Category Archives: Faith

Mark 6:30-56 sheep without a shepherd

Discussion question:

Have you ever felt like the last person to understand what is going on?

Read Mark 6:30-56


Before hearing about John the Baptist in Herod’s house, Jesus had sent the 12 disciples two by two to preach that people should repent. There have been a few lake crossings in this gospel and back in Chapter 4, Jesus had stood up in the boat and told the storm to be quiet and it was! Word about Jesus has spread and people have been wondering ‘who is this man?’



  • 30-44 Feeding the five thousand
    • 30-34 Sheep without a shepherd
    • 35-38 How many loaves do you have?
    • 39-44 From Jesus to the disciples to the people
  • 45-56 Jesus brings…
    • 45-50 Jesus left the disciples on their own
    • 51-56 The sheep follow the Shepherd

30-44 Feeding the five thousand

30-34 Sheep without a shepherd

“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported…” This is the first time the disciples are referred to as the apostles. Mark writes this account after all is finished and the community who read this know them as the apostles. But also the word apostles means ‘sent ones’ and that is exactly what Jesus had done in Mark 6:7. This picks up after that mission was at an end. The account of John the Baptist created a sense of time passing in the story. The disciples must have been excited about what they did and witnessed. And they did it unaccompanied by Jesus. NB: They were so excited about all that they had done and taught and yet it seems that this whole section resolves with the fact that Jesus does everything – the disciples don’t seem to catch on to this yet. 

“…get some rest.” What a wonderful encouragement from our Lord. Just because there is more work to do doesn’t mean that we must sacrifice our rest.

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them…” Jesus does not see dollar signs or an opportunity for an ego boost, he sees people who need something. He felt for them.

“…they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them…” A crowd of lost sheep. They are shepherded through teaching.

35-38 How many loaves do you have?

“Send the people away so that they can go … and buy themselves something to eat.” Remember that Jesus had already said to the disciples that it is ok to go and get some rest. Now the disciples are showing compassion on the crowd and suggesting that they be let go to get some food for themselves.

“But [Jesus] answered, “You give them something to eat.” We’re getting closer and closer to the point of this story. Jesus is going to feed five thousand plus people miraculously, but he is going to involve the disciples in the work. Something that would be impossible for any person to do will be made possible through Christ.

“…more than half a year’s wages!” The disciples have not yet learned to trust Jesus. They have also outlined the magnitude of the problem for us.

“How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” Jesus is involving the disciples in this act of compassion. They have identified the problem and Jesus is helping them to solve it in ways that they could not have imagined. It must have felt like a fruitless exercise to them.

39-44 From Jesus to the disciples to the people

“…Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups…” A lovely extra bit of details about the green grass 🙂 Everyone is ready for a picnic without the sandwiches! But Jesus again helps the disciples to break down this problem and prepare the crowd to be served. It’s a bit like Israel being divided into clans and Moses leading the people by groups.

“…he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute…” Jesus is sent by the Father whom Jesus gives thanks to. The disciples receive from Jesus who is directing them. And they distribute it to the people. WARNING: bringing a Roman Catholic reading to this passage will see the Eucharist (communion) at work with the bread being provided by Jesus and distributed via the apostles. But there is no need to see this as the Lord’s supper. There is no deeper link here than providing food for the people. A better connection would be to look back to the wandering people in the wilderness who were fed manna from heaven under Moses. Also, there are fish provided too and a great deal of leftovers.

“They all ate and were satisfied…” Five thousand men plus extras were satisfied by this miracle.

“…and the disciples picked up twelve basketful of broken pieces of bread and fish.” Notice again how involved the disciples are here. Jesus is trying to teach them something. They have seen the concern (V35) and they have seen the resources (V38), they have seen the size of the problem (V40), they distributed what was given and gathered what was left over. They saw better than anybody that day what was possible. 

Summary: Jesus saw that the disciples needed rest. Jesus saw that the people needed a shepherd. Jesus directed the disciples to provide for the people with the resources that Jesus brings.

