Question:

I was studying Mark 5 and there are two things I do not understand:

  1. Jesus commanded "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great thing the Lord hath done for thee" in Mark 5:19. However, in Mark 5:43, he charged them straightly that no man should know it. I do not understand why the Lord gave complete different commandants in these two situations.
  2. In Mark 5:25-34, a woman touched the garment of Jesus and was healed immediately. It seems to me that there is no such teaching as "touch the garment of the Messiah and thou shalt be healed" in the Scripture. The woman, based on her own understanding of faith, touched the Lord's garment, wishing to be healed in a way which is not mentioned in the Scripture. If she really have faith on God, isn't it better to follow the Law of Moses and do whatever the Law teaches to be done in her situation, instead of trusting her own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)?

Answer:

Miracles were not done for their own sake. They had purpose. In particular they confirmed the teaching that was being done, showing that God was behind the speaker. "And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen" (Mark 16:20). In the case of Jesus the miracles served to generate faith in the Son of God. "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30-31).

When Jesus cast out the demons into the swine, resulting in the swines' death, the reaction of the people in the region was hostile to Jesus. "And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region" (Mark 5:16-17). Jesus did not press himself on others. He left as requested, but he sent the demon possessed man to go through the region and tell all of what happened to him. He became an early gospel preacher and he changed the hearts of people with his story. "And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled" (Mark 5:20).

The raising of the child, Tabitha, was witnessed by the parents and the disciples. Yet, Jesus did not want news that he could raise the dead spread. "But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat" (Mark 5:43). Imagine what would have happened. Jesus was already being mobbed because of his healings. But his restraint in not spreading word of his power serves as an interesting contrast to those who falsely claim to have miraculous gifts today. Jesus did not need to spread word about his abilities broadly among the Jews. A few witnesses here and there was sufficient for his purposes.

When the woman touched Jesus' garments, Jesus demanded, "Who touched My clothes?" (Mark 5:30). Jesus knew who touched him and why, but because of the crowds this miracle would have went unnoticed and would have served no purpose. Thus, Jesus made an issue of it so that others were aware of what happened. "But His disciples said to Him, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'" And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction"" (Mark 5:31-34).

Jesus praised the woman's faith. No, there was no statement anywhere that touching the Messiah's garments would heal her. Rather see that this woman's faith was so strong that she knew Jesus could heal her. Yet, her humility is shown as well in that she did not want to impose her problem on the Lord while he was going somewhere. Hers was a faith that did not sit back, but strove to do something, being confident that the Lord would make up for what she lacked. It wasn't the touch that made her well. "And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction"" (Mark 5:43). Jesus made sure that the disciples and others knew of it.