Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Mark 5:1-20, Matthew 8:28-34, Luke 8:26-39): Here are three accounts of Legion, the man with many demons, of which Jesus cast into a herd of pigs. Why does it say there are two men in Matthew’s version? Other than that, they are basically the same story. After seeing 2,000 pigs drown, the people of the region wanted Jesus to leave because they didn’t want to see anymore of their livestock die. Right? I’m sure Jesus didn’t want to upset them by killing their livestock. From his ability to cast out the demons, they should see that Jesus wasn’t an ordinary man and the fact that He healed a man is more important than 2,000 pigs. But, would the people know enough about the Messiah to know that if they were short on food, he would give them provisions?
A. I don’t know why Matthew’s version lists two healings, there’s some sort of quirk in the text. As to your other questions, it’s important to note where we are when Jesus and his men cross over. Across the Sea of Galilee, they were no longer in Jewish territory, but we are near the Gentile area of the Decapolis (Ten cities). The key to telling this is the very pigs you mentioned: no Jew would herd pigs, only a Gentile would. So the residents were probably concerned that Jesus was some sort of powerful magician or someone that they should fear. It is unlikely any of them would have had any idea of what the Messiah was, but they will after this incident — Jesus left a man behind to see to that.
Q. (Mark 5:21-43, Matthew 9:18-26, Luke 8:40-56): We have seen that Jesus has lots of respect for those with pure, genuine, undeniable faith. Why didn’t Jesus want the parents to tell anyone about His healing power?
A. Probably because He did not want any more publicity from these healings. It is also in keeping with a major theme of Mark: the secret Messiah. Jesus does not want to become too well known as the Messiah before His mission is complete for reasons that will become clear later.