45-56 Jesus brings…

45-50 Jesus left the disciples on their own

“Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him…” The rest that they needed is still on Jesus’ mind. They won’t get the rest while Jesus is with them. Notice that Jesus ‘made them’ get into the boat. Remember back in Mark 4:36 that the disciples were taking Jesus places. On that episode they commanded the boat with boldness but were frightened by a storm which Jesus commanded. This time, Jesus sends them off and we’ll see again how little Jesus needs the disciples!

“… he went up on a mountainside to pray.” Jesus also needed time alone with his Father.

“Later that night…he was alone on the land.” The theme of being with or without Jesus continues in this passage. They were ‘out there’ on the lake and he was alone on the land.

“He saw the disciples straining…shortly before dawn he went…” A super hero would see people in trouble and fly to them but not our Lord. He sees our straining and struggle and waits for the right moment. In God’s wisdom it is good for us to have struggle.

“…he went out to them, walking on the lake.” You know, as you do! A simple bible reading would stop and conclude that this is the important part of the story. But a deeper reader will see that this is just one element of the story. The point is more than ‘look at what Jesus can do!’ The point lies in how he treats us and why he has even come to us.

“…they all saw him and were terrified.” The last thing they expected to see was their teacher walking by them on water. While they strained, he strolled. NB: do ghosts exist? While the answer is no, there is a spiritual realm with angels and demons and there is a story of King Saul bringing Samuel back from the dead and there is that time when Moses and Elijah stood with Jesus on a hill! There is also superstition and over imagined realities that we have no concrete answers to. Best to just say no.

50-56 The sheep follow the Shepherd

“Immediately he spoke to them…” The quickness of Jesus here is contrasted with his delay in Verse 48. 

‘“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them.’ Surely Jesus didn’t get into the boat for his own benefit but for theirs! The disciples need Jesus. Jesus understands their need. They are not alone and the man who can feed five thousand with a few loaves and the one who can walk on water has come from heaven to walk with them. To direct them.

“They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” It’s at this point when I read this story that I thought I had understood the loaves but then Mark reintroduces the point here! The disciples had not yet caught on to what the crowds seem to be craving. The crowds are amazed at Jesus and will go out of their way to find him and spend ridiculous hours with him. The disciples are still thinking 2 dimensionally about mission. Jesus wants to send them but they must realise that they go with Jesus. They saw the crowd who needed to be fed but Jesus directed them on how that would get done. It is time for the disciples to start believing that Jesus can feed multitudes, cast out demons, raise the dead and walk on water. Have they even answered the question that they asked back in Chapter 4: Who is this man? We are told that their hearts were hardened and so they are yet unwilling to see who Jesus is.

“…people recognised Jesus. They ran throughout the whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.” This simple and excited faith is what Jesus wants from his disciples. If only they could see what the crowds were seeing!

Suggested questions for running this study.

Q1. What events were the disciples talking about in Verse 30? How did they describe the events?

Q2. How easy was it for Jesus to do things in these Verses? Look over the whole story and note all the amazing things that Jesus is said to have done and how simple it was for him.

Q3. What problems did the disciples face in all these Verses? How did the disciples think each problem should be solved?

Q4. How are the crowds described throughout these verses? What were their needs and how were they resolved?

Q5. What was Jesus waiting for the disciples to learn? Compare what Jesus was doing while the disciples were straining themselves on the lake.


The disciples had a special and close connection with Jesus and yet they had not yet become excited about who he is. We are all sheep without a shepherd. Without Jesus we struggle against the wind. With Jesus we are directed to teach one another to have faith in him. Jesus saw the crowd who was lost and he began to teach them. Jesus saw the disciples’ who were afraid and said “take courage because I am here.” Jesus has now left us to do this without his physical presence. But the same practice is followed. Rely on God and not our own strength. See the difficult task before us and take courage. The needs of the many are solved by knowledge of the One.


