The disciples brought the boat to land on the southeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee in the country of the Gadarenes (Mark 5:1, Luke 8:26).
Tombs had been made in caves along the steep banks, and a man came out of one of the tombs to watch the disciples land.
This unfortunate man was an outcast of society – he was possessed by evil spirits and was extremely dangerous. Night and day he roamed through the hilly area where the tombs were, screaming and crying and frightening anyone who passed by the way.
As Jesus and the disciples came ashore, the man rushed forward and flung himself down before Jesus. The man was covered with scars where he had cut himself with jagged rocks. He was a fearful sight. The 12 disciples kept behind Jesus.
“What have I got to do with you, Jesus, son of the Most High God?” demanded the man, or rather the demons in him. “I beg you – don’t torment me!”
“What is your name?” Jesus asked in a stern voice.
“Legion,” replied the demons. “We are many. Don’t send us away – send us into the swine feeding on the hill.” A large number of pigs were chomping and grunting as they fed on roots and nuts on the steep slope.
Jesus ordered the demons to go into the pigs. The disciples watched in amazement as the pigs suddenly thrashed about in a wild frenzy. Rushing down the slope, the pigs spilled into the sea and were drowned.
The people who had been tending the pigs ran off to the village to report to the owners what they had seen (Mark 5:2, Luke 8:27-34).
Meanwhile, Jesus and the disciples gathered figs, wild plums and berries and sat down to eat. The man who had been newly released from demon possession sat beside Jesus, smiling and eager to watch and listen as Jesus talked.
Toward the north, across the sea, Mt. Hermon looked down, lifting its brow into a sky that had been swept clean of storm clouds and now was a bright blue.
But their peace was broken. The swine-herds returned and with them came what appeared to be the entire population of the village. All were angry at the loss of the swine and confused – even fearful about what had happened with the former demoniac. The people were apprehensive about what Jesus would do next and asked Him to leave.
Without comment, Jesus led the disciples down to the boat. The man Jesus had delivered from demonism begged to be allowed to accompany Him, but Jesus laid a hand gently on his shoulder. “Go home and tell your loved ones how much God has done for you,” Jesus said (Mark 5:15-20, Luke 8:35-39).
Crossing the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, the group landed at the fishing wharf and tied their boat with Zebedee’s fleet. The shore was awash with battered boats that had been damaged by a great storm. The storm was the subject of everyone’s conversation.
Jesus stopped to talk to Zebedee, and a crowd began to grow into a multitude of men, women and children.
A ruler of the synagogue at Capernaum pushed his way up to Christ and bowed at His feet.
“Jesus of Nazareth, my little girl is dying! Heal her, please! Touch her with your hands, I beg of you. There is no hope if you don’t come.” Tears chocked his voice.
“Jairus, of course I’ll go with you,” responded Jesus, recognizing him. As Jairus, Jesus and Jesus’ disciples started on their way toward Jairus’ house, the crowd thronged about them.
A sick woman who had suffered intensely for 12 years huddled at the edge of the crowd. She had been seriously ill all these years, and none of the many doctors she had visited was able to help her. The doctors did relieve her of her life savings, but her physical condition just grew worse.
Jesus stopped. “Who touched me?”
Peter’s eyebrows went up. “This mob is all around us, crushing in on us. How can you ask that?”
Jesus waited. “Someone who had faith for healing touched me a moment ago.”
Frightened to be noticed, the woman moved forward a step and bowed. “I did it. I knew that if I could only touch your clothing, I would be healed. Surely you don’t mind.” Looking up into His eyes, she was no longer afraid.
“Daughter, your faith has healed you,” He said. “Go in peace and be free from your suffering.”
As the woman thanked Jesus with tears of gratitude, a messenger from Jairus’ house rushed up to the crowd. “Jairus,” he began, trembling, “don’t bother the rabbi. Your – your daughter has died. I’m very sorry.”
Jairus covered his face and gave a shriek of anguish.
“Don’t lose faith,” urged Jesus. “Your daughter will be all right. Please take me to her.”
Jairus moved numbly on up the street and the group came to his house. Relatives and friends had already begun their death wailing – they were overcome with honest grief. Flutists added haunting notes to the din.
With a sweep of His hand, Jesus asked them to stop. “Why are you making all this noise? The child is not dead. She’s only sleeping.”
This startling announcement made the crowd pause. But after a moment the uproar broke out again, but now with scornful laughter added to the wailing.
Jairus sought out his weeping wife and brought her to Jesus. “Don’t cry,” Jesus said, consoling the distraught mother. “Your little girl is only sleeping.” He turned to Jairus, “I want this house cleared of the mourners.”
Jairus hesitated a moment. He opened his mouth as if to say something and then closed it. “Yes sir.” He moved about, telling the people to go away. When the house was quiet, Jairus turned to Jesus.
“Thank you,” said Jesus, smiling. “Where is the child?”
Jairus and his wife silently took Jesus and the disciples to a chamber where the small girl lay on a beautifully draped bed.
Going directly to the bedside, Jesus took hold of one of the girl’s hands. “Rise, young lady,” He said softly.
The girl’s eyelids fluttered open and her large brown eyes looked up at Jesus in surprise. Her parents embraced her with happy exclamations.
“Give her something to eat,” Jesus said, as the child sat on the edge of the bed. “She must be hungry.”
“I’ll fix all of her favorite foods!” exclaimed the girl’s mother, pleased that she had her daughter back and that she could show her daughter love.
“Don’t talk to anyone about what’s happened,” Jesus commanded the parents. But news of the miracle swept throughout the region (Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56).
Jesus and His disciples left Jairus and his now happy family and began walking toward the house. Two blind men followed them, tapping with sticks on the cobblestone street.
“Son of David, be merciful to us!” the blind men called.
When Jesus and the disciples had come into the house, the blind men came to Him.
“Do you believe that I’m able to give you sight?” Jesus asked.
“Yes, Rabbi,” they replied, moving closer.
“Let it be according to your faith.” He lightly touched their eyelids. Healed, they went away proclaiming the happy news of the miracle, despite Jesus’ admonition to tell no one (Matt. 9:27-31).
We will bring more Stories from the New Testament in future articles. Be watching for further postings at cognwm.org.