MARK 7 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

Jesus is coming against Satan’s work in this chapter, all the way through. First, He calls out the Pharisees and scribes on their religion of tradition and legalism. They have a religious spirit (see comments below). Then, He frees a young girl who is not even present with Him but is afflicted by a demons. Then, He heals a man who is deaf and unable to speak.

He does not do these wonderful works in Jerusalem, but in non-Jewish cities. The mother of the child with the demon is not Jewish. The man who is deaf and mute lives in a non-Jewish region and is likely not Jewish.

Verses 1-5 — Before He does these miraculous things, Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees and scribes. Their tradition says you have to wash your hands not just with water and soap, but also do a ritualistic washing with special water. They do the same with pots and cups and pitchers. You’re not pure, or the object is not pure, unless you do both.

Think of it — they are confronting Jesus, who is performing all kinds of miracles that can only be done by God, about a bunch of rituals. They have a religious spirit which is demonic in nature. In John 8:44, He flat-out tells them that the devil is their father. They are truly blind guides of the blind (Matthew 15:14), because they don’t recognize their Messiah, their Christ, even with the evidence all His “God works!”

So they come right out and ask Him. They accuse His disciples of eating with impure hands.

Verses 6-13 — His answer? He says the prophet Isaiah was right! They are hypocrites, telling people to follow tradition, while they dishonor God the Son who stands before them. They go through the motions of honoring God with their religious observances and rules. They say honorable things about God.

But their hearts are far from God, or they would recognize Jesus as God the Son. So their worship of God is outward only — their hearts aren’t in it. They are not worshiping God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

The highest commandment of God is to love Him. They neglect this highest command by not loving God the Son.

And they teach their rules and regulations as if they came from God, holding to those traditions, but they do not love God.

They go so far as to say, “Sorry, Mother and Father. I can’t help you financially. All of my money is dedicated to God.” By doing so, they dishonor their mothers and fathers. And they teach others to do the same. They make the Word of God null and void by overriding  it with their man-made rules and regulations. And they do many things like that, Jesus tells them.

Their hearts are far from God.

Important point: Christianity is a religion of the heart, not i-dotting and t-crossing.

Verse 14-16 Jesus then calls the crowd to Himself. He will teach them. Listen and understand. When Jesus speaks, you can’t just hear it; you have to understand it, comprehend it, and become wise from what He says.

If you ask Him, He will help you understand it. How do I know that?

When I was on my journey to being healed by Jesus of MS, I asked the Lord to make His Word real in my heart, and He did. Later, when I was filled with His Holy Spirit, the whole Word of God became understandable, and I began to connect the dots (like that old childhood puzzle) until my view became much clearer and wider. It’s an ongoing process, even now.

None of these outward rules and regulations matter to God. What you wear, ritualistic washing, or food does not make you pure or impure. God looks at your heart. Impurity resides in the heart. Your heart is either pure or impure. If it is pure, purity will come out of you. If it is impure, impurity will come out of you, and you will be completely impure because of the contents of your heart.

Important point: Again, Christianity has to do with the heart, not outward rules and regulations. God’s purpose and goal and will is that your heart be purified by the Heart-Changer, when He fills you with His Holy Spirit. Then you obey Him from a heart that is filled with His love, and people notice that you have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). His Holy Spirit’s fingerprints are all over your heart. It is visible to everyone. Then you are Jesus Christ’s witness where you live and everywhere you go.

So if anyone has ears to hear and heed, let him hear.

Verses 16-23 — Jesus’ disciples aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit yet, so they don’t understand. He marvels at their inability to comprehend such a basic truth. So He teaches them privately. What issues forth from the heart either makes someone impure or pure. Christianity is a heart religion. God wants your heart — all of it — so He can make it pure and take out everything that isn’t like Jesus.

If you eat something, it is digested and excreted. So food neither makes you pure or impure, because digestion has nothing to do with your heart. Jesus comes against the Jewish laws about food, because they have turned those laws into a measuring stick for how good you are.

It is out of the heart that evil proceeds: evil thoughts, the desire to have sex before marriage, thefts, murders, adulteries, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. That’s what makes a person impure, and they will remain that way until they ask the Heart-Changer to remove all of that.

Verses 24-26 — Jesus travels to Tyre. But He can’t escape notice. News traveled quickly, even with no Internet, Facebook or CNN. The Healer and Deliverer is here! What good news! And if you are His disciple, He will use you even now to heal and deliver.

Syrophoenicians are especially hated by Jews (but not hated by Jesus), because they are non-Jewish and have been, through the centuries, the enemies of Israel.

How brave, how desperate this woman is, then! An enemy of Israel, a Gentile dog, comes and falls at His feet. That’s proskuneo — she worships Him. Unlike the blind Pharisees and scribes, she clearly understands that she is coming before God the Son.

She refuses to go away. She asks him to cast a demon out of her daughter, who is not even on the scene. That’s desperation. Are you desperate? God loves people who come to Him with desperate hearts, people who are willing to crouch low before Him, honoring Him and agreeing with Him that He is God and they are not.

Verses 27-30 — Now she will have to go toe-to-toe with Jesus. He tells her He was sent to Israel — God’s original children — first. So they are God’s children. Will the woman rob them of their food from Him?

She persists. Her faith is amazing. She knows that if He says so, her daughter will be set free from the demon. So she says, “Give me a crumb. All I need is a crumb.”

She answered well. All she needs is a crumb. Jesus says it’s done. And she believes Him and goes home and finds her daughter delivered, long-distance.

All you need is a crumb from His table. I’m living and well today because I persisted in asking for a crumb.

And distance means nothing in the spiritual realm. Jesus, and those who are filled with His Spirit, are able to heal from afar. Glory to God!

Verses 31-37 — Traveling from there, Jesus goes back to the Decapolis, where He sent the man delivered of 2,000 demons in Chapter 5. When the people hear He has arrived, they bring the deaf and mute man to Him and plead with Jesus to lay His hand on him to heal him.

Jesus doesn’t always heal by the same method. Sometimes He says, “Get up!” Sometimes He touches. Sometimes He makes mud and puts it in the eye sockets of someone who was born without eyes (see John 9). Sometimes someone touches His clothing and healing power flows from Him to heal them.

This time, He takes the man away from the crowd, away from all distractions — not for Jesus’ sake, but for the man’s. Jesus worked in crowds all the time.

Jesus puts His fingers in the mans’ ears. Then He spits on His hands and puts His spit-covered finger on the man’s tongue. Then He looks to heaven, sighs deeply, and commands, “Be opened!”

And the man instantly hears and speaks. Word gets around, even though Jesus told everyone not to speak of what He had done.

What made the crowd superabundantly, exceedingly astonished beyond measure? A demon caused the man to be deaf and mute. When Jewish exorcists drove out a demon from a person, the demon had to first say its name. This demon made this man mute, so the demon couldn’t speak the demon’s name through the man’s mouth. The demon did that on purpose, knowing that Jewish exorcists would therefore not be able to deliver the man. But that didn’t make any difference to Jesus; He was able to cast out demons regardless of whether they could say their names, or had made their victims mute. The man’s ears and mouth HAD to be opened when He spoke, “Be opened!.” The crowd had never seen anyone who could cast out a demon without having it speak its name through the mouth of its victim.

Important point: When He speaks, it must be done. No demon can disobey His command. No sickness is too great. No heart is too dark that the Heart-Changer can’t change it, instantly. Do you believe Him?

Advertisements

MARK 6 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

Verses 1-6 — There are many listeners in the synagogue, but there is no mention of crowds in Mark’s account of Jesus teaching at Nazareth. Keep that in mind.

He is soundly rejected by His hometown synagogue. After all, He is simply a carpenter, the son of Mary. They are offended by Him. Who does He think He is, teaching us? Where does He get His wisdom? How did He get the power to do the miracles we’re hearing about? Humph!!!

When Verse 3 says “they took offense,” the word means they were tripped up. The Greek word is skandalizo, from which we get our word, “scandalous.” They disapproved of Him, which tripped them up. He became a stumbling stone, a rock of offense (Matthew 21:42, Romans 9:33, 1Peter 2:8).

So was it their unbelief that blocked Jesus from doing miracles in His hometown? No! As I said, there were no crowds. They did not believe He could heal, so most did not come to Him. But those few who DID come to Him were healed.

IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus is not stopped by unbelief; but if you do not come to Him for healing, you will not be healed by Him.

Verses 7-13 — The Twelve disciples are sent out in pairs. They are given authority over evil spirits. They also preach that men should repent (verse 12). They cast out many demons and anoint sick people with oil so they are healed (verse 13). Again, the “many” here indicates that if someone comes to them, they are set free from demons and healed of sicknesses.

We who belong to Jesus, who follow Him, love Him, and obey Him, also have this authority, and the ability to anoint for healing.

Note that as they are sent out, Jesus commands them to take only the clothes on their back and the sandals on their feet. Those to whom they minister are to provide for their needs. But if any reject them (verses 10-11), they are to shake the dust off the soles of their feet for a testimony against them.

The shaking off the dust from their feet (v.11) may be understood in the light of the Jewish custom of removing carefully the dust from both clothes and feet before reentering Jewish territory (cf. SBK, 1:571). For the Jews heathen dust was defiling. The significance of the act here is to declare the place to be heathen and to make it clear that those who rejected the message must now answer for themselves.

Don’t let their rejection cling to you, Jesus says. Amen!
Verses 14-29 — King Herod has been warned by John the Baptist that having sex with his brother’s wife is a sin against God (verse 18). So Herod imprisons him, but keeps him safe (though in a dungeon!). Then he makes a foolish vow to Herodias’ daughter. And John loses his head for Jesus. John’s disciples take his body away and lay it in a tomb.

Verses 30-32 — The disciples return from being sent out, report all that happened to Jesus, and He commands them to come away and rest. It is essential, when we are being used in such a way by God, that we rest afterwards, away from people who would like us to continue to minister. It is God’s power, not ours, by which we work, but intense ministry does tire our physical bodies.

Verses 33-44 — Our God is the God of more than enough. Jesus and the Twelve cannot keep the crowds away. They arrive ahead of them, and Jesus feels compassion for them. They are like sheep without a shepherd. He sees the same thing today. Many are misled, many are not offered anointing for healing, many remain possessed by evil spirits, many receive no teaching at all. So they wander around, directionless.

For everyone filled with Jesus, our inward parts are physically moved at such conditions. And the response of a Spirit-filled believer in Jesus Christ is to immediately begin teaching these sheep many things, because the Holy Spirit who has filled us is the Author of the Word of God, and He teaches us so we can teach others.

Jesus teaches for a long time, and the crowd is hungry. The disciples think Jesus should send them away so they can find food. But Jesus says, “YOU feed them!” With what? Five loaves and two fish. But there are 5,000, excluding women and children!!! How can this be?

He commands the crowd to sit down in groups, blesses the food as He looks heavenward, breaks the loaves continuously, and distributes the pieces of fish continuously — way beyond what He started with! He continues until every person is satisfied. Not just a taste. They are full.

This God of more than enough has more than enough of whatever you need. Have you heard Him teach? Seek Him out!

Verses 45-52 — This is the scene the Lord brought to mind the night I was healed of MS. His words here literally are, “Be comforted! I AM (I am the I AM of the burning bush in Exodus 3:14)! Do not fear!”

Are you in a storm of sickness or confusion or some other situation? Do not be afraid. He is coming. Invite Him into your boat. He will rescue you. He will calm the sea and the wind. Do not be astonished. He is God the Son! If you are astonished, it is because you do not yet see Him. Your heart is blind. Ask Him to soften your heart. He will do it, and you will see.

Verse 53-56 — Jesus is coming! Everyone runs to get sick ones. Everywhere Jesus goes, sick ones are laid in the market places, so they might touch the fringe of His garment. As many as touch the fringe of His cloak are being cured.

I repeat, as many as touch the fringe of His cloak are being cured.

They are desperate. They believe if they touch the fringe of His cloak, they will be healed. And they are. Are you desperate enough to ask Him to come by so you can touch His garment? Do you believe you will be healed, if you touch it?

MARK 5 COMMENTARY

This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.

Verse 1-2 — Jesus calmed the sea and the boat reached the shore. Immediately a demon-possessed man meets Him. You will find that despite demon possession or illness, you will seek to meet Jesus when you see Him.

Verse 3-5 — The man is terribly possessed, breaking his chains, screaming, gashing himself.

Verse 6 — The man runs up to Jesus and bows down. The Greek word is proskuneo. He worships Jesus. That means he understands, despite his demon possession, that Jesus is God in the flesh.

Verse 7-10 — Then the demons speak from the man. Jesus is telling them to come out. They consider this to be torment. No demon wants to be in a spiritual desert. Demons want to enter into and possess someone or something that is alive.

Jesus asks the name of the demons, and the demons answer “Legion,” because there are many demons in this man. They didn’t want to be sent out of the country. What does that mean? Powers and principalities are demonic forces that occupy geographical areas all across the earth. They are in their area, and they don’t want to leave it.

Verse 11-14 — They can only do what Jesus permits them to do, and they must leave the man because He is commanding them to come out. So they beg to enter a herd of pigs. Jesus gives them permission. Why? He knows what is going to happen next.

As soon as the demons enter the pigs, the animals kill themselves by running into the sea and drowning. There were 2,000 of them. That means there were 2,000 demons in this one man! But NOTHING is too difficult for Jesus, and Satan and his demons must obey Him.

Verse 15-16 — The pig farmers run and report what happened. Everyone comes to see what has happened. They are frightened when they see the demon possessed man clothed and in his right mind, and when they hear the story. Why are they afraid? They know they are dealing with Someone much greater than them, and much greater than demons — they are dealing with God.

Verse 17-20 — Losing 2,000 pigs is a financial disaster. So the people strongly beseech Jesus to leave.

But the man who was delivered from all those demons asks to go with Jesus. But Jesus tells him to go home to his people (he is not Jewish) and tell them what great things the Lord has done for him. The man gladly obeys, and goes to the Decapolis, a cluster of 10 Greek (non-Jewish) cities nearby. Everyone who hears is amazed.

You will be like that man, when you are healed and delivered. You will shout from the rooftops! And people will be amazed at your testimony, just as they are amazed at mine. God the Son does GREAT things!

Verse 21-23 — Again a large crowd gathers as Jesus crosses the sea again and comes ashore. One in the crowd is Jairus, a Jewish synagogue official. He has a daughter who is at the point of dying. He also has a great deal of faith.

He falls at Jesus’ feet, and again, it is proskuneo. He understands that he is before the very Son of God, and he worships Him. He beseeches Jesus, he pleads for Jesus to come. If Jesus just lays His hands on Jairus’ daughter, Jairus knows she will be healed. He has faith!

Verse 24-29 — As Jesus starts to go with him, another large crowd follows, so large that people push up against Him.

But in that crowd, there is another person with faith. She has a bleeding problem which makes her unclean according to Jewish law. She is not supposed to be around other people, because her presence will make them unclean, too.

She has spent all her money on physicians, and endured much at their hands, but they cannot heal her.

She hears about Jesus, and breaks all the rules about uncleanness, breaks through the crowd, and comes up behind Him. She is desperate. As she pushes through, she is thinking, “If I just touch His garments I will get well.”

As soon as she touches His garments, the bleeding stops and she feels in her body that she is healed.

I know that feeling. When Jesus Christ healed me of progressive MS 14 years ago, I felt His power go through me, and I knew He was healing me.

Verse 30-34 — Jesus senses that power has gone out from Him. He asks, “Who touched My garments?”

Important point: Just touching His garments is enough to heal you! Are you desperate? Break the rules, break through the crowds!

His disciples think it is impossible to determine who touched Him, with the large crowd pressing in. But He looks and sees the woman.

She comes forward, afraid and trembling, and falls down before Jesus. Again, it is proskuneo. She worships Him.

You will worship Him, too, when He heals you. She confesses the whole truth. His response? Her faith has healed her. He commands her to go in peace. After all of that sickness, she is well, and at peace!

When Jesus says, “Your faith has healed you,” does He literally mean that faith heals us? No, God the Father heals us. God the Son, Jesus Christ, heals us.

Important point: We will not come to Him to be healed if we don’t believe He can do it. So in that way, the woman’s faith has healed her. If she had no faith, she would never have pushed through the crowd in desperation, in order to touch His garments and be healed by Him. Faith makes you desperate to touch Him.

Verse 35-40 —A bad report comes — it’s too late. Jairus’ daughter has died. No need to bother the Teacher. Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid (that it’s too late). Only believe.”

Only believe. That’s all you have to do. He’ll do the rest. Believe and He will show you that what He says is true. Without faith it is impossible to please God, for if you come to Him, you believe He is real and not just some theory. And He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus arrives at Jairus’ house, accompanied by Peter, James and John. He is teaching them, their faith will be increased by what is about to happen, and they will be eyewitnesses who will report His miraculous works to others.

The professional mourners are busy at work. Unbelief saturates the whole scene. Woe! Woe! Woe!

But Jesus rebukes them and goes into the house. They laugh when He says she has not died; she’s just asleep. He puts them out — He removes the unbelieving ones from the scene, and goes into the girl’s room.

NOTE: When you know Jesus, you do not die. Your spirit goes to Him. To be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord (2Corinthians 5:8). But your body sleeps.

Then, the Author of life does what only God can do. He takes Jairus’ dead daughter by the hand and says “Get up!” She has to do it. He has commanded it. And she begins to walk around. She is 12 years old.

And her parents and Peter, James and John are astounded. They wonder, they are amazed, they are astonished.

Jesus says, “Give her something to eat.” It is another proof that she is not a ghost, but alive!

I tell you, when Jesus does His work in you, many will wonder at it, many will be amazed, many will be astonished.

He gives life to the dead, physically and spiritually. He is still doing that, because He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)!

Only believe! If you do, you will come to Him, you will touch His garment, and you will be healed. Even though you have been given up for dead, He will raise you to life!