Challenge#1 Jesus is the solution to all of our problems.

In this passage we see Jesus solving problems in ways that the disciples did not foresee. The disciples even thought that their mission was done by them alone! Jesus, who can walk on water, provide food out of virtually nothing, and can heal simply by being present has much more to say and contribute to our problems than we can even imagine. The disciples still treated Jesus like a side-kick to all of their needs. Both the calming of the storm and the walking on water incident left them blown away (pun). But Jesus challenged them on both occasions about their fear. Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith? (Mark 4). And “Take courage. Don’t be afraid?” (Mark 6:50). Jesus is asking us to put him at the centre of the solution to all of our problems. Without him we are just straining at the oars against the wind. But with him, we can be directed and take courage.

Challenge#2 Finding rest in the middle of chaos.

Jesus shows teaches us the importance and value of praying in the quiet when he does it so often himself. He didn’t wait for a quiet moment, he created one.

Challenge#3 Think lost sheep, not problems to solve.

We are all like sheep that have gone astray. We all need the Great Shepherd. It’s not some more than others. The disciples needed to see this of themselves rather than being the muscles for Jesus. When we see this then we can spend more time directing people to Jesus than solving people’s problems. The more we try and fix people’s problems the more weary we will become. But keep directing people to Jesus and we will find this solution much easier. Even Jesus saw the sheep without a shepherd and his solution was to direct them to the word of God as he taught them.

Mark 5:21-43 – If only we could touch his clothes

Discussion question:

Have you ever touched or held something that is rare and precious?

Read Mark 5:21-43


Jesus has become known as a healer. He can heal many with ease. Great crowds are drawn to Jesus mainly due to his healing ability. He healed a man with an impure spirit in a synagogue on the Sabbath (Mk 1:21-29). He healed a man’s shrivelled up hand in a synagogue. He was accused by some teachers of the law from Jerusalem that he drove out demons with the power of a demon. The impression he is leaving with the leaders of Judaism is not a good one. The opening statement of Mark, however, tells us that this book is about the Good News and Jesus’ first words were “the kingdom has come near.” These things will help draw out some points in this passage.

A synagogue is a place of worship not to be confused for the temple which is where the sacrifices are made.



  • A desperate father/a Synagogue leader came to Jesus (21-24a)
  • A desperate woman/an unclean woman came to Jesus (24b-29)
  • A desperate healer/Jesus draws the woman out (30-34)
  • A disinterested house/Jesus ignores the apathy (35-40a)
  • A deliberate healing/Jesus changes everything (40b-43)

A desperate father (21-24a)

“…a large crowd gathered around him…” Try and imagine the scene as you read the story. This piece of information will be repeated as we move to the next part of the story. 

“…synagogue leader…named Jairus, came…” What we know of Jairus is here in this story. He was a Jewish leader of a local synagogue, which is a place of worship and teaching. One interesting thing we know, however, is that he is named. Not a mystery person but a recognised man in the community. Any fake account written about Jesus could be easily laughed at if inventing a fake person of credibility or lying about them. 

“My little daughter is dying…” He was a father. Many Jewish leaders had problems with Jesus. It is possible that Jesus had been at the synagogue of Jairus and performed a healing miracle. Jairus is desperate for his daughter to be healed.

“Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” Being healed at the touch of Jesus is a key message through this section. The healing of Jairus’ daughter begins here and is interrupted by the story of a woman who just wants to touch Jesus’ clothes to be healed. The point is not the magical touch, but the faith that it is Jesus who can heal. These people clearly have their faith in God, but they are displaying their confidence in the God become flesh.

“So Jesus went with him.” Earlier Jesus had declared that he had come to preach, not to heal. Here he chooses to heal because of his compassion on this situation. This is the first account in Mark describing Jesus’ power over death.

A desperate woman (24b-29)

“A large crowd followed and pressed around him.” Again, imagine the scene. The knowledge that people are pressing around him is important for what happens while on the way to Jairus’ house.

