; meaning, We
wish thou mayest arise: but to one that was dead, Christ
said, Arise from the dead; meaning, I command that thou
arise; nay, there is more in it--the dead have not power to arise,
therefore power goes along with this word, to make it effectual. Da
quod jubes, et jube quod vis--Give what thou commandest, and command
what thou wilt. Christ works while he commands, and works by the
command, and therefore may command what he pleaseth, even the dead to
arise. Such is the gospel call to those that are by nature dead in
trespasses and sins, and can no more rise from that death by their own
power, than this child could; and yet that word, Awake, and arise
from the dead, is neither vain, nor in vain, when it follows
immediately, Christ shall give thee light,
It is by the word of Christ that spiritual life is given, I said
unto thee, Live,
6. That the damsel, as soon as life returned, arose, and walked,
Spiritual life will appear by our rising from the bed of sloth
and carelessness, and our walking in a religious conversation,
our walking up and down in Christ's name and strength; even from
those that are of the age of twelve years, it may be expected
that they should walk as those whom Christ has raised to life,
otherwise than in the native vanity of their minds.
7. That all who saw it, and heard of it, admired the miracle, and him
that wrought it; They were astonished with a great astonishment.
They could not but acknowledge that there was something in it
extraordinary and very great, and yet they knew not what to make of it,
or to infer from it. Their wonder should have worked forward to a
lively faith, but it rested in a stupor or
8. That Christ endeavoured to conceal it; He charged them straitly,
that no man should know it. It was sufficiently known to a
competent number, but he would not have it as yet proclaimed any
further; because his own resurrection was to be the great instance of
his power over death, and therefore the divulging of other instances
must be reserved till that great proof was given: let one part of the
evidence be kept private, till the other part, on which the main stress
lies, be made ready.
9. That Christ took care something should be given her to eat.
By this it appeared that she was raised not only to life, but to a good
state of health, that she had an appetite to her meat; even the
new-born babes in Christ's house desire the sincere milk,
1 Peter 2:1,2.
And it is observable, that, as Christ, when at first he had made man,
presently provided food for him, and food out of the earth of which he
so now when he had given a new life, he took care that something should
be given to eat; for is he has given life, he may be trusted to
give livelihood, because the life is more than meat,
Where Christ hath given spiritual life, he will provide food for
the support and nourishment of it unto life eternal, for he will
never forsake, or be wanting to, the work of his own
Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for 'Mark' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary".