March 28, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Mark 5-6
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Context: In Mark 5, we see Jesus heal another demon-possessed man. The demons recognized Jesus for who He was, the Son of God. Jesus cast out the demons, allowing them to enter a heard of pigs instead. This caused the locals to become fearful and ask Jesus to leave. Jesus left and upon arriving at His next destination, He is approached by a synagogue ruler who asked Jesus to save his daughter. On their way, a woman who was an outcast due to disease grabbed the hem of Jesus' clothes and was instantly healed. Jesus knew the instant she touched Him and asked who it was. When she came forward, He told her it was her faith that had healed her. Jesus then healed the daughter of the synagogue ruler. When Jesus returned to His hometown, He was ridiculed and most lacked faith. Jesus performed relatively few miracles, knowing that the people's hearts were hardened against Him and that they would be unable to see the miracles as coming from God. When Jesus sent the disciples out on their own, they went in groups of two. This refers back to Deuteronomy 17:6, where two witnesses were required for any testimony. Jesus may not have respected the rules of man, but He respected the Laws of God. Herod (son of Herod the Great who attempted to kill Jesus when He was a baby) was fearful that John the Baptist had come back. Herod imprisoned John for speaking out against Herod's marriage to his living brother's wife. Herod would not kill John, perhaps knowing that he spoke the truth. Herod's wife however, wanted John dead and was willing to prostitute her daughter in order for it to happen. Jesus, recently learning of John's death, His cousin, and having His disciples return from their travels, attempted to find a quiet place, but they were followed by crowds. Jesus took pity on the people, who were spiritually lost yet hungry, and ministered to them. When they were physically hungry, He provided food for them. After the crowd left, Jesus went off to pray by Himself, while the disciples went out onto the water.
World History: The woman who touched Jesus' clothes and was healed was an outcast. Because blood was considered unclean, and she was bleeding, she was cast out from society. Anyone who touched her would be considered unclean. She would not have been able to even approach Jesus because of her condition. Additionally, she may have been fearful that He would reject her because He did not want to become unclean. The mourners at the house of the synagogue ruler were professional mourner. When someone died, no matter how poor, they were required to hire wailers, who would tear their hair and clothing, and flute players. The girl who danced for Herod was named Salome by Jewish historian Josephus. She probably danced a sexually provocative dance to gain favor with Herod. Jesus fed the five thousand in mid-April, as it is the only time the grass is green in that area. The 12 baskets collected by the disciples could represent the 12 tribes of Israel; it could also be provisions for the disciples the next day so that nothing provided by the Lord went to waste.