“…a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years…instead of getting better she grew worse.” This account is written about in Luke 8:41-56 also. Luke reports her condition with gentle language. Mark explains how hard she has tried to be healed. Menstrual bleeding, in Jewish law, makes a person unclean for seven days and anyone who touches her becomes unclean (Lev 15:19).  Isaiah 64:6 describes all of us as unclean in our sin with an illusion to women’s uncleanness. Leviticus 15:25-30 describes what happens to a woman whose bleeding never stops. She remains in a state of ceremonial uncleanness. This is our state without being cured by Christ.

“…she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak…” Anybody that she touches is made ceremonially unclean. This means that they are unclean until the evening and must isolate and unable to conduct any type of worship in the Temple. It is a symbol to Israel of sin. The laws are there by God to teach and the point is that God is holy. The woman wanted to be healed but to get to Jesus she had to pass through a thick crowd. She would not want anybody to know what she has done. If only she can touch him in secret, she can be healed and nobody needs to know!

“…she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” She felt the healing. A freedom she had not known for twelve years. She was released, healed and a new woman.

A desperate healer (30-34)

“At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him.” This raises questions about Jesus and his powers. Can Jesus heal whenever he wants? In Luke 5:17 we’re told that on that occasion, “the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.” See also Luke 6:9. There has never been or never will be anyone like Jesus and so what can we compare him to? We read in the gospels that Jesus’ healings coincide with the faith of those around him. It seems that it’s neither magical powers that Jesus chooses to yield any time he likes nor is it power in the faith of those being healed, but a combination of the two: Jesus’ willingness to heal when he is approached in faith. In Mark 6:4-6 we read how he could not do any miracles except for a few because of their lack of faith.

“Who touched my clothes?” We begin to speculate about what Jesus did and did not know. He doesn’t know everything (Mk 13:32) and he interacts with this world like a human: growing from childhood, needing to eat and sleep, and he is not everywhere at once knowing all things. On top of that, it seems that he wanted to bring this woman’s secret out into the open. And not everyone in the crowd around him was getting a healing when they pressed against him. This woman had come to Jesus in faith to be healed and Jesus wanted to know what had happened.

“Then the woman…trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.” Jesus had insisted that he know who touched him. She came forward in fear because her condition meant she shouldn’t be touching anyone. She would have feared Jesus’ response but perhaps also the crowd pressing in.

“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” This is what Jesus offers. We are all unclean in our sin (Isaiah 64:6). Faith in Jesus can set us free from that and give us peace with God. 

A disinterested house (35-40a)

“…some people came…’Your daughter is dead’…” The word ‘daughter’ is used to connect the two stories here. One daughter has just been released from suffering, the other is announced dead. The former had a condition which provided a metaphor for the trouble of sin. The latter is the end result of sin.

“Why bother the teacher anymore?” Death is final. Nothing can fix that. Jesus can do many amazing things but death? That’s too big even for a man of God. The people of Jairus’ house had no faith in Jesus.

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Again, faith and belief is key to this story. Well, it is key to every bible story, but it is about confidence in Christ and the scope of his help. Belief solves our fear. Jesus was determined to show that he can do this despite the lack of faith from the household. It was Jairus who came to Jesus in faith for help and Jesus will heal his daughter. 

“The child is not dead but asleep.” Jesus knew that the child would wake up and the best description for her condition then is sleep. Those who die in Christ will be raised with Christ. Death is not the end but we do need to make peace with Christ before it is too late.

But they laughed at him.” It’s an odd reaction I think. I can imagine that being angry with him when one is mourning would fit the mood better. How dare someone make light of a mournful event. Or could it be that the weeping and wailing was not all genuine? Whatever, their faith was clearly not there since their reaction to Jesus was clearly unbelief.

A deliberate healing (40b-43)

“He took her by the hand…” This was no accidental healing. He reached out and touched the child. Another daughter about to be healed.

“Talitha koum…” Jesus spoke his and her native Aramaic language. It is a tender phrase, as Mark translates it for us. Little girl, I say to you, get up! Imagine that! He speaks to a deceased child like a little lamb and says get up!

“Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around…” She is 100% alive and healthy straight away. Imagine the faces of the mourners who will see the little girl walk out of the room to greet them. She might think that they are all here for a party!

“He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this…”’ Of course, Peter, James and John saw it and could tell the world later.

Suggested questions for running this study.

Q1. Describe the scene of Verses 21-24 in your own words – perhaps draw it.

Q2. What do we know about Jarius from Verses 22-23? 

Q3. What do we know about the woman in Verses 25-28? Look up Leviticus 15:25-30 to help understand her.

Q4. Compare Verses 23, 28, 30-31 and 41. What do they share in common? What does this do for the story? What do we know about Jesus that makes this so incredible (hint: incarnation)?

Q5. Apart from touching Jesus, what else do the woman and Jairus have which the mourners and the people from the house do not have (see Verse 35)? 

Q6. What does this passage teach us about Jesus?

Q7. What does this passage teach us about sin and death and fear? Read Isaiah 64:1-9 and consider how God has come down and made us clean from our sin.


Many had gathered around Jesus but it was the faith of one woman who touched the clothes of Jesus that made him turn around. Jairus knew Jesus was his only hope to save his daughter. Many outside the girl’s room mocked Jesus and they were not allowed in to see the girl’s life restored. This story is about faith but not general faith. Direct trust in Jesus to be saved. Where all other avenues are hopeless, Jesus saves. While our sins are as red as scarlet, Jesus makes us white as snow. While we are powerless over sin and death, Jesus is able to tenderly say, get up! There is nowhere else for us to go. And the good news is that God has come to us, in the flesh, to take away the sin of the world.


Challenge#1 Jesus strong and kind

Jesus’ divinity and his humanity are both seen in this story. He did not know who had touched him and yet he is able to declare that your faith has healed you. Jesus is the eternal God who has come to us in the flesh. In Christ we see the power of God and the kindness of God. This helps us in our prayers. When we pray, we speak to the One who can do more than we ask and we know that he cares for us more than we know. Come to God in prayer as a child who needs healing.

Challenge#2 Your faith has healed you

It’s not the size of your faith but the direction of it. Jesus is the key to all of these stories. The combination of who Jesus is and what we do with him makes the difference. It’s not that Jesus is only powerful when we give him our faith, but that belief and trust is what Jesus wants from us. It is also what we need more than physical healing! The little girl lived but she would die again one day. Healing from Jesus is greatest when it is our sin and death that is cured. The resurrection and justification are the things we desperately need from Jesus.

Challenge#3 Our ignorance of the problem of sin and death

The woman’s problem was not only medical but it was spiritual. She was an outcast because of her condition. The law did not give her freedom. As Isaiah 64 teaches, we are all outcasts from God because of sin. But the presence of God is what we cannot have and what we desperately need. Jesus is God come to us. Somehow we need to harness the desperation of Jairus and the unclean woman in order to overcome our attitude like the people who said, ‘don’t bother.’ Our apathy must be repaired with our awareness of sin and the problem of death. Jesus comes to us to say, don’t be afraid, just believe.

Mark 4:35-5:20 – Who is this man?

Discussion question:

What’s the most impressive thing you have ever seen?

Read Mark 4:35-5:20


Jesus began his ministry by preaching the gospel (Mk 1:14-15) and after a growing popularity through healing he determined that he would preach the word (Mk 1:38). He taught in parables and when confronted with a paralysed man to be healed he even turned that into a sermon more than a healing moment. His teaching and his healing were amazing. From Mark 4:1 he had been teaching a crowd in parables (later explaining the meaning to the disciples).



  • 35-41 Jesus calms the storm
    • 35-38 Don’t you care?
    • 39-41 Why are you so afraid?
  • 5:1-20 Jesus restores a demon-possessed man
    • 1-5 No one was strong enough
    • 6-13 In God’s name don’t torture me!
    • 14-17 They were afraid
    • 18-20 Go tell everyone what the Lord has done for you

35-41 Jesus calms the storm

35-38 Don’t you care?

“Let us go over to the other side.” Incidentally, there are a couple of times in Mark’s gospel where Jesus crosses over a lake and some have noted these to be major change moments in the gospel. Another observation here is that Jesus initiates the move. This may be important when it comes to applying this passage.

“…they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.” Jesus stops preaching and is suddenly treated as baggage on the journey which he initiated. ‘They took him, just as he was.” At first reading this can just seem like incidental detail. That it was a spontaneous journey. He said, let’s go, and they went. Sounds all good and fine. But you might notice that in just one page later we’ll see an account of Jesus walking on water. He will show himself to be more masterful over the lake than any of these fishermen. They’ve only been sailing most of their lives – which is just a drop in eternity!

“There were also other boats with him.” Nobody seemed to be worried about a storm brewing – there were no warnings of disaster.

“A furious squall came up…” A sudden violent localised storm. The crew were unprepared for this life threatening moment.

“Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” How marvelous is this picture of our lives? Masters of our own cruise ships with Jesus in the stern doing nothing until disaster strikes and then we go running to him!

“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” This is the question that we all need to seriously ask of God. Does he care? How can we know that he cares? When everything is falling in around us, what good is knowing God if he’s just going to be asleep at the back of the boat (I know where the stern is). Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 1 Timothy 1:15 says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” and Mark 10:45 reports Jesus’ words, “I did not come to be served but to serve and to lay down my life as a ransom for many.” The disciples will yet learn how deeply Jesus cares about their lives. God cares, and what is equally cool is that he is powerful to help.

39-40 Why are you so afraid?

“He got up, rebuked…” Before Jesus says a word to the disciples in reply, he turns to the very thing that they are most afraid of right now and deals with it.

“…it was completely calm.” Jesus can tell a storm to be quiet. Mic drop.

“Do you still have no faith?” This is a curious question. But plainly he means, why don’t you trust me? What is the link between this episode and the measure of their faith? What else were they supposed to do? Join him at the back for a nap?! Well, the words in Verse 36 are curious to me. Rather than receiving the command from Jesus to go and then ask, how shall we get there? Or what shall we need? Or some sort of collaboration with Jesus – ‘they took him along’ as if he is merely a traveler – a burden – good for teaching and healing but not for sailing. Our walk with God is for all of life. When we wake and while we sleep. The disciples were still figuring Jesus out and had not computed yet that he is the Messiah, the Son of God most high. Verse 41 makes this clear.

5:1-20 Jesus restores a demon-possessed man

1-5 No one was strong enough

“…a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him.” We first met someone in this condition in Mark 1:23. In that episode, they needed no introduction to Jesus either. It is clear from the gospels that people were disturbed and affected by impure spirits – not to be confused with mental health issues. This episode will illustrate this clearly by a) talking to Jesus as though they already know him and b) being cast out of the man and into a herd of pigs – that is not a mental health issue.

“This man lived in the tombs…” The description in Verses 3 to 5 of the man is extremely sad. His disturbance was known by all in the town and they had tried to contain him. He was a burden to the town as no doubt they journeyed from caring for him to trying to restrain him. Nothing on earth was helping. His anguish and hurt was real.

6-13 In God’s name don’t torture me!

“What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” The voice from the man was obviously distressed at the sight of Jesus. Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out (Verse 8) and the reply was to ask what does Jesus want? What is his intention? Legion knew Jesus and his power since he pleads not to be tortured! How ironic to plead not to be tortured when Legion was torturing this man. How interesting that there is self-awareness of being on the wrong side of the Almighty God and yet no intention to repent. The supernatural world is clear on who Jesus is. We are living in a kind of parable, where the kingdom of God is described but not seen, but one day everything will be revealed and every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:10-11).

“…he begged Jesus…not to send them out of the area.” There may be a good correlation between the presence of these impure spirits named Legion and the region that they inhabited being a place that farmed pigs – thousands of them! Since pigs are unclean, it is not a god-fearing region. There is something to be said here about community belief. While remnants of believers may be found everywhere, we can find places that are characteristically for or against the gospel. This man may not just be an anomaly but a benefactor of the rebellion in the area. But God is able to impart grace in any location!

14-17 They were afraid

“…dressed and in his right mind…” Can you imagine the sight for those who knew him to be overcome by an impure spirit – day and night crying out and cutting himself. Now, he may as well be sitting on a chair drinking a cup of tea from a china cup!

“…and they were afraid…the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.” An extraordinary response. A further indictment against the people of that region. They were not eager to know God. They were not seeking eternal life. Their heart was in fixing things with chains and making money from pig farming. This reaction to the sight of a calm man in his right mind is incredibly damning on them. They did not want or like Jesus and what he could do! This event produced fear not faith.

18-20 Go tell everyone what the Lord has done for you

“Jesus did not let him [go with him]…” Jesus healed the man – set him free – but had different plans for him than to join him.

“Go home to your own people and tell them.” While the people asked Jesus to leave, Jesus was not willing to allow the good news to leave them. “Home” for this man was obviously not among the tombs and we don’t know exactly where his home was but Mark tells us that he began sharing his testimony in the Decapolis which means ten cities. A map can be seen at this link… 

…it shows Jesus’ possible boat landing at the place marked Gergesa. From there the man headed south to the region of the Decapolis. The people responded to his testimony in amazement (Mark 5:20)

Suggested questions for running this study.

Q1. Compare Mark 4:37-38 and Mark 5:3-5. What do these events have in common?

Q2. In these two stories, who had a vivid awareness of the identity and capability of Jesus? What does this reveal to us?

Q3. How did the disciples treat Jesus at the beginning of the account? How does Jesus want them to change?

Q4. Two responses recorded in these stores are fear and faith. What drives both of these reactions? Ie, when fear is described, what is the basis of it?

Q5. What do these accounts teach us about Jesus?

Q6. How can we answer the disciples’ question in Verse 38? (ie, don’t you care?)


Jesus is stronger than the weather and impure spirits. He is Lord of creation and Son of the Most High God. This is the revelation of these stories. Things that are just way out of our control and bring us fear are completely in submission to Jesus. He revealed his ability to overcome our greatest fears and yet he asks us, “where is your faith?” The things that we think we have put under our control (conquering the sea and suppressing evil) are nothing compared to Jesus’ tender care and total control over every situation. He can bring a tortured man to peace. He will bring all evil into torture one day. And he has come to demonstrate his love and care for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


Challenge#1 – Working hard to be in control or to hand control to Jesus.

In the storm story, the disciples assumed responsibility in getting Jesus to the other side of the lake. That seems reasonable but when you have someone as unique as Jesus in your boat, you should treat him as something more than just cargo. After all, he will demonstrate in Chapter 6 that he can walk on water! Perhaps we could treat God as God and bring our fears to him knowing that he cares.

Challenge#2 – Does God care?

In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “I did not come to be served but to serve and to lay down my life to ransom many.” When the disciples ask, “Don’t you care?” – this is their answer. Far greater than any storm or horror movie is the problem of sin and death in this world. Jesus has not come to simply speak in riddles (parables) but to do something about our biggest problem.

Challenge#3 – From fear to faith.

It took a storm to wake the disciples up and ask, ‘who is this man?’ It took years of torture before Jesus came to the man in the tombs and transformed his life. It would be years before the good news of Christ would finally be spread across the Decapolis to share, not only that he made this tortured man well, but that Jesus is risen from the dead and he is Lord. This world contains suffering and testing in order that God may transform our fear into faith. Many will respond to suffering by turning Jesus away – rejecting the Son of the Most High. But we pray that we will respond in faith and reply, “Jesus, I am afraid, and yet I trust in you.”